Sunday, January 22, 2006

Blogging for Choice

It's the 33rd Anniversary of Roe v. Wade today. To celebrate, demonstrations are being held around the world, and not necessarily the friendly kind either.

What better way to celebrate a momentous occasion (because it is one regardless of what you believe), than for the Senate majority to show how anti-woman they are....they will be voting on Alito's nomination this week.

I believe a woman's reproductive freedoms will be at stake if Alito is confirmed as the swing vote will be gone. (Rumor has it that Kennedy will be the next swing voter but I'm not so sure given his conservative track record in past decisions.)

34 states have parental consent or notification laws with more on the way (Virginia has been one of these for a while now). Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Georgia seek to outlaw abortion altogether except when carrying a pregnancy to term poses a severe health risk to the mother. As the LATimes writes, this is in direct contradiction to the ruling set forth in Roe.

Justice Henry Blackmun, who wrote the majority opinion in Roe, had wanted to be a doctor but failed his boards so became a lawyer instead. He thoroughly researched abortion for months, including several interviews with doctors who performed the procedure. After he was satisfied, Blackmun concluded that women did indeed have the Right to Privacy under the 14th Amendment.

Privacy is not a right inherently afforded to anyone, but neither is the right to Freedom of Expression or the Right to a Belief which are assumed under the 1st Amendment. Those, like privacy, were additions, an expansion if you will. The 1st clause under the 14th Amendment does affirm that

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
and perhaps one could easily garner why it is privacy can be assumed. And that goes for everyone, not just women and their reproductive rights. (The right to privacy was also argued in the Texas sodomy case Lawrence v. Texas and if you remember correctly, Lawrence and his partner won.)

Indiana Republican Representative Troy Woodruff, author of House Bill 1096, stated that his intentions were to have “his ban appealed to the Supreme Court, in hopes that the justices will overturn Roe and give states the power to make abortion a crime.” He also states that “On an issue that's this personal, it should be decided as local as possible. “We either want these procedures, or we don’t . . . And I don't.”

How funny that a man would decide he doesn't want these *procedures* to exist when the situation that calls for such action doesn't affect him to begin with. Does he have to worry about the consequences of unprotected sex, a condom breaking or possibly the results of rape and/or incest? He might, but only because a woman could force him to pay child support even against his will. (This, of course, takes us into tricky territory which has been discussed fairly well and exhaustively here.)

But a man can still walk away at any point and disappear while the woman and her body has to invest (because there really is no choice in pregnancy is there?) every cell in her body in order to create the living being that will one day be born. Whether the woman wants the child or not really isn't as separate an issue the anti-choicer's make it out to be.

What is interesting is that a dozen or so states already have laws on their books making abortion illegal, even if it is merely theoretical and doesn't hold the weight of true law. If Roe were to be struck down “they could take effect immediately . . . subjecting abortion providers to penalties ranging from 12 months' hard labor in Alabama to 20 years' imprisonment in Rhode Island.”

I had an experience with a broken condom not that long ago and I was thanking every god, goddess and higher power under the stars (and sometimes in them) that I knew what my choices were. Then I asked myself,

What would happen to women if/when those choices are taken away? What would I have had to deal with had Plan B not been available at my local ER? Would I, who has no desire for any more children, have had to carry that hypothetical baby to term because it was a consequence of sex with the intention of procreation being absent? If so, why don't men have that same responsibility inherent to them so they, too, can deal with the same consequences?

If Alito gets confirmed, our future does not look bright at all. In fact, I predict we will quickly fall back into pre-Roe times, forced to seek abortions in rented hotel rooms or pay huge amounts of money to have doctor's perform secret abortions, otherwise called D&C's/D&E's. How about having to convince a panel of doctor’s that you do indeed need an abortion, hoping they don’t see through your lie?

Abortion has been around since, well, forever. It will never go away even if it is once again made illegal. Mortality rates among women could then skyrocket. Complications such as blood poisoning, infertility, infections in uteri, ovaries, etc., could increase thus causing life-long problems for women or result in death.

So I leave you with a link to a brief statement by 3 doctor's who performed abortions both before and after the decision of Roe v. Wade. They are part of a bigger movement called Voices for Choice, doctors who performed abortions before Roe.

And I'll say this for the umpteenth time: Perhaps we should all be focusing on ways to support women in pregnancy so they can afford the cost of care for a child or by supporting a woman's choice to not have any kids with easy access to birth control, therefore making every child a wanted child.

Think about it.