which in 2010 has been very successful passing state laws to make it harder and harder for
a woman to get an abortion. Add to that the terror war and assassination campaign carried
on against doctors who perform abortions, and a woman's ability to choose and to control
her body and reproductive life is in great jeopardy.
According to the New York Times, 370 state bills restricting or regulating abortions recently
were passed. This compares with 350 bills passed in the previous five years. In Nebraska,
a woman can't get an abortion after twenty weeks of pregnancy, which is prior to the end
of the first trimester which violates the provisions of Roe vs. Wade (state law contradicting
federal law). In Oklahoma, a woman must get an ultrasound and be shown the fetus as well
as hear a detailed description of the fetus before she can get an abortion. In addition, the
doctor must answer thirty-six questions before performing the abortion including providing
reasons why the woman wants the abortion. A number of states are prohibited from offering
abortion coverage in any new healthcare exchanges mandated by new federal healthcare reform
legislation. My personal favorite is a new law which prohibits parents from suing a doctor
who fails to inform them about fetal abnormalities during pregnancy. Surprise!!
All of these invasions of privacy, violations of civil rights, paternalism, and denigration
of a woman's ability to know her own mind are gathered under the pro-life banner. Proponents
of this partnership of government and religious intrusion into the most intimate spaces of
a woman's life justify their actions because to them life is sacred. However, nothing could be
further from the truth.
The same people who yelled and screamed about government takeovers of healthcare, railed
against government regulating Wall Street, and warned about the government coming to
take your guns away are the same people who became outraged when the President revealed
the United States has over 5,000 nuclear weapons. They were outraged, not because they
could end life as we know it on this planet, but because the rest of the world should simmer
in respectful fear wondering how many times we can kill every person on earth. These are
the very same folks who claim "life" is sacred.
At the same time these 370 bills were introduced this year, state legislatures have cut
healthcare for the poor and needy. They have eliminated subsidized child care, thereby
forcing single parents back onto welfare. Oops, they changed that law in 1995; meaning they
can't go back to welfare, but also can't work either (Catch 22). In the states where most of
this legislation passed, they are at the bottom of the heap when it comes to offering pre-natal
care for poor and working-poor women. And once a child is born, these same people oppose
funding for Head Start, school lunch programs, after-school care, and subsidized housing,
as well as funds to give women protection from domestic abuse.
If all that were not hypocritical enough, these same "pro-life" folks who love to restrict
a woman's right to choose consistently support capital punishment and strongly desire to
restrict the type of birth control available to women, thus creating the need for more abortions.
What was it Jesus called the Pharisees? Whitened sepulchres...bright on the outside, but
dead on the inside? The U.S. pro-birth movement makes the Pharisees look like the very
paragons of virtue.
Abortions in America have been declining every year since 1990. According to the Alan
Gutmacher Institute, abortions are rising in only one group, poor women. Dan Quayle, an
ardent abortion opponent, publicly admitted he would help his daughter get an abortion if she
so desired. Former Congressman Bob Barr, a prominent leader of the pro-birth movement,
paid for his wife to get abortions. In the final analysis, new laws will come down hardest on
poor women, those with the fewest options to begin with. If these women and their families
want access to healthcare, pre-natal care, better schools, child care, food, and protection from
abuse, they are out of luck. No one is advocating the freedom to control the number of children
they bear or supporting their desire to raise healthy and nurtured children.
Much of the opposition to abortion is couched in religious terms. If confronted with the
choice of limiting pregnancy and producing healthy, productive, nurtured, and valued children
or getting them born and then abandoning them, what would Jesus do? We've come a long
way from those days when the U.S. Constitution stood firm against religious contamination
and bigotry. There was a day when every aspect of our daily lives wasn't fine-tuned by law
and court-administered shame. There was a day when reason and justice prevailed in our
courts. Those days are gone. What do you think? I welcome your comments and rebuttals.
Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org