Why It’s Important to Keep Abortion Safe … and Legal

    By mplo | 21 July 2017
    Daily Kos

    In fact, even as Roe remains the law of the land, women are in jail for attempting self-induced abortions. (Photo: Lauryn Gutierrez / Rewire)

    Okay, folks…here I am, with a different kind of a diary, to date, on a very important subject; Abortion rights, and why it’s important that they be kept intact, safe and legal.

    I remember when abortion was illegal, in most states, including the Bay State. Too many unwanted, unplanned and unexpected pregnancies were cropping up, girls and women who didn’t wish to carry unwanted pregnancies to term were compelled to either go to neighboring states where abortion was legal and safe, or to go to abortion mills that were run by back-alley butchers who, all too often, took full advantage of a woman or girl facing an unwanted pregnancy, and performed illegal and unsafe abortions. These back alley-butchers were generally untrained in the procedure, used unsafe, unsanitary tools to perform the procedure in a rather butcher-like way, and the procedure was performed in unsafe and unsanitary facilities, to boot. These abortion mills, where illegal and unsafe abortions were performed, operated underground, with no accountability, and made up whatever laws that they wanted.

    Horribly (and often) enough, the results were often quite disastrous. Many girls and women, who were desperate and determined not to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, went to these illegal abortion mills, and often enough, developed horrible infections, from which they either died, or were severely and permanently incapacitated, rendering them incapable of bearing wanted children in the future. The back-alley butchers who performed such unsafe, albeit illegal abortions profitted in more ways than one, due to causing much suffering of girls and women in this kind of desperate situations.

    Thankfully, however, back in the early 1970’s, when Roe v. Wade was implemented nation-wide, girls and women facing unwanted pregnancies could obtain safe, legal and relatively low-cost, government-subsidized abortions that were performed with safe and sanitary tools, by technicians who are/were properly trained in the procedure(s), in safe, legal and sanitary clinics.

    All of the above-mentioned things underscore why keeping abortion safe and legal is important. Equally important to mention, however, are the often-dire consequences of being forced into carrying unwanted pregnancies to term; many girls and women who end up carrying unwanted pregnancies to term end up crippling their chances to lead a normal, productive and happy life. All too often, a teenaged girl, for example, who ends up carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term is condemned to a life of welfare dependency, little or no opportunity for an education or for developing any kinds of skills to make a living, and, in the event that a girl or a woman in that particular situation does get any kind of work, it’s generally a more menial, dead-end, and extremely low-paying job, as well.

    Moreover, the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the destruction and defunding of Planned Parenthood would result in the re-emergence of underground abortion mills, where untrained and unscrupulous back-alley butchers performed illegal, unsafe and unsanitary abortions, with unsafe and unsanitary tools, and performed in unsafe, and unsanitary facilities, to boot. Back before Roe v. Wade came into being, many girls and women died from botched abortions as well as severe infections, as well.

    More people would be forced onto the welfare rolls, the crime rate would make a new surge upwards, and there’d be far more resentment and hostility directed towards people on Food Stamps, welfare and/or other forms of government, as well.

    Unwanted pregnancies and births, whether they’re out of wedlock, or even those that result in intact families, also place undue financial and emotional hardships on people, especially those on the lower socioeconomic spectrum. A girl or a woman’s physical and/or mental health could or would be put in danger as well. This is especially true of a pregnant teenage girl, since teenaged mothers are not completely developed and matured, either physically or emotionally, thus increasing the chances of a baby being born pre-maturely, or with severe developmental and other problems.

    A teenage girl who becomes pregnant, carries through with the pregnancy and gives birth to the baby all too often cripples her chances of getting any kind of education, since most of them fail to finish school, due to lack of interest, and/or having to care for her baby full-time, and, all too often, a life where there’s an on-and-off welfare cycle. Now…I’m not saying that a welfare system shouldn’t exist, because having a welfare system is extremely important in a democratic society. Without a welfare system, a country ends up being a very third-world country. (I remember being in India during the summer of 1961, and seeing people out in the street, who were left totally on their own, due to that country’s not having a welfare system to give poor people assistance, and unfortunately, that’s still how it is, today.) Does anybody really and truly want the United States to become like that? Nobody in their right mind, or with even a modicum of common decency, or a sense of ethics would, imo. The people who say that a girl or a woman who ends up with an unwanted pregnancy can always get various grants through our government are totally wrong. That idea, imho, is pure malarkey, and not true, at all.

    Abolish Abortion Florida, an evangelical Christian group, is calling for a ballot measure in 2018 that would treat all abortion providers and receivers as complicit in first degree murder, making them eligible for the death penalty.

    Unwanted pregnancies can be especially hazardous for girls or women who are already in poor physical and/or mental health to begin with. A diabetic woman or girl, for example, falls into this particular category, as does somebody with a seizure disorder, or a serious mental illness.

    More domestic violence, delinquency and crime would develop, as many girls and women facing unwanted pregnancies are unable and/or unwilling to care for them.

