Voting Pro-life

This came up in one of the Trump threads but it really can't go any further there.

What does it mean to vote pro-life, particularly in the United States? Is merely voting for someone who mouths pro-life slogans enough? Voting for the Republicans, who want to turn your unthinking pro-life stance into gains for the rich and powerful?

Moreover, is it more important to you that abortion be rare, if legal, or illegal, however prevalent? Because making it illegal is not going to make it go away, and current Republican domestic policies are making it more and more desirable to women "in trouble."

You want to make abortion rare? You know how. It's not to make it illegal. It's to make contraceptives cheap and widely available, and discussion of them included in sex education. It's to provide pre- and post-natal care for pregnant women/new mothers. It's to allow women to take off time from work to tend to a new baby, and prevent them from being fired for doing so. It's to provide maternal health care, including paying for childbirth expenses. Each of these things will reduce the number of abortions. Each of these things has been fought tooth and nail by the right. It's almost as if they are TRYING to create more abortions. Odd that.

Abortion rates dip under Democratic presidents and go back up again under Republicans. This is historically demonstrable.

What is the best way to vote pro-life? Ulterior-motive lip service or actual reduction in the number of abortions?

It's not enough to say "I am pro-life therefore I vote Republican," unless one has totally turned off one's brain and is immune to all evidence and reasoning.

My wife once had an honest conversation with a so-called pro-lifer. He admitted flat out that he doesn't care how many abortions there are, as long as it's illegal. Thankfully he is (one hopes!) in the minority among pro-lifers.
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Comments

  • balaambalaam Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    ...You want to make abortion rare? You know how. It's not to make it illegal. It's to make contraceptives cheap and widely available, and discussion of them included in sex education. It's to provide pre- and post-natal care for pregnant women/new mothers. It's to allow women to take off time from work to tend to a new baby, and prevent them from being fired for doing so. It's to provide maternal health care, including paying for childbirth expenses. Each of these things will reduce the number of abortions. Each of these things has been fought tooth and nail by the right. It's almost as if they are TRYING to create more abortions. Odd that...

    We have most of that over here through the NHS, yet the UK has a higher abortion rate than the USA. I know our cultures are different, but the education, contraception and affordable heath care argument does not seem to work.

  • The Canadian situation is that abortion is a health care issue. The supreme court struck down an abortion law a long time ago, and no gov't has wanted to risk putting forth another. Which would argue that not having a law and having abortion generally available along with other sexual and reproductive health services reduces the abortion rate.

    Which then shows that (a) public funding for abortion may or may not be related to the rate of abortion, (b) having a law about it may or may not relate to rate, (c) readily available other reproductive health services may or may not relate to it.

    I have been more persuaded that women feeling they have control over their lives, education and opportunity for women and girls has more effect on general sexual and reproductive health, general wellbeing and the generally more positive state of societies.

    So I'd suggest that voting "prolife" means electing a lot more women, and having women set public policy on at least equal terms with men, but having a lot more say about sexual and reproductive issues which affect them directly, like pregnancy and having babies etc.
  • balaam, there must be more going on then. Because at least one state showed pretty decisively that making free long-range birth control available caused a steep decrease in unwanted pregnancy and concomitant abortion.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    edited March 2018
    balaam wrote: »
    What this doesn't give (and these numbers seem impossible to get, actually) is abortion rate per unwanted pregnancy. But no other number is really quite relevant.
  • I note first that the US rate is an estimate and we don't know the error margin and that the UK rate likely includes people from Ireland who go to the UK for an abortion they can't get in Ireland.
  • SnagsSnags Shipmate
    I note first that the US rate is an estimate and we don't know the error margin and that the UK rate likely includes people from Ireland who go to the UK for an abortion they can't get in Ireland.

    Based purely on anecdata I'd also question the degree and quality of the education, certainly in some sub-sections of UK society.

    Which isn't a slam on teachers, more an observation that whatever education is given potentially doesn't have the oomph to counter the broad "sex is fun and consequence free" underpinning message of general culture.
  • The rate of abortion in the UK has remained about the same since 2012 but has fallen slightly from 2015 to 2016, and from 2006 to 2016. According to the 2016 report:
    Gestation
    Ninety-two per cent of abortions were carried out at under 13 weeks gestation and 81% were carried out at under 10 weeks, which is slightly higher than in 2015 at 80%, and considerably higher than 2006 at 68%.

