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No country needs to regulate abortion via criminal or civil law. All anti-abortion laws and restrictions, throughout the world, should be repealed as unconstitutional violations of women’s rights and equality.

Anti-abortion laws kill and injure women, violate their human rights and dignity, impede access to abortion, and obstruct healthcare professionals. All abortion restrictions are unjust, harmful, and useless because they rest on traditional religious and patriarchal foundations. Only when abortion has the same legal status as any other health procedure can it be fully integrated into women’s reproductive healthcare.

Laws against abortion do nothing to stop abortion.

Every year, about 19 million desperate women seek out illegal abortions, because the countries they live in have banned safe abortion. 68,000 women die every yearas a result, and at least five million suffer serious injury or permanent disability.

Countries with strict abortion bans (mostly in the developing world) usually allow an exception to save the woman’s life. Ironically, such bans result in  many times more maternal deaths than in countries with more liberal abortion laws. The hypocrisy of laws that pretend to save women’s lives, but which actually slaughter them by the thousands, demands their immediate repeal.

Anti-abortion laws have nothing to do with good healthcare.

Abortion laws around the world vary wildly. While some countries ban abortion totally, others have few or no laws, and many enforce statutes regulating various aspects of the abortion decision and procedure. Such laws are generally not required for any other medical treatment. Examples include mandatory waiting periods, parental consent laws, obligatory counseling, early gestational limits, and other restrictions. Differing legal frameworks also lead to "abortion tourism," forcing women to travel out-of-country to obtain the care they need, and discriminating against women without the resources to travel.

The sheer diversity of legal situations around the world is proof that abortion laws have nothing to do with quality healthcare, and instead are politically-motivated. Abortion laws are unrelated to women’s real medical needs and concerns, and divorced from the best practices of medical professionals. They are simply holdovers from the days of criminal abortion, or recent products of religious ideology.

In practice, many abortion restrictions impede good medical care, such as delaying treatment unnecessarily and providing false information to patients. This increases the medical risks of abortion and causes psychological and physical distress to women. Also, when abortion is illegal or restricted, it blocks or hampers medical research that's needed to improve abortion care and protect women’s health.

Abortion laws are frequently hollow anyway, because it’s assumed they reduce abortion when they don’t. For example, abortions in the third trimester are very rare and done only in dire circumstances, so passing a law that prohibits late abortions except for health reasons is pointless, as well as insulting to women and doctors. The natural limiting factors for third trimester abortions are the very low demand for them, and the miniscule number of doctors willing and trained to do them.

Anti-abortion laws hurt healthcare professionals.

Anti-abortion laws punish healthcare providers and further reduce access to abortion by:

  • marginalizing abortion care and abortion providers outside the mainstream healthcare system
  • shifting the focus away from basic healthcare to legal issues
  • turning abortion into a political target for legislators and extremists
  • disrespecting professional medical judgments made in the patient’s best interests
  • interfering in the confidential doctor/patient relationship
  • threatening health workers with prosecution

The imposition of anti-abortion laws says, in effect, that legislators can make better medical decisions than doctors. No other medical procedure carries with it the threat of criminal punishment — abortion is singled out for special treatment. But physicians should never work under the shadow of prosecution simply for providing medical care.

Anti-abortion laws institutionalize the stigma of abortion. Laws imply that abortion must be restricted because it is wrong and bad, and people who need or perform abortions are also wrong and bad. But no law will change the fact that a woman desperately needs an abortion, and a doctor wants to help her. As a result, abortion restrictions foster hypocrisy and disrespect for the law because they often force providers to interpret laws loosely, skirt them, or even disobey them.

Anti-abortion laws violate women’s equality.

Women are different than men because of their capacity to bear children. Child-bearing has a much more profound effect on women's lives, than for men. To truly achieve equality with men, women must not be disadvantaged under the law because of pregnancy. There should be no laws regulating pregnancy in any way, because that puts a special obligation on women that is not placed on men. For example, a law that requires women to pay for abortions, but not childbirth costs, is discriminatory.

