Saturday, December 8, 2012

An American Woman's Right To Control Her Own Reproductive Status

I've written around and about this subject quite a lot, and would like to consolidate my outlook in one post, one place, unequivocally and with no hedging on any part of the subject. I hope this can be that post. Call it what you will:
  • the freedom to choose to reproduce or not;
  • the right to a safe delivery of a wanted child, economic status notwithstanding,
  • the right to a safe, legal abortion of an undesired pregnancy, for any reason she may decide;
  • the right of a woman to remain pregnant or not;
  • her right to bear a child or not;
  • her right to control her reproductive status...
    • pregnant or not,
    • vulnerable to pregnancy or not,
    independent of the wishes of literally any other person on the face of the Earth, including her spouse or domestic partner.
Reproductive freedom means no less than that: anything less is a form of control. Perhaps we all thought the issue was settled in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), a decision so controversial [/irony] that its wiki has to be locked to prevent vandalism by people unwilling to engage in rational discussion. (I probably qualify as one such person.) Please read the wiki; all in all, the discussion is not too bad, surely because it is locked down.

The main thing to notice is this:
Decided simultaneously with a companion case, Doe v. Bolton, the Court ruled 7-2 that a right to privacy under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment extended to a woman's decision to have an abortion, but that right must be balanced against the state's two legitimate interests in regulating abortions: protecting prenatal life and protecting women's health. Arguing that these state interests became stronger over the course of a pregnancy, the Court resolved this balancing test by tying state regulation of abortion to the trimester of pregnancy.

The Court later rejected Roe's trimester framework, while affirming Roe's central holding that a person has a right to abortion until viability.[1] The Roe decision defined "viable" as being "potentially able to live outside the mother's womb, albeit with artificial aid", adding that viability "is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks."[2]
(Links may or may not work from here. [fixed])

Meanwhile, anti-choice factions have spent a great deal of energy attempting effectively to eliminate the effects of Roe by way of state laws; many of these state laws are now reaching state supreme courts and/or the federal court system... and not surviving the passage.

Here are topics selected from, one of my standard sites about the subject. (Don't expect any anti-abortion posts from
Misleading Poll Used to Support Michigan Super Bill
In a recent press release, the groups states that "85 percent of all respondents, including 76 percent of self-identified Democrat pro-choice women, support the abortion clinic licensing and inspecting policy."

Those are some pretty significant results. So what exactly did their poll ask?
“To maintain the health and safety of the public, the State of Michigan requires facilities, such as nursing homes, surgical centers and tattoo parlors to be licensed. However, Michigan law does not currently require most abortion facilities to be licensed. Without a license, state health officials are not able to inspect abortion facilities. Do you support or oppose legislation that would require all abortion facilities in Michigan to be licensed and inspected in order to protect the health and wellbeing of their patients?”

The posing of the question, with that specific wording, is grossly misleading. First of all, note how the question itself studiously avoids mentioning women at all, referring instead to the "public" and to "patients." The poll was conducted in mid-September during the lull after the national conventions but weeks before widespread coverage of agressive attacks on women's rights and healthcare turned off so many in the country. It therefore attempts to cash in on fabricated talking point of women in imminent danger without actually mentioning them at all.

Asking "do you want to protect people's health and well-being?" couldn't be anymore leading than asking "do you want people to be injured and die?" No doubt in the land of the Catholic Conference, they really do see that as the same question, but for the majority of the public, a portion of whom have likely sought care at these centers with no incidents, the two are not synonymous.
No, they are not. But Catholics fighting an anti-abortion battle feel no obligation to honesty. This is one of many examples of clerical dishonesty in the Catholic priesthood. Priests don't tell the truth if it doesn't suit them to do so.

Then there's this reversal in Oklahoma:
Oklahoma State Supreme Court Rules Two Anti-Choice Bills Unconstitutional

Court decisions are rolling in like waves. Today, the Oklahoma State Supreme Court upheld the ruling of two lower state courts blocking laws that would have effectively banned medication abortion in the state, and forced Oklahoma women seeking abortion to undergo medically unnecessary and intrustive ultrasounds.

Both laws are among the core of a strategy pursued by the anti-choice movement of passing model legislation in numerous states seeking to eliminate access to abortion care at the state level, and ultimately chipping further away at the access to safe abortion care ostensibly protected by Roe v. Wade.

State district court judges previously blocked both laws as violations of the Oklahoma state constitution. In response, the state officials responsible for enforcing those laws appealed to the state’s highest court.

These "model" bills are dangerous. Depending on the path of the appeal through the state and/or federal court system... and I guarantee you there will be one... we could happen upon an elderly white male judge who just doesn't give a damn about abortion rights. One such judge would be a significant setback to a woman's right to choose abortion, though I believe by now the case would eventually come out right. How many women, for how many years, would be denied their fundamental reproductive rights while the battle is fought? That's what the priests are counting on. What a loving group of people they are!

Now here's something a little different... a "reality TV" show featuring the shaming of (or at least the attempt to shame) women who have had abortions:
Anti-Choice Reality TV Show Shames Women Who Don't Feel Guilty About Their Abortion

It's becoming an endless cycle: most of the women speaking out about abortions say they regret having them, so anti-choice activists get to say all women regret them. When women say they had abortions and it was the right decision for them, they get shamed and bullied and talked down in an attempt to silence them. Then, anti-choice activists once more claim that all woman regret abortions because every woman who talks about her abortion says she regrets it.

Now, it's coming to a television near you.
LiveAction announced a new reality tv show that will follow "post-abortive women" who are seeking "healing and self-forgiveness."
Continuing the lie that abortion is no big deal keeps women locked in their emotions, unable to move on and forgive themselves. Telling women to be proud of something that they truly regret, something that deeply wounded them, only perpetuates their pain. Once again, their raw feelings of failure, like those they felt when they sought the abortion, are being brought to the surface.


Post-abortive women do need to talk about their choice. However, they don’t need to be and shouldn’t pretend to be proud of it. What they need is understanding and acceptance, as well as the ability to heal and forgive themselves. “Surrender the Secret” is a step in that direction for America.
One in three women have had an abortion. Millions of women have abortions and do not feel "deeply wounded." But if a woman says that, she is told she should feel ashamed of herself.

No wonder abortion stigma is so rampant.
Y'know, some guys should be lined up against a wall and shot. The people who create these cruel shows should not. No, shooting is much too kind for them.

How's that for not hedging?

There are many more articles at Check it out.

Full disclosure: my first contract as a contract computer programmer was for the predecessor of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. I am very proud of the work I did there.


  1. Thank you for an excellent post.

    1. Thanks, ellroon. There's so much more to say, and the evil guys (face it, most of them are guys) have set out to make sure our work is never done. Thanks for doing your part as well,

  2. Shorter point: MYOB is the most important rule in civilization. If you're not the one who's pregnant, MYOB.

    1. Well-said, BadTux. I've often said that a conservative is someone who has figured out exactly how everyone else should live, and that's certainly the case here. Damn them all!

  3. BTW, I inserted a title I had missed earlier on the article about shaming. Sorry for the omission.



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