    The anti-choice people, who are often quite determined in their quest to end the availability of safe, legal abortions that are performed in safe and sanitary facilities, with technicians who are trained in the procedure and use safe, sanitary and proper tools, are single-minded, angry, and determined to make themselves seen and heard. Assaults on reproductive rights clinics and their workers, as well as doctors who perform abortions have been quite rife, and deadly, and they started in the mid to late 1970’s, when the Helms-Hyde Amendment, which was the first attack on the Roe v. Wade ruling, came into being. Doctors and clinical workers, in various states, including Florida, New York and even Massachusetts, have been shot and killed. Anti-choice people, such as those from Operation Rescue, an anti-choice group founded by an anti-choice person named Terry Cotter, have not only killed and injured doctors and clinical workers, but they’ve also sprayed toxic chemicals into reproductive rights clinics that perform abortions. (Do the killing of Dr. Slepian in upstate New York, the killing of clinical workers at a Reproductive rights clinic in Brookline, MA, or down in Pensacola, Florida ring a bell for anybody?) Yet, at the same time, along with very Conservative and right-wing politicians and lawmakers, the Catholic Church, as well as many Evangelists, and even some Orthodox and Ultra-Orthodox Jews, who are virulently anti-choice, have also contributed heavily to creating the kind of atmosphere that makes it possible for such terrorist attacks on reproductive rights clinics, their doctors and nurses, and the clinical workers to take place.

    Even before Operation Rescue was founded, however, there was a case here in Somerville, MA, back in late 1980, when Ronald Reagan had just been elected, by a landslide, to his first term as President of the United States. The newly pregnant 13-year-old daughter of a Viet Nam veteran was slated to obtain a legal abortion at a local clinic. Her father came down to the clinic, beat his 13-year-old daughter, and went on a rampage, not only trashing the clinic, but throwing chairs and whatever at clinical workers and patients. The 13-year-old daughter was forced to carry through with her pregnancy by her overbearing and abusive father. Although Operation Rescue had not yet come into existence at the time of this horrific incident, I believe that this particular incident was probably a turning point in the anti-choice movement, leading up to much worse incidents at various reproductive rights clinics throughout the United States, and helped lead up to Operation Rescue, as well.

    What the anti-choice movement has also resulted in are not only the closings of many reproductive rights clinics throughout the United States, but many doctors and nurses have been more reluctant to perform abortions, due to fearing for their lives. The defunding and destruction of Planned Parenthood could and would also set an extremely dangerous precedent, which is why Planned Parenthood must be kept intact.

    The protection of women’s reproductive rights, including safe, legal abortions must continue, since they’re in even more danger under Donald Trump’s Administration.

    Without these rights, this society could slip back into the dark ages, where unwanted pregnancies were a common occurrences (i. e. during the 1950’s and before), very large families were common as a result, and so were illegal abortions and shot-gun weddings. It’s especially important that vigilance be maintained, especially under Donald Trump’s Administration, so that such things don’t recur.

    Many of the anti-choice people claim that ending an unwanted pregnancy through abortion is selfish and a crime. I’m strongly of the opinion, however that it’s a far bigger crime against humanity, and far more selfish, and sacrosanct, to bring unwanted children into our society, and into the world, at large.

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    1 COMMENT

    1. I fully support the Pro-Choice position espoused in this article, and I do so as an active Roman Catholic.

      However, I do not think that articles like this one have much hope of dissuading any one who is Pro-Life from their position, because they do not address or even acknowledge the central concerns of most people who are Pro-Life. Most people who are Pro-Life are taught to believe that Abortion (regardless of when in pregnancy it occurs) is the Murder of a Human Being or Person no different from you or I in any way hat matters.

      I am Pro-Choice because I have examined this claim and find it to be ridiculous. It is obvious to me that the Zygote/Embryo/Fetus only gradually develops into a Person over the course of gestation. This is the obvious reality reflected in our Law, that places increasing legal restriction on Abortion as Pregnancy progresses.

      Please understand that I do not dismiss arguments related to the bodily autonomy of the pregnant woman. I think that they are of central importance and to ignore them is to reduce a pregnant woman to the status of an incubator, a baby-generating appliance. But I believe that where Abortion is concerned, the bodily autonomy of the pregnant woman must be considered in conjunction with the increasing Personhood, or probability of Personhood, of the Fetus. I think that we have it about right in the USA when we set an upper bound on purely elective Abortion at 24 weeks, and past that time Abortion is variously restricted, allowed in cases of fetal defect or medical risk to the pregnant woman (who is *definitely* a Person, as opposed to the merely increasingly likely personhood of the Fetus).

      Writing solely about the economic hardships of forced gestation will not be very persuasive to the other side of this issue. OTOH, if we point out the hypocrisy of such stances as proclaiming Personhood at Conception while not even caring that over half of conceived embryo's fail to implant and are discarded (likely while still alive) as menstrual waste, then we offer rebuttal to the actual reasons why Pro-Life people believe as they do.

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