13 February 2008

In Which I Discuss Something Very Controversial.

A week ago I was reading Eric Snider's post on Mike Huckabee and a couple of commentors mentioned that the only issue they cared about was a candidate's stand on abortion and that they wouldn't support "baby-killers." That made me see red, as there are so many more pressing issues, like the economy, the exploding deficit, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan etc. If the only issue a voter cares about is abortion, what are they willing to compromise on? How good of a president could an individual whose main issue is overturning Roe v. Wade? The issue of abortion has always been a prickly one, as I am morally opposed to abortion, with a few exceptions in the case of rape, incest, or life-threatening complications. But as opposed as I am to it generally, I don't think it should be illegal. I don't think Roe v. Wade should be overturned. That is not to say I think there should be no restrictions or regulations regarding abortion, as it is an extremely serious act and should not be done hastily or without serious consideration. But I'm still adamant that it should be legal.

If abortion were to be made illegal, it would be out of the jurisdiction of the AMA nor would there be any way to ensure any sort of medical or health standard. A recent study suggested that a comparable number of women seek abortions in countries regardless of legality and that, while there are still multiple risks with the procedure, countries in which abortion is legal have lower fatality rates. Additionally, if abortion is made illegal, would those who oppose it so vehemently stop there? Or would contraception be the next target? There is already a glaring double standard regarding health care and sex in the United States. Viagra was almost universally covered by insurance companies when it was released, while some insurance companies still balk at covering prescriptions for birth control. This is particularily egregious when, of the women I know using the birth control pill, only a fraction of them actually use it as a contraceptive. In the cases I know of, it is used to control irregular or painful cycles, migraines, and acne. At what point does it stop being a moral argument and one in which women are allowed to make choices over their own bodies, right or wrong? And what if all the time, effort, and money spent fighting abortion was spent educating? What if, instead of picketing clinics and sending out inflammatory literature and denying funding to organizations that include abortion as an option, an intelligent, calm discussion took place about the costs of abortion? What if women could get real information about the experience, about the physical risks and the psychological impact?

I was still mulling this over when Thursday's Fresh Air on NPR came on. I have to drive a half-hour to the County Courthouse every day for work, so I usually listen to the program while I drive there. Thursday's interview was with Cristian Mungiu, the director of a film from Romania 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days that won the Palm d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival this year(you can read reviews here and here). The film follows two college roommates in 1980's Romania under the dictator Nicolai Ceausescu as they try to procure an illegal abortion for one the women.

The interview (which I recommend listening to) discuses why Ceausescu declared abortion to be illegal, which had nothing to do with morality. The film is based on some collective experiences the director and writer heard from friends. He relates some of these and some that he heard after the film was released and they are harrowing. Do we really want to create a world where their nightmare becomes our reality?


esperanza said...

I have opinions on this subject, strong ones, and I'm too onery at the moment to share. LOL. But I will say, lots of girls at my high school drug overdose within the first few weeks of pregnancy to abort their babies. Sad. Sick. Sad.

Heather said...

I think you are right on Scully..

And that is sad Esperanza.. especially when they could be helping perfectly nice people be parents.. like me!

I read a statistic that said only 1percent of unwed pregnant women place their babies for adoption.. 50% abort, and the other 49% either single parent or get married and parent.. SO SAD.

But that is not to say that making abortion illegal would solve anything.. I think you are right on the money Scully. Education, education, education (and tolerance and love).

Nemesis said...

Okay, were. duh. on the contraceptives comment. My last employer wouldn't cover oral contraceptives, even if the reason you were prescribed it had nothing to do with family planning. It made me want to scream at people. "So . . . my doctor is prescribing this to me, along with several other things, all to treat the same condition, but you're only going to cover 3 out of the 4? You can expect a flaming sack of dog poop on your desk before the week is out."

I know your beef has a much broader scope, but that still burns me.

Scully said...

E, that is absolutely horrible. Do these girls have any idea what they are putting their bodies through? I wish that people wouldn't be so obsessed with pushing abstinence that they alienate kids so that they have no idea what they are doing and risk their health in so many ways.

Heather, I so wish adoption was given more of a push than it is. Because I know families that just ache for children and then there are people who just don't care about the ones they have. That is another rant for another time.

Regardless of my scope, Nem, it is the same issue - old, white men making decisions about my body for me. These are the same old, white men who allowed Viagra to be covered almost instantaneously. Because it mattered to them. Such a double standard.

SenatorBond said...

Well Scully, I bet you'll never believe what I am about to tell you, but if and when John McCain becomes the republican nominee, I will NOT be voting for him in November. Out of almost everyone I know, I feel I am one of the most passionately conservative, yet I will never vote for him, for too many reasons to enumerate here. If I end up voting at all, I will be MORE THAN HAPPY to vote for Clinton or Obama. Go Dems!

Scully said...

Oddly enough, SenatorBond, several people who are conservative switched allegiances to Obama rather than McCain after Romney dropped out. I wonder if that is happening all over. I heard Obama is getting a much larger percentage of the independent vote than either Clinton or McCain.

esperanza said...

Over 30% in Utah said they will vote Obama/Clinton over McCain, and these are Republicans, and this is UTAH.

cherbear said...

Well, Scully , that's precisely the problem. Those girls DONT know what they are doing to their bodies because they haven't been educated about it. It may be a good thing to start seeing a GYN early on in the teen years or a good pediatrician who will explain what is happening to girls' developing bodies. There really does need to be some sort of education, better than what we've got now. I think that these girls need to know what happens to their bodies when they get pregnant and the realities of labor and delivery.
I have read those stats on illegal abortions too. Women will do it anyway and it's better to regulate it than to risk lives with unsafe procedures.
As for contraceptives, I can't believe insurance or employers wouldn't want to cover it. That's one less person the insurance company has to pay medical expenses for and employers wouldn't have to worry about maternity leave. So strange. I had no idea Viagra was covered. Why do old men need to have sex anyway, they're old, and gross.

katharine said...

i agree with you that it is capricious to place a vote based only on one issue. i agree with you that birth control should be covered by insurance (and they should have many options, as different kinds work better for different women as well as for treating other symptoms). i agree with you about education, but i don't think most teens who engage in sexual behavior and then try to induce spontaneous abortion are doing it because they are uneducated. teens know drugs are bad for them - really, the anti-drug movement has made that abundantly clear. the reason they do it is because they are scared and don't know where to go or who to talk to. and i am not against the morning-after pill (as long as it is really taken the morning after instead of after a pregnancy is established - it is actually dangerous at that point.
i don't agree about abortion being legal (except in those extreme instances you specified). is it not murder after all?
and i am a HUGE advocate of adoption, but really think teen sex education should be made up of 2 critical components: 1. abstinance and 2. responsible use of birth control if you do engage in sexual activity. teens should be able to get birth control without parental consent (but then again can teens afford that?). isn't it a shame more kids are not getting this instruction from their PARENTS?

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