It’s the uniquely important role of courts to uphold peoples’ constitutional rights by striking down laws that infringe on those rights. Since any restriction on abortion unacceptably limits women’s rights, abortion restrictions can (theoretically) be struck down in a constitutional democracy that protects women’s equality. Likewise, abortion rights should never be subject to a vote by the electorate, and anti-choice laws should never be enacted based on public referendums. That's because we cannot trust citizens to fairly protect the constitutional rights of minorities and disadvantaged groups. In the case of abortion, social opinions are often rooted in stereotypical assumptions about women’s "proper" role as child-bearers, and in religious beliefs about the value of fetal life, at the expense of pregnant women’s lives.

Canada is the only democratic country in the world that has no abortion law or restrictions of any kind, and it has proven that such laws are completely unnecessary. [link goes to expanded version of this diary describing Canada's experience] Current abortion care reflects what most Canadians are comfortable with, and women and doctors act in a timely and responsible manner, without regulations. Women’s equality is guaranteed under Canada’s constitution, and it's considered unlikely that any anti-abortion law would withstand a constitutional challenge in Canada today. The courts there have consistently protected women’s right to abortion since 1988, when the old abortion law was struck down by Canada's Supreme Court as violating women’s constitutional rights to "life, liberty, and security of the person," and "freedom of conscience."

Even in national constitutions lacking an explicit guarantee of equality for women, there are usually other clauses that will support the repeal of abortion laws. For example, the 14th Amendment in the American constitution says no state can "deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." This clause, and similar clauses in other national constitutions, should require the repeal of abortion laws because they unfairly apply only to women.

Anti-abortion laws hurt and devalue women.

Besides violating women’s equality rights, anti-abortion laws also hurt women by:

  • affecting disadvantaged women the most, such as the poor, young, immigrant, and uneducated
  • turning women into criminals, or state-controlled baby-making machines
  • fostering prejudice against women who need one
  • rejecting women's moral reasoning
  • distrusting women to make their own decisions about their lives
  • protecting fetuses instead of pregnant women
  • punishing women for having sex for pleasure
  • punishing women for "shirking" motherhood

Abortion restrictions are meant to reduce the incidence of abortion, but instead, they put cruel obstacles in front of a woman. The just and sensible way to reduce abortion is to make contraception universally accessible, teach responsible sex education, and give people positive incentives to raise kids, such as financial bonuses and family support programs.

The state has no legitimate interest in protecting the fetus at any stage, except to provide social and medical resources to pregnant women to ensure good outcomes for their pregnancies. And a good outcome can be an abortion. Pregnant women are in the best position to take care of their fetuses, so we should trust women to make decisions on behalf of their fetuses, not the state.

Anti-abortion laws are rooted in patriarchy and religious tradition.

The following patriarchal myths are the root cause of all abortion restrictions, and form the basis of the anti-abortion viewpoint. The main anti-abortion goal is not to "save babies," it's to keep women in their traditional roles.

  • Motherhood is a woman’s highest calling.
  • All women should be (and want to be) mothers.
  • Women should endure the discomfort and pain of pregnancy and childbirth as their natural duty.
  • Women should sacrifice themselves to raise kids.
  • Women who have abortions are "bad" or "victims."
  • Women who have abortions suffer psychologically (at least they should).
  • Women are irresponsible or too emotional, and need direction and guidance.
  • To "protect" women, we must restrict abortion.

Laws against abortion also rely on tradition, for example:

  • Pro-natalism — societies have a preference for birth over abortion.
  • The right to have babies is unquestioned and unrestricted, but abortion is frowned upon.
  • Children are treated like possessions of parents, instead of individuals with rights.
  • The Church, God, and Bible are anti-abortion.

