Today marks the 34th anniversary of Roe V. Wade, the landmark supreme court case that made abortion procedures legal in the U.S.
"The states are not free, under the guise of protecting maternal health or potential life, to intimidate women into continuing pregnancies." -Justice Harry A. Blackmun, Roe v. Wade, January 22, 1973
I consider myself lucky to have grown up in a world where abortion has always been legal. It is important to remeber that it has not always been this way to to not take for granted that Roe will not be overturned one day. Even though the South Dakota abortion ban failed at the polls this past November, it served as a stark reminder that the fight for women's reproductive rights are far from over. It also brough to the forefront the fact that many women still do not have reasonable access to abortion services. In South Dakota, there are no abortion doctors. There is one clinic where abortions are performed operated by Planned Parenthood and located in Sioux Falls; doctors travel from Minnesota to do the procedure. Think about the logistics of that situation. South Dakota is nearly 76,000 square miles. There is one clinic located in the southwest corner of the state that operates infrequently.
The proposed South Dakota ban was full of language indicating that abortion was bad for women. It also included no exceptions for rape or incest. It made abortion a felony. It defined life as beginning at conception, as opposed to implantation, leaving a back door open to chip away at contraception. In the aftermath, a handful of states passed trigger laws, anti-abortion laws that will take effect should Roe v. Wade ever be overturned.
As bad as the South Dakota ban was, an even scarier law has been proposed recently in Georgia. Bobby Franklin, a republican representative, proposed H.B. 1, a bill that not only takes the South Daktoa ban a step further, but that also makes some questionable claims about the effects of abortion. The proposed Georgia law is not a trigger law, so if it passes, it will be a direct challenge to Roe. Scarier still, is the fact that, unlike South Dakota, Georgia does not allow popular referenda on statutes. This means that if H.B. 1 does pass, voters won't have a chance to overturn it.
Let's take a look at some of the claims the bill makes. It's worth noting that the bill does not cite references for the these claims.
First up is this gem:
A fetus is a person for all purposes under the laws of this state from the moment of conceptionThe bill defines all rights as a human being to begin at conception. That's right, conception, not implantation, not birth, but conception. That spem and that egg met? Full rights under law. This is scary in that it calls into question established forms of birth control. Emergency contraception, the morning after pill, as well as the common birth control pill both use hormones to prevent implantation, effectively preventing pregnacy. I'm sure there are other forms of birth control that use a similar method. As far as this law is concerned, hormonal birth control methods are now all aborificants and are illegal.
[legalized abortion has caused] a dramatic rise in the incidence of child abuse and a dramatic weakening of family ties
Huh? You know, because forcing a young woman to raise a child in poverty is a surefire way to cut back child abuse. Of course not all woman who have abortions are single and/or poor, but I digress. Intuitively, I don't see how allowing a woman to terminate a pregnancy when she is unwilling or unable to raise a child would cause an increase in child abuse. It seems the exact opposite should be true. Do women who have abortions somehow beat the crap out of the children they don't have?
women who have had an abortion require psychological treatment of such symptoms as nervous disorders, sleep disturbances, and deep regrets
This is just plain not true. The majority of women do not suffer from any kind of 'post-abortion syndrome'. Research has proven this again and again. While some woman do suffer from depression following an abortion, this may be due to the societal view that abortion is 'murdering your child'. A scared young woman who already has enough problems with an unplanned pregnancy does not need any added guilt thrown at her by hate spewing protesters. I wonder how much pshcological trauma is caused by these wing nuts standing outside the clinic and yelling obscenities at the women.
women who have had an abortion suffered from diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder
Again, this can't have anything to do with the amount of guilt lobbed at women for having the abortion, can it? Because first you're a dirty whore for having sex in the first place, and then you're a murderer for killing your baby. Also, it is estimated that 15% of women suffer major post-partum depression following a pregnancy.
Abortion results in increased tobacco smoking
Huh? I just can't see the logic in this statement. The only connection I can make is that perhaps increased anxiety causes smokers to smoke more. This is grasping at straws. I'd imagine that the stress induced by the unplanned pregnancy is far greater than the abortion itself.
Abortion is linked to alcohol and drug abuse
Remember kids, correlation is not causation. While it is probably safe to say that many unplanned pregancies are a result of drug and alcohol use, having an abortion does not cause someone to begin abusing drugs and alcohol.
Most couples find abortion to be an event which shatters their relationship, causing chronic marital troubles and divorce
Again, huh? Are there many instances when one person really wanted to have the child but the other didn't? I don't think that this is a very common scenario. I wouldn't say that the abortion 'shattered' the replationship, more likely the relationship was already strained and the unplanned pregnancy was the catalyst for the break up. Again, throw in societal pressures of sex, purity, and abortion into an already rocky relationship and you've got yourself a recipe for a disaster. Because, obviously most women who seek abortions are involved in loving, stable relationship, and what woman wants to bring a child into that kind of environment?!?
Abortion exploits women, treating them and their children as mere property, and abortion is contrary to feminist values, and the great suffragette Susan B. Anthony referred to abortion as 'child murder'
Anti-choicers love to quote Susan B. Anthony, twisting her words to meet their needs. Keep in mind, at the time abortion was a very dangerous and life threatening procedure. Given access to safe abortion procedures, Anthony might have had a different opinion. Also remember that not every feminist shares the exact same opinions. Allowing abortion as an option is not against feminist values. Feminists do not force all pregant women to have an abortion. Feminists understand that abortion is not the right choice for every woman when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. Feminist values allow woman to pick the best option for her particular situation.
Thirty years of abortion on demand have resulted in an increase in breast cancer
This is just plain not true. The American Cancer Society states that 'the scientific evidence does not support a causal association between induced abortion and breast cancer.'
The practice of abortion has caused the citizens of this state an inestimable amount economically including, but not limited to, the costs and tax burden of having to care for individuals and their families for the conditions cited above, as well as a significant reduction of the tax base and of the availability of workers, entrepreneurs, teachers, employees, and employers that would have significantly contributed to the prosperity of this state.
Where does one even begin? This is just a silly statement. How much money would the state have had to pay for healthcare and education of these children? How many of these children would have been born into poverty and the mother forced onto welfare, most likely having to put school or career on hold to raise the child? How much money would be spent then? Would the poverty cycle be repeated with this next generation? Or how many of the children would have grown up and simply moved out of state?