    Which suggests the majority of abortions are of unwanted foetuses.

    From those figures around 5,000 of the abortions carried out were on women not resident in England and Wales (subtracting the two figures given of 190,406 abortions carried out, 185,596 abortions carried out on residents of England and Wales).
  • mousethief wrote: »
    You want to make abortion rare? You know how. It's not to make it illegal. It's to make contraceptives cheap and widely available, and discussion of them included in sex education. It's to provide pre- and post-natal care for pregnant women/new mothers. It's to allow women to take off time from work to tend to a new baby, and prevent them from being fired for doing so. It's to provide maternal health care, including paying for childbirth expenses. Each of these things will reduce the number of abortions. Each of these things has been fought tooth and nail by the right. It's almost as if they are TRYING to create more abortions. Odd that.

    This all makes sense when you realise that it's not actually about the abortions themselves. It's about sex. Specifically, sex outside of marriage.

    If it was actually about reducing abortions then all the things you mention would be perfect solutions, but as it's actually about reducing the amount of extramarital sex that's going on then they're absolutely the wrong thing to do. The fundamentalists need pregnancy (and subsequent motherhood) to be a likely consequence of having sex because in their heads that means fewer people will have sex outside of a stable relationship that's ready for a child to turn up (they're completely wrong about that, of course, but since when was awareness of human nature a fundamentalist trait?).

    I'm pretty sure that's why they're so against all the ideas you state that would make things easier for mothers as well. Because if unwed women have sex the fundies want them to have a really shit time of the motherhood that will follow. They want having babies (and thus having sex) to be completely undesirable outside of marriage.

    Basically, they're not seeing the babies as people, they're seeing them as punishment. And abortion is to be condemned because it enables people to escape their rightful punishment for daring to get their freak on in an unsanctioned manner.
  • balaambalaam Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    balaam, there must be more going on then. Because at least one state showed pretty decisively that making free long-range birth control available caused a steep decrease in unwanted pregnancy and concomitant abortion.

    Yup. That's why I also mentioned that there is a culture difference, something that also has to be born in mind.
  • One of the biggest misnomers in public life is that there is a "Pro-Life" lobby concerned with limiting non-spontaneous abortion. The fact is there is no pro-life lobby, there is an anti-termination lobby which mis-labels itself partly to disguise just how selective they are in wanting women to have some say over their reproductive life.

    As for the figures for the USA showing the rate of abortion to be lower per 1000 women than in the UK, such figures are meaningless since in an atmosphere where the very word "abortion" is so emotive there will still be women and girls who have a therapeutic D&C - just like the UK before abortion was legalised - and similarly women who travel to, say, Canada, for a termination won't appear either.

  • As for the figures for the USA showing the rate of abortion to be lower per 1000 women than in the UK, such figures are meaningless since in an atmosphere where the very word "abortion" is so emotive there will still be women and girls who have a therapeutic D&C - just like the UK before abortion was legalised - and similarly women who travel to, say, Canada, for a termination won't appear either.

    Some while back, I was having a private conversation with a small group of devout Christian women. One woman in the group acknowledged having had an abortion in the past. Others had had medical miscarriages. Which, they insisted, were not abortions.

    I found that both fascinating and horrifying.

    I have no idea how the abortion statistics are gathered. But if self-report by women is part of gathering the statistics, you'll miss the medical miscarriages. You'll also miss the women who drink herbal teas when their period is late. Doctors could report the medical miscarriages, but I don't think there's any way to count the women who induce their period with herbal remedies.

  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    I don’t think it’s possible to ‘vote pro-life’ in the U.K. It’s not a political issue here, thankfully.
  • LeRocLeRoc Shipmate
    This all makes sense when you realise that it's not actually about the abortions themselves. It's about sex. Specifically, sex outside of marriage.
    Fred Clark also argues it is about a form of self-deception, trying to get the moral upper hand back, after (white) Evangelicals and their predecessors were proven to be on the wrong moral side with slavery, segregation etc.
  • balaam wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    balaam, there must be more going on then. Because at least one state showed pretty decisively that making free long-range birth control available caused a steep decrease in unwanted pregnancy and concomitant abortion.

