Monday, 19 March 2012
There's some bad news for folks who beat pregnant women in Georgia. He'll get not less than one, and no more than ten years, for committing a criminal abortion, if the pregnancy is "lost." That seems as though it's a positive turning point for women's rights. Sadly, this couldn't be further from the truth.
The Georgia House of Representatives voted 102-65 to enhance definitions of abortion, and when or how one may be carried out. You can read the bill here: http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/display/20112012/HB/954
Now before we start shaking our fists to argue which side of the abortion coin we're on, let's check out how one of the sponsors, Terry England, argued his. Because it's not my intent to discuss Roe v. Wade.
He used language comparing the human experience of pregnancy loss to that of his farm cows and pigs. He told a poignant story of a "salt of the earth" man who said, "You tell those folks down there when they quit killing babies, they can have every chicken I've got."
The language of the bill says that the dividing point is 20 weeks. At 20 weeks, any termination must be conducted in a manner which would give the fetus a chance to live. If it lived, medical aid must be rendered. It's actually 24 weeks that fetuses (babies) have a chance of viability, though the odds are low. Any premature baby surviving any birth that early would likely have lifelong problems, but I digress. If labor was electively induced at 20 weeks for whatever reason, how would the birth be handled? If the situation was due to a dangerous health problem for mother or child, or the baby had some diagnosis, is it really compassionate to stage a scene of emergent medical care to save an infant who has no chance of survival? No chance, twice over.
Why would anyone choose to torture a grieving mother who has been told her baby (fetus) has a diagnosis of some sort that is incompatible with life? Because this happens, every day. For unknown reasons, a pregnancy may end, but those mothers seem to get a pass. Except their medical records must be made available to the district attorney. As though Georgian women who make pregnancy related medical choices are presumed guilty?
Then this part gets me: "...Terminate that pregnancy unless...termination of pregnancy in that manner would pose...greater risk. No greater risk shall be deemed to exist if it is based on a diagnosis or claim of a mental or emotional condition of the pregnant woman or that the pregnant woman will...engage in conduct which she intends to result in her death or in substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function."
Oh, my! I thought that calling women "hysterical" (controlled by the uterus) went out decades ago. Don't think that no woman is not emotional after a sexual assault. Or after finding out her baby died in-utero. Or learning that her baby will more than likely not even survive pregnancy. Some moms will never have the experience of taking home a baby, losing the uterus along with the fetus. Don't they deserve some respect and sensitivity?
Punishing women who want, or need, for whatever reasons, to exercise their right to choose is really what that last part is about. But why am I surprised? A man stood up, and seriously argued his bill by comparing women to cows, pigs, and chickens. No words of compassion or kindness. No sensitivity or gentility. No apparent life experience losing a pregnancy at any stage, for any reason. None for mentally ill women who accidentally became pregnant, and fear passing along the illness. None for premature babies who should be loved and held and photographed by their parents as they gently pass away, not tortured by medical intervention after induction.
And most sadly, 101 of Terry England's pals thought nothing wrong with comparing women to dumb animals, and babies to chickens. Who would stand by and watch a pregnant woman attempt suicide, and charge her with criminal abortion if she survived and the pregnancy did not. That is the choice in this matter that is offensive to me- what about you?