Saturday, May 21, 2011

Texas and the abortion debate...

Last night, I was on CNN.com and came across an article about a new law in Texas requiring women who wish to have an abortion to view a sonogram of their developing fetus and have a discussion with a doctor about the fetus's development 24 hours before the procedure is done.  The law allows exceptions for women who have become pregnant because they were raped, are victims of incest, or some other violation of the law.  Women whose developing fetus has an irreversible medical condition that will cause a disability are also exempt.

My feelings about this are pretty simple.  I think the government needs to stay the hell out of this very personal decision.  Moreover, I think this new law is incredibly wishy washy.  I presume the reason this law was enacted is because lawmakers believe strongly in the so-called "sanctity of life".  They want to protect innocent unborn babies from being aborted... unless, of course, that fetus happened to come about as the result of a crime or has some kind of medical problem.  Now... it seems to me that if you're going to assign personhood to fetuses, then all fetuses should be included.  A fetus conceived as the result of a crime is just as innocent as a fetus conceived as the result of carelessness or even one that was planned.

And yet, Texas lawmakers want to spare women who have been raped, abused, or are pregnant with a "damaged" fetus from further victimization, right?  A woman pregnant under those circumstances is free to have an abortion without harassment.  A woman who got careless is not.

We have overburdened social services.  We have parents who can't take of the kids they already have.  We have very expensive medical care.  Moreover, I don't believe it's right to force women to be pregnant or try to shame them into staying pregnant if they would prefer not to be.  Who is going to pay for these enforced sonograms?  Who is going to see to it that these pregnant women take care of themselves, before and after the baby comes?  It's so easy for me to see how this could turn into a slippery slope.

Another thought I had is that there are women out there who will go to extreme measures to get an abortion.  You can try to put up roadblocks, but sometimes a determined woman will do what she has to do to get around those obstacles.  How many women will claim they were raped or assaulted as a means to qualify for the exemption?  How many innocent guys will end up going to prison for the "rape"?  How many will do something to cause an "irreversible medical problem" to their fetus so they can have the procedure?  Maybe there won't be many who will do this, but I bet there will be a few...

Those who wish to have a safe, legal abortion will still have to wade through protesters, nut jobs who bomb clinics and murder doctors, graphic pictures, and shaming.  Then, once they get on the table to discuss the abortion, they will have to have an ultrasound, which will put a face on the being whose life they wish to extinguish.  And they will have to have a conversation with the doctor, which will also heap more guilt, shame, and pain on an already difficult situation.

Yes, most pregnancies are preventable.  But the only 100% reliable contraception is abstinence.  I'm willing to be that the majority of women have sex.  Sometimes birth control fails.  Sometimes pregnancy is good news.  Sometimes it's not.

I don't see why overwhelmingly white, male lawmakers should have the right to put women in Texas through this.  After all, they are not the ones who will be dealing with the aftermath.

Anyway, I think I agree with George Carlin's thoughts on this issue...

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