    Yup. That's why I also mentioned that there is a culture difference, something that also has to be born in mind.
    I don't think it is as much a cultural difference as you think. If you factor in NI, poverty and quality of education with abortion, as mentioned upthread, I think you'll find more of an alignment with the US. Regardless, if you look at the world trends, relative wealth, education and care reduces abortion.
  • {Sarcasm.}

    I think I've figured out the whole thing about being extremely pro-life/anti-abortion, and also being extremely pro gun.

    Guns kill people. They need more people to kill. So fetuses need to grow into babies and be born. So there are more people to kill. Ad infinitum (endlessly).

    Explains so much.
    :vomit:

    {/Sarcasm.}
  • The statistics Balaam linked to give a rate of 20.1 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-39 in the UK in 2015. The link CK provided gives a rate of 16 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 in England and Wales in 2015.

    I find it hard to believe that women in the 39-44 age bracket have enough abortions to push up the rate from 16 to 20.1. Similarly, I doubt that there are enough abortions in Scotland to raise the UK rate that much above the England and Wales rate.

    Therefore, only one of those statistics can be correct. Personally, I find CK's statistics more plausible, as they are the statistics gathered by the UK government.


  • The statistics Balaam linked to give a rate of 20.1 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-39 in the UK in 2015. The link CK provided gives a rate of 16 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 in England and Wales in 2015.

    I find it hard to believe that women in the 39-44 age bracket have enough abortions to push up the rate from 16 to 20.1. Similarly, I doubt that there are enough abortions in Scotland to raise the UK rate that much above the England and Wales rate.

    Therefore, only one of those statistics can be correct. Personally, I find CK's statistics more plausible, as they are the statistics gathered by the UK government.


    And the figures linked to by Balaam are produced by a "pro-life" outfit.
  • Leorning CnihtLeorning Cniht Shipmate
    edited March 2018
    The statistics Balaam linked to give a rate of 20.1 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-39 in the UK in 2015. The link CK provided gives a rate of 16 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-44 in England and Wales in 2015.

    I find it hard to believe that women in the 39-44 age bracket have enough abortions to push up the rate from 16 to 20.1.

    You have your numbers upside down.

    In England and Wales from the 2011 census, there were 9,259,463 women 15-39 and 11,330,620 women 15-44.

    Both the numbers you quote (2.01% of 15-39 women and 1.6% of 15-44 women) equate to about 180,000 abortions per year. Which means, in round numbers, approximately no abortions to women aged 40-44. Which is about what you expect.

  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Thank you for that Balaam. I thought that must have been so, but being mathematically challenged was not brave enough to sa so.
  • News today: since the UK government agreed to pay for women from Northern Ireland to come to the mainland for terminations there has been a 14% rise in numbers.

    Are we amazed?
  • Sorry - my figures are the wrong way round! Although I wouldn't expect there to be no abortions in the over-40 age group; indeed this is the age group which is most likely to discover a health issue with their baby in the ante-natal scans and tests.
  • If you dig further into the report -
    There were 456 abortions to women aged under 15 (0.2% of the total) and 754 to women aged 45 or over (0.4%) (Table 4a and Figure 2a) - [page 7 of the report].
    and from page 12
    The rates for women aged 30-34 have increased steadily from 15.0 per 1,000 women in 2006 to 17.4 in 2016, and rates for women aged 35 and over have also increased from 6.9 per 1,000 women in 2006 to 8.1 in 2016. (Table 3b and Figure 2b).
    Checking the table, in the table section of the report:
    • 81% of those abortions carried out on women aged 35 and over were at under 3-9 weeks gestation,
    • 10% at 10-12 weeks gestation,
    • 8% at 13-19 weeks gestation and
    • 2% at 20 weeks and over gestation.