This traditional thinking no longer works for our modern society with its focus on human rights. Why should we favour birth over abortion when we live in an overpopulated world; when society will never reach agreement on the moral status of the fetus; when we know that unwilling mothers and unwanted children tend to suffer; and when becoming a parent should be the private decision of the woman and her family? Many people may not be ready or able to provide properly for a child. But children have rights, and they deserve respect, love, and the best chance at a good life. Of course, the right to have a child is fundamental and should not be restricted, but abortion is also a fundamental right on an equal basis.

Churches and religious doctrines should never dictate how we live our lives in a secular society with secular laws. Besides, the Bible is pro-choice. Several passages say it is better to die in the womb than live an unhappy or wicked life.

Ideas for repealing anti-abortion laws.

Here’s some suggested solutions to get rid of harmful anti-abortion restrictions:

  • Guarantee women’s equality in countries’ constitutions.
  • Collect evidence of laws’ harms, find plaintiffs, and challenge laws in court.
  • Lobby government against abortion restrictions (meet with legislators, submit briefs).
  • Educate media, government, health professionals, and public about the harm and futility of abortion restrictions.
  • Challenge the religious basis of anti-abortion laws, and keep church and state separate.
  • Change the rhetoric: Abortion is not a "necessary evil." Abortion is a moral and positive choice that liberates women, saves lives, and protects families.
  • Empower women in society by changing public policies.
  • Change patriarchal attitudes about women and motherhood through advocacy and education.
  • Prioritize childcare and child-rearing as a universal concern, not a "woman’s issue."

Some of these proposed solutions are obviously very difficult and would take many years. But one has to start somewhere. Because no country needs laws against abortion. We can trust women to exercise their sensible moral judgment; we can trust doctors to exercise their professional medical judgment, and that’s all we need to regulate the process.

Originally posted to choice joyce on Wed Jun 06, 2007 at 03:24 PM PDT.

Poll

Do you think abortion needs legal restrictions?

61%67 votes
1%2 votes
16%18 votes
0%1 votes
7%8 votes
3%4 votes
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| 109 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  keeping our eye on the prize... (29+ / 0-)

    I realize the prospect of trying to repeal the staggering number of anti-abortion restrictions in the U.S. might seem rather overwhelming, if not politically and practically impossible in today's environment!  

    But without a basic understanding of the harm and injustice of anti-abortion laws, and the tired old traditions they spring from, how can we bring about a truly just society?  Most pro-choice politicians, and even many pro-choice groups and activists, are too willing to accept compromises that don’t fully respect women’s autonomy, while pretending to.  But we should always keep our eye on the prize. True justice demands nothing less than full equality for women, sexual and reproductive freedom for all, and the repeal of all abortion laws and restrictions.

  •  Hallelujah! Amen! (11+ / 0-)

    You are a wonderful antidote to the mealy-mouthed and inane pronouncements that our political leaders are forced into making, with your straight-talkin', out-front comin' right out and tellin' it like it is!

    I am in complete agreement with every word you wrote.

    A suitable companion piece to this diary is my diary Abortion Rights 101:Abortion rights good; restrictions bad ! Get over the nonsense to the contrary !

    No matter how fervently you believe that you know what you merely believe, you merely believe it, and you might be wrong - very wrong.

    by Beket on Wed Jun 06, 2007 at 03:57:18 PM PDT

  •  So (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ArkDem14, marykk

    abortion anywhere, anytime?

    I do not know if I can agree with that.

  •  Thank you, Joyce... (8+ / 0-)

    .....for writing this wonderful diary/resource.

    Anti-abortion laws are rooted in patriarchy and religious tradition.

    That's the crux of the matter, I think..........women must be kept barefoot and pregnant lest they begin to "usurp authority" over men. Thus says religion.

    Women need to be empowered to leave the patriarchal churches, which would wither and die without the work and support of the very women these churches oppress.

    "They Call Him "W" So He Can Spell It"

    by Ekaterin on Wed Jun 06, 2007 at 04:00:11 PM PDT

  •  A veritable tour de force (9+ / 0-)

    Kudos, Joyce, for a wonderful and meticulously reasoned diary!

