Category: Reproductive Rights
Good question. Here’s one disturbing possibility:
As it stands, IVF patients are primarily wealthy and white, while women who seek abortions are disproportionately poor and women of color, you know, “the least of these” that the Republican anti-choice crowd has always had a penchant for regulating and condemning. These women bear the brunt of abortion restrictions far more than wealthy whites. They are more likely to use Medicaid for health expenses, which federal law prohibits from covering abortion. Travel expenses and lost wages due to time away from low paying jobs are the results of mandatory wait periods. Kaplan says.
Sarah Silverman is not afraid to piss people off. Late last month, the comedian posted a video where she casually chats about abortion rights with Jesus over popcorn. It’s part of her ongoing effort to inform people across the country about Republican-led efforts to limit women’s access to abortion. She’s teamed up with Lady Parts Justice and had been playing fundraisers for the group all over the country.
Hobby Lobby is suing to be exempted from certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case . . . The question at the heart of this is, should a company be forced to pay for things with which it has a moral objection? [More . . . ]
Janet Reitman of Rolling Stone writes that no reversal of Roe v Wade is possible given the general public support of some availability of abortion. That’s not preventing many legislatures from chipping away to make it difficult to get an abortion. Here’s an excerpt from the detailed article:
Eight other states now have laws preventing abortion coverage under comprehensive private insurance plans – only one of them, Utah, makes an exception for rape. And 24 states, including such traditionally blue states as Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, ban some forms of abortion coverage from policies purchased through the new health exchanges. While cutting insurance coverage of abortion in disparate states might seem to be a separate issue from the larger assault on reproductive rights, it is in fact part of a highly coordinated and so far chillingly successful nationwide campaign, often funded by the same people who fund the Tea Party, to make it harder and harder for women to terminate unwanted pregnancies, and also to limit their access to many forms of contraception.
All this legislative activity comes at a time when overall support for abortion rights in the United States has never been higher – in 2013, seven in 10 Americans said they supported upholding Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. But polls also show that more than half the country is open to placing some restrictions on abortion: Instead of trying to overturn Roe, which both sides see as politically unviable, they have been working instead to chip away at reproductive rights in a way that will render Roe’s protections virtually irrelevant
Based on these statistics from Guttmacher Institute, the official policy of the U.S. is that we welcome lots of unplanned pregnancies. Poor women have a sharply elevated rate of unplanned pregnancies. Instead of encouraging walk-in street clinics with free birth control, many of our politicians vilify the idea that anyone would have sex without intending to get pregnant. The result is exactly what we see in these statistics.
What does the phrase “pro life” actually mean? The following list from Addicting Information doesn’t apply to everyone who calls himself or herself “pro life,” but it’s a useful list to consult when someone claims they are pro-life. They might mean one or more of the following, each of which is elaborated at Addicting Information:
5. Pro-Controlling Women
8. Pro-Religious Control
Guttmacher Institute has compiled facts and figures for all 50 states regarding the incidences of and costs of unintended pregnancies. This is a detailed state by state analysis, including statistics on abortion.
I live in Missouri, where these statistics apply (follow the link to Guttmacher for the stats on your state):
• In 2006, 53% of all pregnancies (61,000) in Missouri were unintended, compared with 49% nationally.
• Missouri’s unintended pregnancy rate in 2006 was 51 per 1,000 women aged 15-44. Nationally, the rate was 52 per 1,000, ranging from a low of 36 per 1,000 in New Hampshire to a high of 69 per 1,000 in Mississippi.
• The teen pregnancy rate in Missouri was 63 per 1,000 women aged 15-19 in 2005. The national teen pregnancy rate was 70 per 1,000, ranging from 33 per 1,000 in New Hampshire to 93 per 1,000 in New Mexico.
• In 2006, 61% of unintended pregnancies in Missouri resulted in births and 25% in abortions; the remainder resulted in miscarriages.
• In Missouri in 2006, 46% of all births (37,700) resulted from unintended pregnancies, compared with 38% nationally.
• The services provided by family planning centers in Missouri helped avert 20,800 unintended pregnancies in 2008, which would likely have resulted in 9,200 births and 8,700 abortions.
Here is a stunning graphic from a television show called “Viewpoint,” featuring Eliot Spitzer:
So if you want to avoid abortions, make birth control freely available. That’s one of the message of this short Guttmacher video:
Here is another Guttmacher video on the occurrence rates of abortion–it occurs more often in countries where it is illegal (which is often where contraception is not widely available).
The rational way to cut abortion rates is to make birth control freely available; the irrational way to cut abortion is to outlaw abortion. For those who adamantly oppose abortion, Adam Lee asks some pointed questions, including the following:
- Biological evidence suggests that a large number, if not a majority, of fertilized eggs are spontaneously aborted at a very early stage of pregnancy (by some estimates, as many as 50%). Do you consider this an ongoing humanitarian crisis that urgently needs medical research?
- If you could write the law however you saw fit, how would you enforce a ban on abortion? For example, in El Salvador, when women come to hospitals seeking treatment for a miscarriage, they can be detained until a forensic vagina investigator can arrive and perform an exam to see if they had an illegal abortion. Would you have something like this? If not, what enforcement mechanism would you have?
- Why do you think it is that so many proposed abortion bans have no exception for the woman’s life or health? (For example, anti-abortion laws with no health exceptions exist in Chile, Honduras, Suriname and El Salvador. Even in the U.S., similar bans have been passed by Republican legislatures in Indiana and South Dakota.) Do you think there should be such an exception?
- Would you permit exceptions to an abortion ban in the case of rape? If so, how would this work? For a pregnant woman to get an abortion, would she have to accuse a specific person of the crime, and would he have to be tracked down, arrested, charged, put on trial and convicted, all before the point of fetal viability?
- What do you think the penalty should be for doctors who perform abortion?
- What do you think the penalty should be for women who seek out an abortion?
I would ask many of the same questions Adam Lee asks. I have set forth my views on abortion here. I believe that the choice of abortion should be solely between a woman and her doctor for at least the first three months after pregnancy.
For those alleged literalists who oppose abortion based on the bible, where in the bible does it state that the union of an egg and sperm immediately becomes the equivalent of a born human being? In fact, consider these passages indicating that breathing air is the key point in time:
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7
“Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.” Ezekiel 37: 4-7.