Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Gay Marriage and Abortion

Responding to this WaPo article, Virginia Postrel makes the case that gay marriage is not the "new abortion". I'm surprised that such a comparison would even be entertained. Spontaneous abortions (miscarriages) are body processes; induced abortions are medical procedures. Marriages--gay, straight, or in-between--are societal constructs. Congress, the courts, state legislatures, and referendums are supposed to have a say in, and regulate these societal matters. They're not supposed to, and shouldn't play an equal [or, ideally, any] role in medical decisions. [Although, it'll be interesting, in a Kafkaesque sort of way, to see how Congress regulates spontaneous ab's.]

This surprised me: People support abortion rights out of fear. Fear of what? In any case, this sounds akin to, and I'm paraphrasing: Providing EC to low-income women is the right thing to do because other women already have access to it. Subjective criteria like fear, and noble intentions shouldn't play any role in influencing medical care. Proper care should be the only determining factor. And the more social, moral, religious, and political [oops, almost said mystical] meanings we keep attaching to body functions and medical procedures like abortion, the greater the disservice to our health.

And just because I'm that type of person [one who believes the more you know the better off you are], here's a quick lesson for you:

Abortion* = the termination of pregnancy by any means before the fetus is sufficiently developed to survive.

Spontaneous Abortion (Miscarriage) = an abortion that occurs without medical or mechanical means to empty the uterus; the four types of spontaneous abortion are: threatened, inevitable, incomplete, and missed.

Induced Abortion = the medical or surgical termination of pregnancy before the time of fetal viability; therapeutic and elective abortions fall into this category.

Marriage = the legal union of a man and woman as husband and wife/the state of being married; wedlock/a common-law marriage/a union between two persons having the customary but usually not the legal force of marriage: a same-sex marriage.

*all medical definitions are from Williams Obstetrics 21st ed.


At 9:39 PM, Blogger Amanda Marcotte said...

I have a question for you--I stated that selective reductions are *not* abortions, since you are pregnant before and after the procedure. Was I mistaken? Alot of people are calling selective reduction abortion and I want to make sure before I correct them.

At 5:14 AM, Blogger ema said...

Although apples and oranges, generally speaking, you are correct. An abortion empties the uterus and terminates a pregnancy. (For example, if you have triplets and one fetus is genetically abnormal, you either abort all three--the pregnancy--or you do a selective reduction, or you continue the pregnancy.) The definition of selective reduction: an early [multifetal] pregnancy intervention done to enhance survivability of the co-fetuses.


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