Let’s consider the ill-named Reproductive Health Act passed last week in New York State.
The Act was passed on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973. The Senate passed the measure 38-24, while the Assembly passed it 92-47. The New York Senate erupted in applause when it became law.
The irony is that those who celebrate this new law can’t see, or refuse to acknowledge, the wreckage left behind in Roe’s wake: 61,000,000 lives legally taken in the United States; countless other lives shattered as a result; the very perception of life as sacred and magic degraded to the point where euthanasia is now accepted as not only understandable, but necessary; using the parts of murdered and dismembered babies in a new lucrative industry.
Now, 46 years later, Let’s look at this law.
The Reproductive Health Act strips abortions from the penal code and adds the following language:
“The legislature finds that comprehensive reproductive health care is a fundamental component of every individual’s health, privacy and equality.
“Therefore, it is the policy of the state that:
“Every individual has the fundamental right to choose or refuse contraception or sterilization. Every individual who becomes pregnant has the fundamental right to choose to carry the pregnancy to term, to give birth to a child, or to have an abortion, pursuant to this article.”
The law allows a licensed “health-care practitioner” acting under their scope of practice to perform an abortion when:
“According to the practitioner’s reasonable and good faith professional judgment based on the facts of the patient’s case: the patient is within twenty-four weeks from the commencement of pregnancy, or there is an absence of fetal viability, or the abortion is necessary to protect the patient’s life or health.”
It expands the list of health care professionals who can perform abortions beyond physicians to also encompass highly trained nurse practitioners, licensed midwives, and physician assistants. They are empowered to decide if an abortion is necessary “to protect the patient’s life or health.”
This isn’t about saving a mother’s life. Most doctors of obstetrics and gynecology will tell you that third-trimester abortions of live infants are never medically necessary to save a mother’s life because the baby could just be delivered alive.
I wonder what the definition of “health” is? I don’t believe that New York State Public Health has defined that.
What might fit the “or health” aspect of the bill? Can a mother who has gestational diabetes choose an abortion? One who is sick and on bed rest? A mother who suffers from hyperemesis gravidarum (severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss and electrolyte disturbance) in late pregnancy (up to 20% of women with the condition have it throughout their pregnancies) may feel as if she is dying, but it is an uncomfortable condition that can be managed. “Health” is much too vague a term.
The Act states that:
“Abortion is one of the safest medical procedures performed in the United States.”
Really? What proof is there for that statement? Surely there are many safer procedures than abortion. I can think of quite a few, and the Act provides no evidence to prove the assertion.
Some of the possible medical complications of abortion include blood clots, hemorrhage, infection, and injury to the cervix and other organs. Abortion can also cause cardiac arrest, respiratory arrest, renal failure, metabolic disorder, and shock. One recent study concluded that immediate medical complications affect approximately 10 percent of women undergoing abortions, and approximately one-fifth of these complications are life threatening.
Then there are the psychological effects and future health concerns.
In short, this is a lie, and women are being lied to every day when they are told that abortion will be the answer to their problems, without consequences.
Abortion has a legitimate place as a medical procedure, as an unfortunate solution to legitimate danger to a woman’s life. On the other hand, abortion for the sake of convenience is an illegitimate use. These convenience abortions are far, far, the majority of abortions performed in the USA today.
It seems to me that women who believe they are making choices about their reproductive health are being offered choices that most of them will long regret. For some it will only be a regret and guilt for taking an innocent life. For others the choice may result in serious medical problems or life-long effects on their reproductive health.
I also believe that, while the rights of women needed serious improvement from the way things were up until the 1960’s, legalization of abortion was not one of those improvements.
Let’s look at this honestly. Most of us enjoy sexual intercourse. It is a pleasurable activity because it insures that the species will continue to multiply. The primary biological reason for sexual intercourse is to produce children, and women are the ones who ‘have it last’, as my ex-husband so elegantly said.
In the olden days, if a woman had sexual intercourse outside of marriage and ‘got in trouble’, she had a couple of choices. Most got married, while others went away to a home for unwed mothers or to stay with relatives and gave their babies up for adoption. A few opted for an illegal abortion, and most of those were performed by doctors for cash; some of those doctors believed that they were performing a necessary service.
The invention of the birth control pill began to change things. I believe that there are good things to be said for reliable birth control. For one thing, a married woman doesn’t continue to have children one after the other throughout her childbearing years, as my grandmother (8 live births) and great-grandmother (11 live births) did, or become pregnant when it would be dangerous to her health; women with poorly-controlled diabetes is one example.
Reliable birth control also meant that more young women began to have sex more freely with whomever they pleased, and men welcomed the chance to have free sex with nice girls without consequences or responsibilities. Legal abortion exacerbated the situation.
I realize that there were – and are – men who live up to their responsibilities, but not as many as we might like.
I ask you – was this an improvement for women? Is the total responsibility for sex and its consequences falling on a woman the definition of freedom? Women cannot escape their biological role. They are the ones born with the biological ability to conceive, carry, and birth children.
In the dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, women are held in sexual slavery to men, being forced to conceive and bear children, stripped of their identity.
Today, in contrast to fiction from the 1980’s, women are assuming sexual slavery, willing to take sole responsibility for their biological destiny, up to and including killing their own children, even when those children have developed to the point where they could otherwise live if allowed to be born instead of aborted. By doing this, they risk their physical and mental health.
And they call this Choice, and Freedom?