    On the topic of getting rid of the anti-abortion laws in the US...wouldn't a federal law that protects women's right to control their own bodies have the effect of invalidating the various states' anti-women laws? This seems entirely doable, given the right Congress/President. (Am I just deluded/misinformed?)

    •  "Positive" law is a good idea (10+ / 0-)

      Thanks so much 'Just the facts' - and thanks for bringing up an excellent point.

      I'm not a lawyer, but yes, a federal law or constitutional amendment specifically establishing abortion as an inalienable right for women should immediately invalidate all anti-abortion laws.

      Since the anti-choice have been working for decades on passing a constitutional amendment to declare fetuses as persons, why aren't we promoting our own version? I don't think I've ever heard this discussed by the pro-choice side. Why not? I'd be interested in people's thoughts on this.

      •  Legislation has been introduced (10+ / 0-)

        to guarantee abortion rights: the Freedom of Choice Act

        A BILL
        To prohibit, consistent with Roe v. Wade, the interference by the government with a woman's right to choose to bear a child or terminate a pregnancy, and for other purposes.

        Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

        SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

        This Act may be cited as the `Freedom of Choice Act'.

        SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

        Congress finds the following:

        (1) The United States was founded on the principles of individual liberty, personal privacy, and equality. Such principles ensure that each individual is free to make the most intimate decisions free from governmental interference and discrimination.

        (2) A woman's decision to commence, prevent, continue, or terminate a pregnancy is one of the most intimate decisions an individual ever faces. As such, reproductive health decisions are best made by the woman, in consultation with her medical provider or loved ones, without governmental interference.

        (3) In 1965, in Griswold v. Connecticut (381 U.S. 479), and in 1973, in Roe v. Wade (410 U.S. 113) and Doe v. Bolton (410 U.S. 179), the Supreme Court recognized the right to privacy protected by the Constitution and that such right encompassed the right of every woman to weigh the personal, moral, and religious considerations involved in deciding whether to commence, prevent, continue, or terminate a pregnancy.

        (4) The Roe v. Wade decision carefully balanced the rights of women to make important reproductive decisions with the state's interest in potential life. Under Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, a woman's right to choose to terminate her pregnancy is absolute only prior to fetal viability, with the state permitted to ban abortion after fetal viability except when necessary to protect the life or health of a woman.

        (5) These decisions have protected the health and lives of women in the United States. Prior to the Roe v. Wade decision, an estimated 1,200,000 women each year were forced to resort to illegal abortions, despite the known hazards that included unsanitary conditions, incompetent treatment, infection, hemorrhage, disfiguration, and death.

        (6) According to one estimate, prior to 1973, as many as 5,000 women died each year in the United States as a result of having an illegal abortion.

        (7) In countries where abortion remains illegal, the risk of complications and maternal mortality is high. According to the World Health Organization, of the approximately 600,000 pregnancy-related deaths occurring annually around the world, 80,000 are associated with unsafe abortions.

        (8) The Roe v. Wade decision expanded the opportunities for women to participate equally in society. In 1992, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (505 U.S. 833), the Supreme Court observed that, `[t]he ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.'.

        (9) Even though the Roe v. Wade decision guaranteed a constitutional right to choose whether to terminate or continue a pregnancy, threats to that right remain, including possible reversal or further erosion by the Supreme Court of the right, and legislative and administrative policies at all levels of government that make abortion more difficult and dangerous to obtain.

        (10) 87 percent of the counties in the United States have no abortion provider.

        (11) Legal barriers to the full range of reproductive services endanger the health and lives of women.

        (12) Women should have meaningful access to reproductive health services to prevent unintended pregnancies, thereby reducing the need for abortions.

        (13) To ensure that a woman's right to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy is available to all women in the United States, Federal protection for that right is necessary.

        (14) Although Congress may not create constitutional rights without amending the Constitution, Congress may, where authorized by its enumerated powers and not prohibited by the Constitution, enact legislation to create and secure statutory rights in areas of legitimate national concern.

