A Government Guide to Reducing Abortion
[If you are easily offended by language, ideas, or reality, please skip this post.]
The Washington Times sets the stage for us:
That strategy [to continue chipping away at the legality of abortion] was reflected in his [the president's] annual phone call yesterday to the March for Life in Washington, which was led by pro-life activist Nellie Gray.
[What follows is my rendition of the quote, not an actual quote.]
"The America of our dreams, where every woman is abused ... in life and oppressed in law, may still be some ways away," he acknowledged from Camp David. "But even from the far side of the river, Nellie, we can see its glimmerings."
[The actual quote:
"The America of our dreams, where every child is welcomed ... in life and protected in law, may still be some ways away," he acknowledged from Camp David. "But even from the far side of the river, Nellie, we can see its glimmerings."]
Until the glimmerings of that blessed day are upon us, let us see what else has been going on the Mall:
The president made it clear that despite the polarizing nature of the abortion debate, he places a premium on politeness.
But of course, pas être, paraître. Who cares if the debate is about stripping women of the ability to have a say in medical decisions that will significantly impact their risk of death? As long as we all mind our manners, magically, women's health won't be affected. The premium should always be [and apparently, as far as Mr. Bush is concerned, it already is] placed on appearance, not reality.
"I want to thank you, especially, for the civil way that you have engaged one of America's most contentious issues," he told the pro-lifers in remarks broadcast on the Mall. "A true culture of life cannot be sustained solely by changing laws. We need, most of all, to change hearts."
Look here, it's not enough to subject women to laws that strip them of the ability to make medical decisions for themselves, increase their risk of death, and treat them like incompetent buffoons. We need, most of all, to insure they accept this subjugation with an open and willing heart, a smile on their face, a twinkle in their eye, and a spring in their step. Also, a heartfelt "thank you!" wouldn't kill them. [The laws might, but come on, when's the last time anyone died from being polite and cheerful?]
That statement was widely interpreted as a reluctance to challenge Roe v. Wade directly, a posture the president first articulated in a 2003 press conference.
"I don't think the culture has changed to the extent that the American people or the Congress would totally ban abortions," he told reporters in the Rose Garden then.
However, it appears that just killing physicians, violence and harassment at abortion clinics, and enacting a federal refusal to treat women law is not enough. Neither is conferring privileged legal status, when it comes to violence, to one group of citizens--pregnant women [well, if you can really consider women citizens; I say let's stick with calling them little darlings, so as not to muddle the demarcation between, you know, actual people and women]--over ordinary, nonpregnant little darlings. [At least we still have them lowliest of creatures, infertile and hysterectomized women, to be attacked and killed at will, since they're clearly worth even less than then normal, nonpregnant ones.] Nor is it enough to forbid pregnant women to obtain a divorce. Some anti-abortion activists yearn for even more control over women:
But pro-life activist Stephen Peroutka, who participated in yesterday's march, said, "That's a tough thing to say to the 4,000 babies who will be aborted tomorrow - that this is not the right time to outlaw abortion.
Indeed, since only embryos and/or fetuses are aborted, finding, not to mention communicating, with imaginary babies could prove to be a tough thing. And, although Mr. Peroutka doesn't consider this matter serious enough to use facts [nor does the reporter bother to check], I say we limit ourselves to making up babies, but draw the line at making up numbers. The actual number of daily abortions is not 4,000, but rather ~2,338.
"When is the right time - when public opinion polls say it's the right time?" he [Peroutka] asked. "Shouldn't he be a leader and make it the right time? Let's stop leading by public-opinion polls."
Mr. Peroutka credited the president with reigniting the debate over abortion, even if he hasn't gone far enough in banning the practice. He called for Mr. Bush to adopt a take-no-prisoners approach to abortion in his second term.
Shades of totalitarianism anyone? Note to Mr. Peroutka: be careful what you wish for, it may come true. Today a Dear Leader's diktat might only oppress insignificant women. However, tomorrow He might decide to ban practices that would affect men.
But White House press secretary Scott McClellan suggested that the president will continue to take a nonconfrontational approach to the abortion issue.
"I think that he's made it very clear that whether we agree or disagree on the issue of abortion, that we can all work together to take practical steps to reduce the number of abortions," the spokesman said yesterday.
So, the President of the United States has made it clear that we are to work together to take practical steps to reduce the number of abortions. I don't know about you, but I for one am trembling with abject gratitude for the government's interest and guidance. [Hey, it's never to early to start ingratiating yourself to people who'll soon have the power of life and death over you. If you're smart and want to survive, may I suggest you follow suit, and start kissing some government popo.]
My opposition to politicians having a say in individuals' medical decisions notwithstanding, let's see how the government proposes to reduce the number of abortions:
According to the White House, those steps include passage of the Child Custody Protection Act and the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act.
The first measure would make it illegal for an adult to transport a minor across state lines to avoid a parental-notification law in the girl's home state.
The second measure would require abortion doctors to inform mothers how painful an abortion will be to an unborn child at least 20 weeks old and to offer anesthesia for the fetus.
So, according to our most benevolent leaders the way to reduce abortion is to: 1) enact some more laws that don't work; and 2) lie to women, and offer to increase their intraop risks. [If some of the anesthesiologists out there could blog a little about the difference between administering anesthesia to a pregnant patient vs. a nonpregnant one, the inherent difficulties and risks, drug delivery to the fetus, and what anesthetizing a fetus during an abortion procedure would entail, that would be most instructive.]
To reduce the number of abortions, instead of misguided politics and dreamy religion, how about some science? Emergency contraception (estimated to prevent 800,000 abortions per year). Education [one based on facts, not wishful (.pdf) thinking]. Increasing the availability of existing birth control methods to American women. Encouraging R&D of new methods.
[Let me make it clear that I do not expect the government to develop new birth control methods. That's the job of the private sector. But, at a minimum, I do expect the government not to obstruct, misrepresent, delay, and interfere with the availability of existing methods, and the development of future ones.]
Finally, just in case the (R) designation next to a politician's name lulls you into a false sense of security, allow me to bring you back to reality:
Mrs. Clinton, in a speech to about 1,000 abortion rights supporters at the state Capitol, firmly restated her support for the Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion nationwide, Roe v. Wade. But then she quickly shifted gears, offering warm words to opponents of abortion - particularly members of religious groups - asserting that there was "common ground" to be found after three decades of emotional and political warfare over abortion.
In addition to her description of abortion as a "tragic choice" for many," Mrs. Clinton said that faith and organized religion were the "primary" reasons that teenagers abstain from sexual relations, and reminded the audience that during the 1990's, she promoted "teen celibacy" as a way to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies.
Politicians, no matter what their party affiliation, should not decide what's medically appropriate for you. You are as capable as any politician [if not more] to make decisions about your health. And only you, as opposed to a stranger, not matter how divinely inspired, or politically skilled he/she might be, will always know best what is in your interest when it comes to your health.