    The other factor is that women aged 35 and over are more likely to be in a range of sexual relationships than in the past and for women aged 35 and over the contraceptive pill may no longer be an appropriate choice, which can leave them more vulnerable to unwanted pregnancies due to contraceptive failure. (I did find articles about this on the old Ship - it became a recognised factor in the abortion statistics a few years ago.)

  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited April 2018
    Coming in her to ask better-informed people a few questions on the back of reading The Faith of Donald J Trump.

    One thing the book has confirmed for me is that Trump's pro-life stance, indeed his conversion to a pro-life stance, appears to be essentially the single deciding issue in his winning the evangelical vote.

    In that respect I have some questions.

    It is alleged that Clinton supported late-term abortion, in Trump's words she would be in support of the position whereby "in the ninth month, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby".

    What is a) the law b) practice about late-term abortion in the US, and why? Are any "pro-choice" groups advocating lowering the maximum term for abortion?

    A second unsupported claim is that "recent polling shows a majority of millenials believe abortion should be illegal or only legal in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother".

    Does anyone know the source of this claim or have a convincing counter-claim?
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    edited April 2018
    Eutychus wrote: »
    It is alleged that Clinton supported late-term abortion, in Trump's words she would be in support of the position whereby "in the ninth month, you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby".

    What is a) the law b) practice about late-term abortion in the US, and why? Are any "pro-choice" groups advocating lowering the maximum term for abortion?

    Roe v. Wade set out a trimester standard, under which first trimester abortions are a matter between a woman and her physician, a second trimester abortion may be "regulate[d] the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health", while in the case of third trimester abortions individual states "may, if it chooses, regulate, and even proscribe, abortion except where it is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother". This was semi-overturned in Casey v. Planned Parenthood which held that states could regulate or restrict abortions as early as the first trimester provided the regulations did not pose an "undue burden" on women. What kind of "burden" is "undue" is left kind of vague, but subsequent rulings by the court have left me with the conclusion that a burden is undue if it would be a barrier to a woman with the rough socio-economic status of Sandra Day O'Connor getting an abortion.

    In practical terms, very few late term (third trimester) abortions are actually performed in the United States. Most of them are cases where there are severe (likely fatal) fetal abnormalities, a major risk to the life or health of the pregnant woman, or both. The remainder are typically minors who have been impregnated by an older man with enough control over their life and movements (father, step-father, other guardian, etc.) to prevent them from obtaining an earlier-term abortion. Focusing on preventing late term abortions gives the lie to the pro-life* claim that they want exceptions to protect the lives of women in their proposed abortion bans. Late term abortions are exactly the kind of abortions they claim they would want to go forward, yet they're the abortions they're fighting the hardest to prevent.

    In other words Trump was arguing about something that never really happens, is already illegal in many states, and is outside the direct control of the president.
    Eutychus wrote: »
    A second unsupported claim is that "recent polling shows a majority of millenials believe abortion should be illegal or only legal in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother".

    Does anyone know the source of this claim or have a convincing counter-claim?

    I have not heard this. I am disappointed but not surprised that The Faith of Donald J Trump does not include footnotes or a bibliography. Gallup's polling on abortion, though not limited to Millennials, seems pretty flat over time.


    *Offer expires at birth.
  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    A second unsupported claim is that "recent polling shows a majority of millenials believe abortion should be illegal or only legal in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother".

    Does anyone know the source of this claim or have a convincing counter-claim?

    According to the Pew Research people, a majority of millenials (high 50s, percentage-wise) believe that abortion should be legal. See here ( scroll down to to the "by age" section:
    http://www.pewforum.org/fact-sheet/public-opinion-on-abortion/

    (One of these days I really have to learn how to link on this new Ship.)



  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    edited April 2018
    Ohher wrote: »
    According to the Pew Research people, a majority of millenials (high 50s, percentage-wise) believe that abortion should be legal. See here ( scroll down to the "by age" section. )

    For the sake of accuracy Pew considers Millennials to be anyone born between 1981 and 1996. For Ohher's data collected in 2017 that means anyone from 21 to 36 years old. Other demographers have other definitions, but most of them are pretty close to the range bracketed by Pew.
  • I live in a C/conservative area of Canada. The recent survey said 81% of us go with the pro-choice side.
  • The London Borough of Ealing is today having a meeting to decide whether to impose an exclusion zone around clinics that perform terminations, in particular one operated by Marie Stopes International.

