Friday, May 20, 2011

Just sayin'

A lot of the current thinking on both the pro-freedom and the anti-freedom sides of the abortion debate is that the current Supreme Court may be of a mind to overturn Roe v. Wade - certainly, "the Roberts court" has shown a great willingness to overturn precedent when it suited the ideological agenda of its most reactionary members, despite the lying professions of great love for stare decisis they made during their confirmation hearings.

So the anti-freedom forces in a number of states have been pushing for harsher and harsher restrictions on a woman's freedom to choose. Scott Lemieux, writing at The American Prospect earlier this month, reported that
[f]rom January to March, state legislatures passed 15 laws restricting abortion rights and introduced more than 900 others.
The anti-freedom thinking is that those who support the right to choose will either swallow the new rules - thus limiting abortion rights - or challenge them, opening a legal path leading ultimately to the Supreme Court.

A recent example that illustrates how far this has gone comes from South Dakota. A new anti-freedom bill, signed into law on March 22 and to go into effect July 1, requires a personal consultation between the woman and the doctor who is actually to perform the procedure followed by a 72-hour waiting period and the requirement that the woman "receive counseling" from a "pregnancy help center," which are sham outfits whose goal is to talk women out of abortions.

Beyond the obvious burdens placed particularly on poor women by these rules, the absolutely creepy condescencion oozing out of the bill's supporters is nauseating:

For example, Governor Dennis Daugaard said that "I hope that women who are considering an abortion will use this three-day period to make good choices," which is generally the kind of language a parent uses to address a child they think is behaving foolishly. I expect we're pretty clear on what Gov. Dog's-arse thinks is a "good choice."

Meanwhile, Rep. Roger Hunt, main sponsor of the law, says that "Women need to just be reminded of the fact there is a natural, legal relationship between them and their child." Now it's not even an "unborn child," it's a "child." I mean, "unborn child" is asinine enough on its face: There is no such thing as an "unborn child." If it's not born, it's not a child. Or is a caterpillar an "unborn butterfly," a tadpole an "unborn frog," and an egg an "unborn chicken?" But this is beyond absurd.

And oh yes, women must be "reminded" of their "relationship" with "their child." Women, the poor dears, just don't understaaaand about relaaaationships. We have to remiiiind them.

And by the way, as of early this month, not a single one of these "pregnancy help centers," including ones that pushed for the bill, have registered to provide the legally-required counseling. Is this because they think the bill won't go into effect due to a court challenge - or do they think it's a means to prevent any abortions by preventing anyone from fulfilling the requirements?

Anyway, one of the reasons I brought this up was because I wanted the chance to say this:

I've always hoped that when one of these putrid things such as the South Dakota bill is introduced, someone in the legislature of whatever state it is would rise and say:
I want to propose a friendly amendment. As my colleague wishes only to insure that women make fully informed decisions[, as is invariably the claim], I'm sure they will happily incorporate this amendment into their bill.

My amendment does two things: One, it replaces every occasion of the incorrect term "unborn baby" or "unborn child" with the medically- and scientifically-correct "fetus." This includes any statement any physician or other provider is required by this law to present or say to the patient.

And two, it requires that in addition to the information presented to the woman about her fetus, she also be fully informed at the same time as to the emotional, physical, and financial risks of pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting.

In fact, let's go the whole way: Let's require that every physician be required to fully inform every female patient of child-bearing years of the relative risks of pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting on the one hand and abortion on the other.

Again, as my colleague insists that the true purpose of this bill is to enable fully-informed decisions, I'm sure there will be no objection to this amendment.
It would be fun to watch the reaction - especially as I'm quite sure the anti-freedom forces know that the physical risks of pregnancy and childbirth clearly exceed those related to abortions.

Footnote: South Dakota is also that state that in February actually considered a bill that could have made the murder of abortion providers "justifiable homicide."

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