Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Attacks on Women and Their Rights Continue

As soon as you begin to discuss abortion and "murder" in the same breath, you have very decisively gone into religious territory. You are entitled to your religious beliefs, but you are not entitled to foist them on everyone else. That is what makes for religious freedom. You equate abortion with murder. However, whatever you choose to call it, there is no question that abortion is a medical procedure. As such, all discussion of abortion should rightfully be between doctor and patient, with the patient’s right of confidentiality protected. If we are not to wander into that wilderness of theocracy, this is essential. No one forces anyone to have an abortion, though it is true that a doctor may recommend an abortion to a patient.

Yes, you read that right. A doctor may recommend an abortion, based on medical facts, such as a pregnant woman being diagnosed with cancer or becoming ill with certain diseases after becoming pregnant. But even in those cases where termination is recommended, no one can force a woman to abort. That is why, for example a woman I know who was diagnosed with cancer refused to abort and had her baby boy. Unfortunately, she died before the child’s first birthday because, although she gambled on beating the odds, pregnancy makes cancer much more aggressive.

Most women who get abortions, by the way, are married and the reason for the abortion is rarely for birth control, although that has been known. But the bottom line is that it is none of our business. That’s right; it is not your business or my business. If a woman feels strongly opposed to getting an abortion, no one can force her, but on the other hand, no one should be allowed to force a woman to carry a child when she wants to abort. Whatever her reasons.

Abortion has become a more complicated issue in our society than almost anywhere else in the world not only because of that Puritan streak that remains in our society, but also in that it is a procedure that involves only women. And men’s control over women. For some men, the only control they have in this world is making babies, and allowing “their woman” to abort is a slap in the face, whether they can afford another child or not, whether the woman’s body has been weakened by too many births or not. Surely if men were having the babies, we would not be having this discussion, would we?

As for legislators who would like to take away women’s rights, including the right to abortion, look around, and notice that since the last election, many Republicans have gotten into State houses and governors’ mansions and they are not only attempting to get rid of abortion, but ironically passing bills that would cause even greater hardship to women who do not get abortions but bear the child. If a poor woman cannot get an abortion, and then she is also cut out of Medicaid, and can no longer get services at Planned Parenthood, she has been screwed in more than one way.

Ah, it is so easy to distort. But I will state unequivocally that I do not believe abortion is murder. I do not believe a fetus is a living baby. It is a potential baby, and unfortunately a woman can even carry a fetus to term and deliver a stillborn who never takes a breath. Yes, that is what defines a human being (in fact even legally), and that is it takes a breath on its own. By the way, even the church did not recognize the fetus as a “baby” and that “life begins at conception” until quite recently. And no one has ever found anything in the Bible forbidding abortion, for that matter.

If you insist that life begins at conception, and I truly hope you were not under the bed actually attempting validate when that was, then it must follow that every woman of childbearing age commits murder every month when she has her menses and lets all those eggs “die.” Perhaps every time a man ejaculates, he should be jailed for murder since all those aggressive little sperm didn’t take hold. Oh, but that’s the woman’s fault, isn’t it, since the eggs were not hospitable enough. Or perhaps unavailable.

On the other hand, if a fetus can survive on its own outside the womb and someone “aborts” it, that is, forcibly takes it out of the womb and destroys it, that would be murder and more akin to the type of “medical experiments” Nazis undertook. And, please, don’t bring in the Nazis here, as that is really another form of hyperbole. Nothing that Nazis did under the name of experiment is recognized as medicine. It was torture plain and simple and there is no equivocation about that. But abortion as a procedure is terminating a possibility, and in some cases a bad possibility if the physician has already seen there is a serious problem. Late-term abortion, which is very rare (much rarer than all the fuss about it a couple of years ago) is only recommended and done in very extreme medical cases. It is never a business of “Oh, doctor, I know I should have come in sooner.” Never! Not in any legitimate doctor’s office.

What all this comes down to is not distorting a statement and then extrapolating it in order to “prove” that abortion is evil. Listen, morphine is widely used in hospitals for pain after surgery, and it is to the great relief of the patient. That same drug can kill, given in high doses. And so it is with any argument. Distort if you will, but I still contend that abortion is a medical procedure---a legal medical procedure---and should not be demonized by a church that has always felt that everything and anything should be done to make sure that propagation remain high in the name of the church, so the membership will grow.

You know, we have serious medical issues in this country that are not being dealt with while attention and energy remain focused on this divisive and inflammatory issue. It would be in the best interests of everyone, quite frankly, to start taking care of business rather than making a business out of ideology. I keep hearing how we should take "government off our backs." What is puzzling is that these very same people who want to take government off our backs and bemoan "big" government and "needless" regulations over commerce and industry, would nonetheless cheerfully lead the government into the bedroom to attempt to dictate to us on the most personal of decisions.

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