    The so-called pro-life lobby has been causing huge disruption and upset not only to staff but also to women and girls attending the clinic, including accusations of murder being flung at people.
  • And the Council have voted for the exclusion zone.

    There is a petition online for Amber Rudd to bring into law something so that such a zone can be applied for at any clinic without them having to go through the local council or to court.
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    edited April 2018
    On the radio today it was reported that the protestors deny that they are harassing, which shows they've missed the point of harassment in law - it isn't what you think you are doing, but what the recipients of your action feel about it*. And one woman, living nearby, though not targeted by the group, who had had an abortion long ago, still felt the effects of what they were doing now.

    *Not something I am sure about being good law, which is why I never invoked it against my neighbours at the old place, though I was told by a policeman that what they were doing definitely ticked the boxes for the crime. But in this case, the people must know the effect of what they are doing is not to make the targets feel they are being offered an alternative solution.
  • When I was pregnant with my very high risk pregnancy, there were rumours of a planned anti-abortion protest outside Aberdeen Maternity. My midwife phoned to suggest that I might have to miss a scan, as my pregnancy was too touch-and-go to risk any hassle. Fortunately there was no protest, but the deep irony of a wanted pregnancy being under threat because of pro-life protesters was not lost on me.
  • The "pro-lifers" are out in force on Archbishop Cranmer - and all male.
  • All male, and with some curious views about women. I particularly like this comment:
    Why is abortion stressful? Isn’t it just another operation to remove an unwanted part of your body?
    Surely it is only stressful if you know or suspect that it is wrong.


    I had a tooth removed recently and found that stressful, from the moment I smelled that "dentisty" smell in the waiting room. Was that really my conscience telling me that it was wrong?

    I am intrigued by the idea that that commenter could have an unwanted piece of his body removed and not find it stressful.

    Actually, I see mileage in this. I'm happy to do the reading in church, but find writing the prayers of intercession stressful. Perhaps this is my conscience speaking and I can get my name taken off the rota.....
  • Thinking some more about The Faith of Donald J Trump and the focus on abortion has led me, belatedly I'm sure for many, to conclude that the issue here for the power-brokers is nothing to do with life and everything to do with preventing women from having control of their lives because that is a threat to patriarchy and the systems it keeps in operation. It's about enslavement to prevent empowerment.

    This case is proof of that if it was ever needed. I am so mad and I'm a man. I can't even begin to understand what it must feel like being a woman and faced with this attitude, and I am so ashamed of the fellow-evangelicals that perpetuate the idea, however implemented, that at the end of the day women are simply objects to be controlled, and if that calls for a pay-off and an abortion rather than the usual sanctimoniousness about life, people can do that without missing a beat.
  • Yes, you are late in coming to that realization. But better late than never.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    Thinking some more about The Faith of Donald J Trump and the focus on abortion has led me, belatedly I'm sure for many, to conclude that the issue here for the power-brokers is nothing to do with life and everything to do with preventing women from having control of their lives because that is a threat to patriarchy and the systems it keeps in operation. It's about enslavement to prevent empowerment.

    This case is proof of that if it was ever needed. I am so mad and I'm a man. I can't even begin to understand what it must feel like being a woman and faced with this attitude, and I am so ashamed of the fellow-evangelicals that perpetuate the idea, however implemented, that at the end of the day women are simply objects to be controlled, and if that calls for a pay-off and an abortion rather than the usual sanctimoniousness about life, people can do that without missing a beat.

    The fact that no major anti-abortion group is pro-contraception has been the "tell" about this fact for a while.

    If you're interested one of the other ways the anti-abortion crowd tries to manipulate women, in this case through deception, and have twenty minutes to spare I recommend this video segment by John Oliver about crisis pregnancy centers. For those who are unfamiliar with Oliver he got his start on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart before eventually getting his own, very similar show on HBO. Since HBO is a subscription cable channel it does not have to abide by the usual FCC rules for broadcast networks regarding profanity, so be warned.
  • EutychusEutychus Admin
    edited April 2018
    Thankfully the position over here is that of "xaveronf" a few comments down on that video.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    The "pro-lifers" are out in force on Archbishop Cranmer - and all male.

