For the first time since Roe V. Wade, the federal government is upholding a ban on a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy. This ruling by the Supreme Court is described as a ban on “Partial-birth abortion” and reproductive freedom advocates point out that the wording of the ban is ambiguous. It can be used to prevent women seeking abortions as early as thirteen weeks into a pregnancy.
Keep in mind that the time-table on pregnancy is deceptive. A woman’s period is hardly like clockwork and many women will not test for pregnancy until after the first or second week. Then it sometimes takes several
weeks for her to come up with the money as abortions aren’t cheap. This is particularly true in the case of teenagers who are afraid to tell their parents that they are having intercourse. Scared teens in denial represent a significant portion of abortions.
The other issue that NARAL and the ACLU seem most upset about is that the stating of the law says nothing about exceptions to protect the health of the mother.
While I think these are both important points, the pro-choicers have already lost this debate by accepting the premise of their opponents.
I have worked in an abortion clinic so I like to think I know a little bit about this subject. If you take only one thing away from this post to pass onto others, let it be this: â€œpartial-birth abortionâ€ is not a real description of a medical procedure but a media strategy of the fundamentalist movement.
The average American has this idea that partial-birth abortion is when a woman goes into labor and then instead of having the baby the doctor kills it. It is logical for people to assume this, what else would such a word describe? And this is exactly what the right wants you to think. But we already have a word for that: infanticide. And no one likes infanticide.
The procedure that is described as partial-birth is when the fetus is pulled through the birth canal. It is in no way part of the process of giving birth nor is it any indication of the amount of time since conception.
Moreover, just to settle this issue, I want to explain exactly how it is determined at which point it is no longer acceptable in this country to terminate a pregnancy. A pregnancy is considered past that point of no return when it can be kept alive outside of the womb with all of the benefits of medical science. If it wouldn’t be possible for us to keep it alive should it come into the world, it is not considered a viable being and may be terminated.
I think this is fair. And clearly infanticide, or what average Joe thinks of â€œpartial-birth abortion,â€ does not fall into this category.
We are facing world-wide population problems and though Americans don’t reproduce as rapidly as other countries we do consume more. We cannot blithely continue to pretend that humans should be having as many babies as possible, despite what the Bible says.
Otherwise, where does one draw the line? Dear readers, is there a better way to determine that a fetus is a living thing, other than this ridiculous Catholic notion that every sperm is sacred?
The fact of the matter is that abortion isn’t going anywhere. Women have been independent for too long to let other people tell them what they can do with their own bodies. Whether future abortions will be performed in a sixteen-year old’s bathroom with an unbent wire coat hanger is another issue.