Sunday, February 20, 2011

Blogging for Choice...Belatedly

I totally missed the boat on Blogging for Choice Day, which took place last month (?). But, it's been a bad news week for the topic, so I was inspired to do it...belatedly. First, South Dakota may make it legal to kill abortion providers. According to this article, the proposed law would "expand the definition of "justifiable homicide" to include killings that are intended to prevent harm to a fetus—a move that could make it legal to kill doctors who perform abortions." But what bothered me more was information about just how hard it is to get an abortion in South Dakota right now:

Since 1994, there have been no [abortion] providers in the state. Planned Parenthood flies a doctor in from out-of-state once a week to see patients at a Sioux Falls clinic. Women from the more remote parts of the large, rural state drive up to six hours to reach this lone clinic. And under state law women are then required to receive counseling and wait 24 hours before undergoing the procedure.

Before performing an abortion, a South Dakota doctor must offer the woman the opportunity to view a sonogram. And under a law passed in 2005, doctors are required to read a script meant to discourage women from proceeding with the abortion: "The abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being." Until recently, doctors also had to tell a woman seeking an abortion that she had "an existing relationship with that unborn human being" that was protected under the Constitution and state law and that abortion poses a "known medical risk" and "increased risk of suicide ideation and suicide." In August 2009, a US District Court Judge threw out those portions of the script, finding them "untruthful and misleading." The state has appealed the decision.

So abortion is legal, but so inaccessible that it might be impossible for some. I hadn't realized that could be the case, so I found the report very disturbing.

Speaking of Planned Parenthood, the House of Representatives wants to block their federal aid. It will probably fail in the Senate, so "thanks" for wasting everyone's time. This bill is absurd to me, because Planned Parenthood doesn't just provide abortions (which, as we've noted, are not illegal). They provide birth control, STD/HIV testing, and perhaps most importantly, information. While I may be indifferent about sex, I am NOT indifferent about reproductive rights and sex education. If that education is withheld, people won't suddenly become celibate, which seems to be a common misconception held by Republican politicians. While I'm asexual, I feel like I understand the nature of sexuality better than these presumably sexual politicians do. People will still have sex, they'll always have sex. Without good information, they'll just be less likely to make safe choices.

6 comments:

JA Prufrock said...

Wow, when I first read about this I thought pro-choicers were perhaps taking the slippery-slope interpretation of the law when they concluded that it would make it legal to murder clinicians. I thought the law's intent was more to make it explicitly justifiable to kill out of self-defence (although if a pregnant person is being attacked in such a way as to induce miscarriage, she's being attacked in such a way that could lead to her death as well and so she should already be covered under existing self-defence laws. But apparently the woman doesn't really matter here).

But that this does seem to deliberately include those doctors they fly in just makes it all the more clear to me that anti-abortionists don't really see women as whole, separate, living, unique human beings.

Anonymous said...

What's scary is that in a lot of those backwater places, some girls become pregnant as a result of forced incest by their older male relatives. It seems to me a case of punish-the-victim in that case.

-SarahT.

JA Prufrock said...

An update - it looks like the bill has been postponed indefinitely:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/17/us/17dakota.html?_r=3&ref=politics

Ily said...

@JA: Thanks for the updated link, I missed that! Good to know.

@Sarah: I don't think that incest is confined to rural areas. It could really happen anywhere, to anyone. The problem is, in rural areas there may be fewer resources available to deal with such issues.

Ily said...

Sorry, my comment to Sarah was really poorly worded. Obviously the abuse is the problem. Lack of help is a compounding issue, though.

Lanafactrix said...

As you can probably imagine, this bill made me all *LANAFACTRIXSMASH* I can see how people can be opposed to abortion, but I can't see how anti-choicers can be so utterly void of empathy.