    That place is full of utter loons. I never go there for fear of nightmares; my strident insistence that God cannot be how the fundamentalists (of any stripe) paint him is in the main borne out of my utter terror that they could be right.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    That place is full of utter loons. I never go there for fear of nightmares; my strident insistence that God cannot be how the fundamentalists (of any stripe) paint him is in the main borne out of my utter terror that they could be right.

    The author is way out there but has published some very good stuff about the abuse scandals. Just don't read the comments [SPOILER: it's all the fault of gays, liberals and gay liberals].
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    KarlLB wrote: »
    That place is full of utter loons. I never go there for fear of nightmares; my strident insistence that God cannot be how the fundamentalists (of any stripe) paint him is in the main borne out of my utter terror that they could be right.

    The author is way out there but has published some very good stuff about the abuse scandals. Just don't read the comments [SPOILER: it's all the fault of gays, liberals and gay liberals].

    I know. The problem with comments pages is they're like when the cat brings in a partially disemboweled mouse, you know closer examination will be truly disgusting but somehow your curiosity gets the better of you. Then you realise you can't unsee it and you knew what was there all along.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    There is more to pro life than just bringing a baby to term
    There is giving it and the parents adequate support to raise the child.
    There is giving it adequate health care.
    There is giving it a good education so the child can be a productive citizen
    There is avoiding war so that the child does not have to risk its life in service to its country (there are also other ways to serve one's country than just the military).
    There is developing jobs so that a young adult can make a decent living.
    And there is giving the older adult adequate retirement security.

    I think there are other intermediate steps I have forgotten with this list.

    This is one reason why I do like the Roman Catholic support for the total life.

    But I am pro choice, not that I would want my granddaughters to have an abortion, but so that if they have no other choice, they can have it safely
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    I came across a blog entry today by Dr. Jen Gunter about being an OB/GYN and having to navigate a state law that prohibited abortion except in cases of "medical emergency", defined as needing an "immediate abortion" to prevent death or "irreversible impairment of a major bodily function." These are not precise medical terms and can lead to confusion for practicing physicians.
    I let the doctor tell me this woman’s medical history and then I asked if she were about to die right now?

    It is a strange question. In rare situations when we are short staffed we doctors might triage so we can give our attention to the sickest or the person who will benefit the most, but doctors don’t ask if someone is actively dying. At least not until the government made us.

    The doctor yelled. Not really at me, more in exasperation.

    I didn’t blame him. We are not misfortune-tellers we are doctors. Asking a doctor to predict the hour of death, to distinguish between dying here and now and might die tonight or perhaps tomorrow or maybe next week is an abomination and yet here we were and I had to ask.

    I explained the new law and that to have an abortion the mother’s life had to be in “immediate” jeopardy.

    What did that mean? I was a doctor who did abortions and practiced obstetrics and I didn’t know. The doctor who called for my help, whose business it was to take care of very sick people, didn’t know. The hospital attorneys, because those are the best people to make medical decisions right after politicians, decided this law meant the medical equivalent of stepping in front of a speeding car. Death himself must be in the room and unhooking the intravenous, except we can’t see death or predict when He will arrive so that complicates things.

    <snip>

    The whole point of good medical care is to never get to the point where “immediate” death is minutes away, situations like the blood bank is exhausted but the bleeding hasn’t stopped, or oxygen levels that are dropping but the ventilator can’t deliver any more pressure without bursting the other lung, or an implanted pump has stopped boosting a failing heart. Good medicine, the medicine we all want, is reversing course many, many steps before.

    The hospital attorneys told me that doing an abortion for this woman could rouse an overzealous District Attorney and result in criminal charges, something my malpractice insurance would not cover. It would also get fired. The only way for me to help this woman and keep my job and protect myself from criminal prosecution was to call the politician who wrote the words “medical emergency” and “immediate action” into the law and seek his permission.

    And so, it fell upon me, a 31-year-old Canadian doctor two years out of training with a precarious immigration status to challenge a state politician.