        (15) Congress has the affirmative power under section 8 of article I of the Constitution and section 5 of the 14th amendment to the Constitution to enact legislation to facilitate interstate commerce and to prevent State interference with interstate commerce, liberty, or equal protection of the laws.

        (16) Federal protection of a woman's right to choose to prevent or terminate a pregnancy falls within this affirmative power of Congress, in part, because--

        (A) many women cross State lines to obtain abortions and many more would be forced to do so absent a constitutional right or Federal protection;

        (B) reproductive health clinics are commercial actors that regularly purchase medicine, medical equipment, and other necessary supplies from out-of-State suppliers; and

        (C) reproductive health clinics employ doctors, nurses, and other personnel who travel across State lines in order to provide reproductive health services to patients.

        :::

        SEC. 4. INTERFERENCE WITH REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH PROHIBITED.

        (a) STATEMENT OF POLICY- It is the policy of the United States that every woman has the fundamental right to choose to bear a child, to terminate a pregnancy prior to fetal viability, or to terminate a pregnancy after fetal viability when necessary to protect the life or health of the woman.

        (b) PROHIBITION OF INTERFERENCE- A government may not--

        (1) deny or interfere with a woman's right to choose--

        (A) to bear a child;

        (B) to terminate a pregnancy prior to viability; or

        (C) to terminate a pregnancy after viability where termination is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman; or

        (2) discriminate against the exercise of the rights set forth in paragraph (1) in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information.

        (c) CIVIL ACTION- An individual aggrieved by a violation of this section may obtain appropriate relief (including relief against a government) in a civil action.

        SEC. 5. SEVERABILITY.

        If any provision of this Act, or the application of such provision to any person or circumstance, is held to be unconstitutional, the remainder of this Act, or the application of such provision to persons or circumstances other than those as to which the provision is held to be unconstitutional, shall not be affected thereby.

        SEC. 6. RETROACTIVE EFFECT.

        This Act applies to every Federal, State, and local statute, ordinance, regulation, administrative order, decision, policy, practice, or other action enacted, adopted, or implemented before, on, or after the date of enactment of this Act.

        We may expect passage of this legislation approximately 15 minutes after hell freezes solid.

        The TEA Fund: Practicing random acts of kindness

        by moiv on Wed Jun 06, 2007 at 04:35:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Just a nit... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    debedb

    All anti-abortion laws and restrictions, throughout the world, should be repealed as unconstitutional violations of women’s rights and equality.

    While I suspect that most - if not all - abortion laws are unconstitutional as far as the American constitution goes, other countries, of course, have different constitutions (if they have them at all).

    I'm all for pro-choice, but claiming that all abortion laws everywhere in the world are bad because they'd be unconstitutional in America smacks of imperialism.

    •  And our current foreign policy doesn't? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annrose, Beket, AlliHi
    •  Most constitutions are stronger than U.S. (9+ / 0-)

      Because they're more recent and have more human rights built into them than the American one, often reflecting the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Here's a complete linked listof national constitutions. Most constitutions in western countries have a gender equality clause, including Canada. The U.S. constitution does not. But as I said in the diary, abortion rights could be protected under the 14th amendment's equal protection clause.  

      My diary was written based on the experience in Canada, where abortion is considered an established constitutional right under clauses guaranteeing "security of the person" "liberty" and "freedom of conscience."

      •  Well, okay... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Beket

        ...but even "most constitutions in western countries" doesn't begin to cover all countries in the world.

        I'm pro-choice, but I also get a little nervous when someone says that every nation (or every culture) in the world ought to do something just like I or we want it done. It becomes a high risk to move from conversation to imposition, and quickly leads to oppression if history is any indicator.

        In short, if you want to convince someone to change their laws, do it with some degree of respect for their culture and values (not that they're not).

