The Supreme Court vs Texas

scales-of-justiceIn reference to the recent Supreme Court’s decision to overturn restrictions that would have closed all but a handful of abortion providers in Texas, Hillary Clinton welcomed the court’s decision and called the efforts to curtail access to abortion as “politically motivated.”

(No. Not politically motivated. Religiously motivated.)

While there would still have been available clinics in large metropolitan centers (Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio), access would have been severely limited for many women. And one cannot help but portend that had the Supreme Court upheld this legislation, even these clinics would eventually have been shuttered.

Amazingly, Texas legislators claimed there was medical justification for their actions … that they were protecting women’s health (!). Thankfully, the majority of the Supreme Court judges did not see it that way.

I know addressing this subject is opening a can of worms and the anti-abortionists will no doubt come out of the woodwork to scream that a zygote is an embryo is a fetus is a human … and thus should never be aborted. But I stand by my long-standing persuasion that it is a woman’s decision. And similar to the right some people claim related to gun ownership, a woman, based on the indisputable fact that she is a primary factor in the perpetuation of the human race, has the right to choose abortion. And thus, safe and convenient medical facilities should always be available to her for this purpose.

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In the Matter of Abortion

The current political scene has (once again) brought the abortion issue to the forefront with the Religious Right loudly proclaiming their “Right to Life” mantra. (This time, they’re even sticking their noses into the use of contraceptives!)

Now they’re pushing for a nation-wide mandate that abortion providers perform an ultrasound on each woman seeking an abortion. This in itself is unnecessary (and costly, around $200) if the woman has made her decision, but they don’t stop there. They also want to require the provider to offer (encourage?) the woman an opportunity to view the image.*

Cal Thomas, syndicated columnist, recently asked this biased question: “Shouldn’t  abortion-seeking women see the life they are about to end?” (I get so frustrated with men sticking their noses into this issue!)

There are several reasons why a woman will choose to have an abortion. The following statistics come from the National Right to Life website:

  • Feels unready for child/responsibility – 25%
  • Feels she can’t afford baby – 23%
  • Has all the children she wants/Other family responsibilities – 19%
  • Relationship problem/Single motherhood – 8%
  • Feels she isn’t mature enough – 7%

From a woman’s point of view (the only one that counts), these are all valid reasons. After all, she’s the one who will be responsible for the major care of the child.

It’s been said that the recent anti-abortion comments made by certain Republican candidates are not “an attack on females.” Oh really? What do they call it?

I’m not going to get into the debate as to when a fetus becomes a ‘real’ human being. That’s way beyond my grade level – and, to my thinking, everyone else’s. But I will stand up for a woman’s right to do what she wants with her body. And no one – male or female – has the right to interfere.

*According to the Guttmacher Institute (a non-profit organization that works to advance abortion rights), seven states — Alabama, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and most recently, Virginia — now have this mandate in force.

ADDENDUM – February 10, 2014

I just came across an excellent blog posting on abortion and God’s will. I urge visitors to check it out at this link. The same writer also wrote the following in another posting on the same subject.

So it’s pretty hard to assert that a developing organism within a womb is a separate human being until it is born and begins to form its own individual experiences of the world. Since men have no existential understanding of what it’s like to be pregnant, a man should not have any say on the issue of whether or not a woman has an abortion unless he is married to the pregnant woman and intends to offer financial and emotional support after the birth. Likewise, a woman should have no say on whether or not a man uses Viagra, unless she is his intimate partner.

Pam Tebow- Pro-Life or Pro-Choice?

There has been considerable discussion in the news media about the pro-life ad that will be included as a Super Bowl commercial this Sunday.

For those not familiar with the contents of the ad, it is a message about a woman (Pam Tebow) who gave birth to a son after a very difficult pregnancy, even though she had been advised by doctors to have an abortion. As it turned out, her son became the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner.

Of course, pro-lifers pounce on this case and use it to point out the benefits of refusing to have an abortion.

But they miss a very important point.

Please note that the two sides of the debate are “Pro-Life” and Pro-CHOICE.” Pam Tebow made a choice to allow her son to be born. She was advised against this action by her doctor because of the potential dangers it presented both to her and the fetus, as well as the possibility of the child being disabled in some way. Yet she made a choice not to terminate the pregnancy. Pro-lifers seem to miss this very important point.

Women are faced with similar situations every day. They must decide what course to follow. They can choose to carry their baby to term or they can choose to abort. But it is their choice. No one is holding a gun to their head.

People who believe in pro-choice are not advocating that women have abortions. They are advocating that women have a choice.

UPDATE: It has been pointed out that Pam Tebow gave birth in the Phillipines. Abortion under any circumstances has been illegal in that country since 1930 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abortion_in_the_Philippines) so technically, she was not faced with the decision that the pro-lifers are championing. Interesting.

The Rights of Pregnant Women

In Tallahassee, Florida, a pregnant woman started having labor pains at six months and was admitted to a hospital. The pains turned out to be a false alarm, but her doctor told her she should remain in the hospital for bed rest.

The woman did not want to stay in the hospital and fought it legally. However, a judge agreed with the doctor and she was forced to remain there. Within three days of the judge’s ruling, she delivered a stillborn fetus. The woman has since appealed the judge’s order.

The woman is not interested in money. The dispute is about where a mother’s right to decide her own medical treatment ends and where the priority of protecting a fetus begins.

As I was reading this news article, I was again reminded of how ‘other’ people want to usurp the rights of pregnant women. In this particular case, the woman was unhappy with the care she was receiving and wanted the option to seek care at another hospital or to go home. Yet this choice was removed by a legal system that had no business injecting itself into the situation.

Whether it is a case like this one or whether it’s the right of a women to have an abortion, NO ONE should tell a pregnant woman what she should or shouldn’t do.

Doctors must receive consent from the patient, or in cases where the patient is incompacitated from an appopriate surrogate decision maker, to perform surgery. Whether it’s a comparatively minor surgery or a ‘life-saving’ surgery, the rights of the patient are honored.

So why does society suddenly change the rules when it comes to a pregnant woman’s rights over her own body?