    It took several hours to track him down because politicians don’t take call for medical emergencies.

    A hospital attorney patched me through to this man. I had reviewed statistics and projected outcomes with the other doctor involved and was prepared for every possible question. I did not plan to explain the technical words to emphasize the point that if you do not understand them then maybe you might realize that you have no business trying to govern with them.

    I got maybe two, maybe three, sentences out.

    He stuttered, like a schoolyard bully caught mid punch by a teacher who then quickly smiles and changes course with his fist to pat the head of his intended victim in faux concern.

    “Of course, doctor, do what you think is necessary,” he said.


    No additional explanation just, “Of course doctor, do what you think is necessary.”

    There was an uncomfortable silence. I didn’t want to thank him so I said something like, “Okay, great.” And that was it.

    What a disconnect.

    To claim that abortion is such an evil and so unnecessary that you feel legislation is required, as if doctors are rounding up wanton women for pleasure abortions, and yet you fold with the slightest challenge.

    If what a board-certified OB/GYN thought was necessary was enough then why have a law?

    Bolding added by me. The whole thing is worth a read, but it highlights fairly clearly the way the vague medical necessity opt outs written into various abortion bans are more about providing political ass-covering for elected officials than providing clear guidance to medical professionals.
  • I don't know if this is behind a paywall - I hope not - but Caitlin Moran's piece in today's Magazine section of The Times is one of the best I've read in a very long time: find it here
  • Thank you for posting that.
  • Repealing the 8th Amendment from Ireland's constitution on Friday next isn't guaranteed. This is the most thoughtful post I have yet read. I agree with every word of it.
    Ending discussion, and enforcing silence is always a foolish strategy. And just look at where things ended up.

    The conservative agenda, and the return to strong authority in the Church in the 1980s created a culture of silence, whereby local bishops pushed everything bad under the carpet and pretended all was rosy on the altars.

    A spirit of astonishing deception emerged, that tolerated a level of criminality in the clerical ranks which has sickened everyone.

    I am ashamed when I hear bishops deliberating with absolute medieval certainty and making merciless judgements on the lives of women caught in deeply human moral dilemmas.

    I sometimes wish those same bishops had been as firm in their judgments when their colleagues were destroying the innocence of young children.
    MichaelHarding on #repealthe8th
  • And more in The Times yesterday (hope its not behind a paywall - I have a subscription so have no way of knowing).
  • Another good piece.

    I might be dead if I had lived in Ireland in 2002, my children motherless at the ages of 7 and 5. It was my fifth pregnancy; I had had two live births, one planned stillbirth and one miscarriage and I was longing for another baby. After two losses, to say that my baby was "wanted" doesn't even come close. But at 11 weeks I was bleeding in hospital, my blood pressure was dropping, and the doctor's priority was to stop the bleeding. He didn't check for a heartbeat, explaining that a heartbeat would just indicate that my baby was "dying" as opposed to "dead."

    In Ireland, everything would have hinged on that heartbeat. If there was one, I would have hovered on a knife-edge, waiting until my baby had died before the doctors could proceed.

    I neither know nor care whether my baby was alive when the doctors acted; if God had wanted my baby to live, He would have answered my prayers, and I wouldn't have been miscarrying in the first place.

    I am convinced that ... nothing can separate us from the love of God.

  • What a shattering experience for you, NEQ.

    One of my childhood friends grew up in the knowledge that his father, and English RC doctor, took the decision (in an Irish hospital) to "save the baby" rather than the mother. So my friend not only grew up without a mother, and with the knowledge that his father, as a doctor, knew pretty much with certainty what the outcome of his decision would be, but also ostracised by his late mother's relatives who couldn't bear to see the child who had cost her her life. A terrible burden for any child.

    Hard though it is (and I do know, we "miscarried" at 22 weeks) sometimes the almighty/ nature decides it isn't to be.
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    Two terrible situations.

    Iowa, meanwhile, has passd a law saying that once a heartbeat has been detected there can be no abortion, and the man responsible says that this trumps incest, rape and foetal abnormality, there are to be no exceptions. There are to be challenges in court, though.
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