        •  Idea is, give people in other countries the idea (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          taylormattd, Readrock, AlliHi

          So they can move forward in the best way suitable for their particular country and political environment. Part of the motivation for this article was the realization that even abortion providers and pro-choice activists in many parts of the world just "assume" there should be abortion laws, because they don't realize it can be any different. My article hopefully plants a seed.

          I like to think of Canada as a model for other countries to emulate, but of course what works in Canada won't necessarily work elsewhere - our abortion history is unique. Still, lots can and should be shared and learned.

  •  Respect Peoples Choice. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    docswede

    Abortion is a non-issue for me, I really don't care either way and much like social issues holds a low priority for me.

    That being said.

    Nations have a right to decide exactly what their definition of life is, and religious nations like Poland have chosen not legalize abortion.

    It's rather arrogant to condemn them for their religious beliefs, no matter how much they offend your ethos.

    Fine, if someone wants to campaign to have the laws changed, good for them.

    As long as we don't get someone like the United Nations trying to mandate a universal law on every nation.

    Truth will often set you free, remember though. Freedom is never free, and the costs are often steep depending on the truth.

    by ThinkingAmerican on Wed Jun 06, 2007 at 04:17:29 PM PDT

    •  Uggggh! (8+ / 0-)

      Abortion is a non-issue for me, I really don't care either way and much like social issues holds a low priority for me.

      That's about as callous as it gets. Do you just not give a f--- about the massive suffering, injury, and death around the world caused by laws against abortion? Do you just not give a f--- about all those millions of women injured and killed by illegal abortion?

      It's rather arrogant to condemn them for their religious beliefs, no matter how much they offend your ethos.

      You have it exactly backwards. What's to respect about the unfounded beliefs in fantasized supernaturalism wearing the sheep's clothing of "religion?" Remember the 19 intelligent young men whose deep religious faith compelled them to fly large airliners full of innocent people into tall buildings full of innocent people? Remember the Aztec sacrifices? Remember the Holy Inquisition?  And on and on and on through history into the 21st century world in which one religiously inspired true believer can get a nuclear weapon and kill hundreds of thousands of people to in his mind, perfectly in keeping with his religion, serve his "God."

      What is "arrogant" is the belief of religionists that their groundless, false-certain beliefs should be forced upon all or even that all who don't accept them and conform to them should be eliminated.

      No matter how fervently you believe that you know what you merely believe, you merely believe it, and you might be wrong - very wrong.

      by Beket on Wed Jun 06, 2007 at 04:58:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Misunderstood. (0+ / 0-)

        That's about as callous as it gets. Do you just not give a f--- about the massive suffering, injury, and death around the world caused by laws against abortion? Do you just not give a f--- about all those millions of women

        I'm sorry these women are suffering, but right now personally it's not an issue for me. Would you prefer I declare some false beliefs to asage your own? Or be honest in my views.

        What is "arrogant" is the belief of religionists that their groundless, false-certain beliefs should be forced upon all or even that all who don't accept them and conform to them should be eliminated.

        It's their country, and Poland is hardly a backward third world country. What are you proposing, a UN mandate backed by economic sanctions? I never said I would be against people lobbying for change, just against the UN throwing down mandates.

        Truth will often set you free, remember though. Freedom is never free, and the costs are often steep depending on the truth.

        by ThinkingAmerican on Wed Jun 06, 2007 at 05:22:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Like I said (5+ / 0-)

          I'm sorry these women are suffering, but right now personally it's not an issue for me. Would you prefer I declare some false beliefs to asage your own? Or be honest in my views.

          That's about as callous as it gets. What I'd like to see is you and others coming to grips with the gravity of the massive tragedies behind the below stats and including some compassion about this horrific, needless catastrophe in the lives of women and their families the world over - and caring that this nation not regress into bringing that curse down upon women and their families in this country.

