18 April 2007

rant ii: the government versus a woman's body

the supreme court released its decision re: partial birth abortion today. i wish i could provide a direct link to the court document, but it's a rather large pdf file, and i have nowhere on the web to store it myself. so if you're interested in the nitty gritty of what i'm about to say, you may want to go read that document first. now has a link to it in their news section, as do several other news pages and organizations.

if you've been reading my blog, you know by now that i consider myself a feminist. i tend to agree with liberal politics, primarily because i'm an academic at heart and i'm always questioning everything. (my favorite question growing up: why?) i believe that conventions are made to be questioned and analyzed, not reflexively followed. i also am an exceptionally sensitive person, one who holds life dearly enough that she's been known to run into traffic to save a turtle about to meet its demise by attempting to cross the street. i cried when someone killed the wasps outside my house recently, even though i was afraid of them (i don't like pain and therefore avoid critters that sting/bite/want to eat me). basically, i'm a big mush--my heart is always on my sleeve and, no matter how hard i try, i cannot conceal this fact.

that having been said, i struggle with the issue of abortion. i feel that life is sacred. i've always been fascinated by childbirth and i know i'll likely end up focusing my career on women's health. *and* i have a strong respect for women's bodies and their choices about what happens to their bodies. so although i don't think i could ever have an abortion myself (<--i'm a little biased because i have fertility problems and it would be pretty darn hard for me to get pregnant without medical intervention), i think every woman has a right to choose. i also acknowledge the fact that, given my interest in women's health care, i may be trained and/or asked to perform this procedure. this fact scares me, but i acknowledge the reality, nonetheless. i cannot imagine the suffering that an unwanted child must endure throughout his or her life. i also don't think any woman should be forced into poverty or put her life in jeopardy for a fetus. it's my opinion, plain and simple.

when i first heard about partial birth abortion, i was incredibly disgusted. the description of the procedure seemed absolutely horrific to me and i couldn't understand why anyone would ever want to have that kind of an abortion. then i read the supreme court ruling.

if i'm understanding it correctly, a partial birth abortion involves delivering the fetus to a certain point and then killing it. in contrast, other types of late-term abortion involve dis-membering the fetus in utero and then delivering it. knowing what i know about science (remember, i just studied embryology and neuroanatomy, among other things), if i had to choose between someone whacking me on the head to kill me versus tearing me to shreds, i'd choose to be whacked. it's not even in the realm of being contestable--one act causes immediate death, the other is pure torture. but what did the courts just do? they just prevented physicians from performing the "humane" form of abortion while permitting them to torture fetuses via the alternate method. they say they're trying to preserve the sanctity of life--how on earth does this decision uphold that sanctity? seriously! can anyone follow the logic here? or did they simply make the decision so ambiguous as to prevent providers from performing any late-term abortions? hmm....

i really don't understand how the same government that has allowed us to invade other countries where we are killing innocent children and that allows our children to access guns so that they can kill each other can take a stand against killing a fetus that cannot survive outside of its mother. i also don't understand how our government can refuse to allow sex education to be taught in schools. if they don't want women to have abortions, then why aren't they teaching pregnancy prevention? if they're professing abstinence as a "cure" to prevent pregnancy, then why is the government (in some states) requiring young girls to be vaccinated against sti's? if they truly believed in their abstinence programs, there would be no need for the vaccinations. oh, wait--that's right--boys can have all the sex they want and spread around the sti's while girls have to remain abstinent until marriage wherein they get exposed to sti's because the guys were sleeping around--that's why we're mandating the vaccines, right?

i swear, if it weren't for the right to free speech, i think i'd be on the next plane out of this country. until the government takes away my right to rant, though, they'll just have to deal with me screaming from my blogspot.


Librocrat said...

Unfortunately, that's not even the biggest issue. The biggest issue is that there is no such thing as a "Partial Birth Abortion." It's not a thing. It's a term made up to refer (vaguely) to a type of abortion that, when described in the right terms, sounds inhumane. But because it is not a medical term, "Partial Birth Abortion" may someday also refer to other types of abortion, also described in the right terms.

Secondly, according to some research institute that begins with a "G" (it's German, or something) there were only 2,200 performed "Partial Birth Abortions" out of 1.6 million abortions last year. That's a whopping .1%. Quite the victory for the NeoConservatives.

student dr. blaze said...

Good points. I hadn't thought about the fact that there's probably not a CPT code for this supposed "procedure," but then, given that the government regulates CPT codes, I shouldn't be surprised. Also, if it's a "wastebasket" procedure (meaning it is ill-defined and can encompass more than one thing), then I think it's safe to assume that it would be very difficult to get any reliable data on it whatsoever. We've gone from fuzzy math to fuzzy medicine....

a little disclaimer...

i'm a medical student. just a student. so please, don't take anything i say too seriously. remember that i was an english literature major as an undergrad, so there is much fiction to be found in these pages. do you think i'm telling a story about you or your illness? more likely, you're tapping into my sense of "everyman"--that is, your story resonates with what i write here because it's not so uncommon after all. need help? please, please go see your physician. <--i'm not her. yet. ;-)