5.11.2007

"Women are invisible in this decision as they are invisible in the writings of recent -- and not so recent -- popes." -- Former president of Catholics for a Free Choice Frances Kissling excoriates the all-Catholic Supreme Court majority that decided the recent Gonzales v. Carhart (aka "partial birth" abortion) case. This is the first time in history there are 5 Catholics on the court, and Kissling makes the explicit claim that their religious orthodoxy is what swung the court over to this regressive, misogynistic, anti-choice opinion. God, please save us from your old school, non-evangelical followers too.

3 comments:

Michelle said...

Out of curiousity, what is your opinion on partial birth abortion ?

emily said...

Well, it's performed rarely (only about .25% of all abortions, or 2000/yr) and there are alternative procedures for the doctors to use, so banning the D&X will not (necessarily) prevent these or the other 99.75% of abortions from happening. So the practical impact of the law is minimal. But, any law that prevents doctors from doing the easiest, safest procedure, that protects the patient best, is a mistake, IMO. Making the D&X a criminal act means the doctors must opt for a more prolonged, trickier procedure, which means women are being punished and putting their health on the line for a political ideology. That's wrong. The D&X procedure is used to terminate pregnancies where the fetus is very ill, not developing properly (like without a brain or a heart), and/or will die during or just after birth. In most states, abortions performed in the second trimester are outlawed except in special circumstances like this, where the mother's health is at risk (i.e. it is riskier to continue the pregnancy to delivery than it is to terminate), which is why this procedure is so rarely performed. It's not an "epidemic" nor a "convenience" procedure. In my view, it's for a woman to decide, along with her partner and doctor, what do do in this awful situation, not the federal government. Particularly when the law creates such a dangerous catch-22 (where the end result, termination, will be the same just though a *more* dangerous operation), it's repugnant to play political games with women's lives like this, in my opinion. That's my $0.02 (more like $0.50!)...

erica said...

well put, m.
from the doctor's-eye veiw of this, I find it odd that this is a legal battle at all. There are nearly no other examples of court decisions nor legislation (in contrast to regulation, a function perfomed by the FDA, not the courts nor congress) of limits placed on a physician's therapeutic options. I feel it is sensationalistic of lawmakers to constantly make abortion a public issue, and I worry about the slippery slope of our accepting non-scientific oversight of ANY medical procedure. I object to any governmental intercalation into the doctor-patient relationship.

Particularly in a case like "partial birth abortion" (not a medical term that I had ever learned) where one specific and unusual approach to a given procedure is banned in what amounts only to draw attention to, and limit, elective terminations. It's nuts.

What's next? a laparoscopic cholecystectomy ban? I doubt it. Why? Because it can't be distorted and made to look morally ugly.