Sunday, April 22, 2007
A tale of two moods, part two
This damned Supreme Court decision has made me a bit. . .infuriated, upset, worried and ultimately very, very tired. It does nothing to 'save babies' and does a whole lot to endanger women's health. It outlaws one specific procedure, often the safest one for the women. It is preformed for two reasons -- either the mother's life/health is in danger or the fetus has a defect incompatible with life. It is not performed on women who are carrying viable feti. The pro-lifers have done a good job of promoting the lie that a woman can waltz in at 7 or 8 months along and just have an abortion willy-nilly, but that's just not so. The state is will within its rights to regulate third trimester abortion. Those laws do not need a court review, because Roe provides that right to the state, provided exceptions are made for the life and health of the mother.
Well, the health of the mother /used/ to matter. This new ruling basically says, it's not so important. And that pisses me off. Because now the door is open for further restrictions that leave out health exemptions. Without those exemptions, the law is giving primacy to the fetus, regardless of the consequences for the woman. Kidneys failing? Pregnancy causing a mental breakdown? Resulting in blindness? Paralysis? Too bad. You can live through those things. I mean, there's dialysis and medication, right? And people live all the time without being able to see or move. So, no. No abortion for you. So sorry. (Not really.)
This ruling also says nothing about viabliity. Often, so called 'partial birth abortion' is performed before the fetus is viable. It will not survive outside the womb, so it is fated to die. And yet, thanks to this ban, a women who finds out at 19 weeks she's carrying a fetus that doesn't have a brain will now have to undergo either an induced labor and delivery or a dialation and extraction -- basically, the fetus is scrambled in the womb and pulled out piece by piece. Not only is this more dangerous -- there's a chance the uterus will be perferated by either the instruments the doctor is using or by the bones of the fetus -- it also denies the family a chance to say goodbye to what is usually a wanted child. You can't hold a pile of pieces in your arms, but you can hold an intact body in your arms. All that's required is a small hat to hide the incision and grieving parents can hold and name and kiss their lost child. It provides for a sense of closure, of making the loss more real. But now, that chance is denied.
Do you want to see the real face of intact dialation and extraction? (Which seems to be the procedure most closely matching 'partial birth abortion' since there is no such medical procedure.) This post is the best real life story I've read yet.
Personally, the loss of a health exemption terrifies me. My illness puts me at an increased risk for late term miscarriage. Which means, I've got a 25% increase in losing a pregnancy in my last trimester. So, if I make it to 8 months and my child dies, this law means I'll have to either have labor induced or have a C-section. (Technically, this procedure can be performed when the fetus is already dead. Maybe. But with this law in place, the chances of finding a doctor willing to chance peforming the procedure is not good.) Either I subject my body to the prolonged stress of labor to produce a dead baby or I subject my body to major surgery to produce a dead baby, instead of a significantly shorter and safer procedure. And while I may be willing to chance either labor or a C-section to bring a living child into the world, the government has no right to demand I do so to bring forth a dead baby.
But more than that, the loss of the health exemption means that, at any point in my pregnancy, should my health begin to fail, the state may have the right to demand I endure that danger. With the court striking the need for a health exemption, there's nothing to stop the state from restricting second trimester abortion and not including a health exemption. So, at four months, if I start to develop paralysis or neurological problems (I have an increased risk for strokes or seisures, thanks to the Lupus), it may be of no consequence. When it's clear that the fetus is not viable, the state can still keep me from protecting my own health. True, at the moment no such laws exist, but with this ruling it is only a matter of time before they do.
And so, what will I do? Frankly, this ruling makes it more likely that I will elect an abortion during the first trimester, where Roe protects my right to abort for any reason. Truthfully, I'd been more willing to attempt a pregnancy knowing that, should my health being to decline, I had the option of saving myself. Now that that right is endangered, why should I even make the attempt? Why should I risk carrying a child when the state is taking away my right to protect my health? I may well have an uneventful pregnancy, but that's by no means gauranteed. So why would I try? Why should I try?
So, there you go. Thank you Supreme Court for making the decision much easier for me and, doubtlessly, many other women. If I don't have the option to protect my own health, should the need arrive, I have no reason to attempt to carry a pregnancy to term. In fact, I have a strong incentive NOT to do so.
The United States Supreme Court -- encouraging abortion since 2007.