Sunday, October 02, 2005

Let’s Get Real About the Abortion Issue

Yes, it’s a hot-button topic. Yes, the self-righteous morons who want all women to carry all fetuses to term or die trying are maddening. Yes, it divides the US into them and us camps. But the actual importance to women on whether these far-right religious fanatics can overturn Roe v. Wade or not, looms as less of a threat every day. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, it means that states can ban abortions, it doesn’t mean they will or that they must. Today’s NYT has an interesting article on the subject: “Abortion Might Outgrow Its Need for Roe v. Wade”. Back when the birth control pill first came out, we all knew it could be used as a morning-after pill. The original pill was much stronger than it needed to be to prevent pregnancy. Doctors in the women’s health field were not shy about telling us that the pill had a secondary use. Now, the birth control pill cannot be used in that way. But now it doesn’t need to be used in that way. As the NYT article points out, a pill that was approved in 1988 as a treatment for ulcers, Cytotec (misoprostol) was found to cause miscarriages and has been used for nearly two decades for self-induced abortions. In the NYT article, Dr. Jerry Edwards, an abortion provider in Little Rock, Ark. is quoted saying, "We won't go back to the days of coat hangers and knitting needles. Rich women will fly to California; poor women will use Cytotec.” Right now, any woman or girl of any age can go into any Emergency Room and ask for a morning-after pill and she will be provided with the means for inducing a miscarriage. Norma McCorvey, the original Jane Doe in the Roe v. Wade case who found God, became a born-again and now preaches against abortion, says, in her typically florid way, "When women start using these self-induced drugs, and start seeing body parts in their potty, they're going to go bananas… it's going to be horrible." No. Ms McCorvey. That’s not what is going to happen. Most women who find they are pregnant do not wait until a fetus is fully formed and viable before they decide to terminate a pregnancy. What these women will find in their potty is blood, because in the vast majority of cases, morning-after pills are used in the first two weeks after conception. The real issue is not about whether radicals and fanatics can overturn Roe v. Wade. Because it doesn’t matter. Women always have and always will have abortions. And now that abortions can easily be self-induced and now that antibiotics make dealing with infection a foregone conclusion, the holier-than-thou-crowd (who fight abortions until wives and daughters need them) doesn’t have much of a platform to stand on. Here’s the real issue: Will born-agains and religious fanatics insist that women be left to bleed to death if they go to Emergency Rooms for treatment of a failed self-induced abortion? Will they demand that these women be put in prison? They may. And that stance, which never will be enacted as law because 60% of Americans are pro-choice, would go a long way to making anti-abortion fanatics totally irrelevant.


Barry Schwartz said...

I don't like the expression that these people care about the fetus but not the child. What is important to the anti-abortionists is societal control of the individual, particularly a woman.

It's quite clever. One aspect became clearer with the Theresa Schiavo spectacle—the 'victim' has the special characteristic of being unable to express a preference. A hamster is more expressive than a fetus or Theresa Schiavo, and might actually foil a plot to have anti-abortion misanthropes speak 'for' it.

I ask, then, if abortion were not available, and Theresa Schiavo spectacles were too obvious, what ruse would the anti-abortion authoritarians use next?

Rhino-itall said...

I think you're being kind of hysterical when you ask "Will born-agains and religious fanatics insist that women be left to bleed to death if they go to Emergency Rooms for treatment of a failed self-induced abortion? Will they demand that these women be put in prison?" That's just ridiculous. But you hit the nail on the head with the fact that roe is not important anymore, the new litmus test should be kelo.