Legislation and Morality: The World’s Worst Mix

1926 US advertisement. "Birth Control"

1926 US advertisement. “Birth Control” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Taking a deep breath and preparing to plunge in and tackle a very controversial subject:  the dreaded “A” word.  Since Roe v Wade it’s certainly been a (scaldingly) hot button topic and very divisive.  Everyone’s got an opinion and will share if asked, and sometimes if not asked.    To start, let me tell you where I stand, just so you can get a clear picture of where I’m coming from, further down the line.  I don’t, and never have, believed in abortion as a convenient method of birth control. Be responsible.  Dance, pay the band. Period. If you are going to be sexually active and don’t want or shouldn’t have children then use birth control. If you do get pregnant and cannot for whatever reason raise the child yourself with your partner,  then there’s PLENTY of wonderful couples out there who would love to raise a child that they cannot biologically have on their own. And jsyk: I don’t think adoptive parents should be single.  Child rearing is the toughest job on the planet, you shouldn’t start out on that journey alone.

There are, however, circumstances wherein I feel abortion should be a viable option for a woman, should she so choose. These include the  following: pregnancy resulting from incest or rape, maternal health issues which would make it dangerous for the pregnancy to continue, issues with the fetus that would make it dangerous for the pregnancy to continue.  There are others, but that gives you all a general idea.  Certainly, the ultimate choice is up to the woman, and her physician, and her partner if she has one.  She should also feel free to consult her pastor, priest, rabbi, imam etc etc for guidance and support as she sees fit.   What the abortion issue is NOT , in my mind, is ANYONE forcing their belief system on another human being.  Women considering terminating a pregnancy should be given information to make the best decision for them – not judged. Which brings me to legislation.

One cannot, should not, legislate morality – as regards non-criminal activity.  Abortion is not a crime. It is conducted under strict medical supervision by licensed physicians (hopefully, by practicing OB/GYN’s). We’ve come a long from back alley coat hanger procedures. It is not up me to judge anyone having an abortion for whatever reason. I have my opinion, but it is not up to me to point fingers at anyone else. I can only live my life by my standards and raise my children  to do the same.  They may choose to disagree with my standards and develop their own as adults. And they should.  Part of my job as a parent is to encourage critical thinking skills – to think for themselves and not blindly follow any teaching.  “Blindly follow” being the key words here.  DO THE RESEARCH. ASK THE TOUGH QUESTIONS. THINK. DECIDE FOR YOURSELF. And don’t let anyone else tell you what’s right.  If your moral compass is strong, if your parents have done their job correctly, and you’ve done your research, you’ll know.  But, you still don’t have the right to force your beliefs on anyone else.  You can only decide what’s right for you.

The tightening of abortion regulations on an already well regulated industry serves few purposes:  the insertion of fundamentalist beliefs into the government. Where they have no place being.  This insertion also serves to assist women in remaining second class citizens  because they have to jump through more hoops in order to get the care that they, their partner, and their physician have already agreed upon.  For example,  it is completely heartless and unfair to force a woman undergo a sonogram before she terminates a pregnancy.  I am hard pressed to think of another aspect of health care that one has to endure so much to receive.

I don’t believe for an instant that our representatives are interested in “improving the health and safety of women”.  Abortions – whether you approve of them or not, are among the safest of medical procedures.  What our representatives are doing, at best,  is caving in to pressure from the far right, fundamentalist special interest groups.   At worst, they are using their powerful positions to impose their personal beliefs upon their constituents.  If this is the case, this is an extreme abuse of power and a conflict of interest.

In any case, it is none of my business what a woman, her partner, and her doctor decide in terms of her health care decisions.  I may be asked advice by a female friend, which I would give, but otherwise I’m Sgt Schultz:  “I see nothzing, I know nothzing”.  Women today have options and should be making informed decisions.  That does not mean they should be forced to undergo unnecessary procedures in order to meet a ridiculous legal requirement.  It does not mean that an abortion clinic should be closed because the physicians do not have privileges at local hospitals.

Under the Hippocratic Oath folks, doctors are obligated to treat the sick.  Reputable Health Clinics, family planning included,  have arrangements with their local area hospitals (transfer agreements) that address patient care arising from complications from  any procedure.   A  person with complications from an outpatient procedure is going to be brought to the nearest hospital and treated,  regardless of whether  the physician doing that procedure has privileges there or not. A patient showing up in an ER with post procedure complications is treated, period.  Access to safe, secure, and well regulated health care is, I believe, a fundamental right of our insured citizens.  Emergent/Urgent care is the right of All.  It is not up to the government to decide a woman’s reproductive rights, or to increase the requirements for access to reproductive procedures.  To do so sends women right back to those alleys and coat hangers. This is 2012, not 1912, 1952, or 1972; and frankly – I was hoping we were better than this.

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7 thoughts on “Legislation and Morality: The World’s Worst Mix

  1. It is interesting to me what some decide to be ‘moral’ about, and how that translates to wanting control over others. . . Hmm. . .

    This is a very good post. Thank you so much for having the courage to say it. Lilie

  2. Pingback: Induced Abortion

  3. Momma E, glad to see you jumping in on such a controversial topic. Whatever supportive arguments the anti-abortion crowd throws up there, they boil down to two issues: the speaker somehow feels he has the higher moralnground and therefor is free to interject himself into a very personal decision as more qualified to decide what course another individual must follow. Or, he is interjecting his religious beliefs into another’s decision, again from the perceived belief that he is somehow better equipped and directed to make a decision for another human being.

    As I wrote in a post quite some time back, these “sanctity of life” believers are also the one demanding to cut all programs to aid children and single mothers, after the child is born, and “sanctity of life” seems to magically disappear from the discussion.

    Healthy, pure white kids are in demand for adoption. Those of mixed race, or with mental or physical issues, much less so. Adoption is not an end-all, be-all solution/alternative either.

    Great post, this discussion needs to continue country-wide.

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