          From Abortion Rights 101:Abortion rights good; restrictions bad ! Get over the nonsense to the contrary ! :

          The World Health Organization has estimated that in those parts of the world in which abortion is illegal, about 70,000 thinking, feeling, often desperate women and teenage girls die  every year from illegal attempts to abort unwanted pregnancies. That is more than one every 10 minutes DEAD because they are prohibited by law from accessing a reputable legal clinic for safe, legal, professional abortion care. Many times that number are seriously injured and maimed for life.

          In addition, every minute, night and day, no holidays or weekends off, around the world
          • one woman dies of complications of pregnancy and childbirth (every minute),
          • ten teenage girls undergo unsafe illegal abortions (every minute),
          • thirteen infants under twelve months old die (every minute),
          • fifty seven people contract an STD (every minute),
          • eleven people are infected with HIV (every minute),
          • and the already-burgeoned-beyond-the-planet's-capacity-to-sustain human population increases by one hundred fifty more people (every minute),
          all sanctioned, encouraged, and even required by our callous right-wing-dominated government through international interference with and withholding of funding from worldwide reproductive health programs.

          There are 525,600 minutes in a year. You do the arithmetic. The numbers are so huge as to be virtually impossible to contemplate, but those are the kinds of numbers we deal with when describing events in a world population of 6.5 billion individuals that is growing exponentially toward the point of severe degradation and destruction of the biosphere upon which all life depends.

          In the United States we are vastly more fortunate. Almost 4,000 women every day obtain safe, professional abortion care in the United States that is legal, professionally provided, and therefore extremely safe. Approximately 40% of all adult women in the country have had an abortion. 40%. Maybe your sister - the teenage girl next door or down the street (yes, no matter how perfect her Sunday School attendance) - your daughter your best friend's daughter - your wife - your mother - your teenage son's girlfriend! You just aren't likely to hear about it because they fearfully keep it secret. It's one of those taboo subjects most people don’t feel free to discuss. Nor do many people want to hear about it, preferring to bolster their comforting false beliefs that it just couldn't be so by screening out and denying factual knowledge of it.
           

          No matter how fervently you believe that you know what you merely believe, you merely believe it, and you might be wrong - very wrong.

          by Beket on Wed Jun 06, 2007 at 05:50:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Please go back to (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      taylormattd, Marlboro Lite

      your winger sites. You obviously aren't progressive in any form of the word.

      "I was Rambo in the disco. I was shootin' to the beat. When they burned me in effigy. My vacation was complete." Neil Young. Mideast Vacation.

      by Mike S on Wed Jun 06, 2007 at 05:03:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  nations don't have religious beliefs, people do (6+ / 0-)

      And it's a violation of freedom of religion and conscience to force everyone to believe in a particular religion or doctrine. Anti-abortion laws are rooted in religious doctrine. The situation in Poland is extremely tragic for women, a "contemporary women's hell" as detailed in this horrific account of what happens to Polish women who need an abortion. No nation has a "right" to decide that women's lives are worthless.

  •  legislators don't get to choose (6+ / 0-)

    Terrific diary! Thanks.

    Legislators do not get to choose whether or not women will have abortion, late term or otherwise. Women will vote with their bodies, just as they have for thousands of years. Legislators only get to choose whether or not abortion will be safe or be criminalized. And that choice has nothing to do with protecting fetuses.

  •  Excellent diary, Joyce! (8+ / 0-)

    This should be required reading for every American.  I especially like your gameplan in the end: a compassionate roadmap to equality.  Keep up the good work.

  •  what an issue (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk

    there are no winners. The anti-abortion side of me screams out that while the fetus is completlely dependant on the woman, it is a seperate living organism with the capability to become a human being. The anti-abortion part of me screams out birth-control, irresponsibility, safe-sex, The Morning After Pill. But, on the same level some woman don't want to come to term, some so badly that they would have a very dangerous illegal abortion, and that causes lives. Banning abortion would decrease the number of abortions, but, these woman that don't have the money or want to, raise ther children what do they do? Even if you think like me, and I originally said, "Put more money into adoption, set up adoption programs specifically for this, cover the medical costs completely, and even pay the woman for lost wages plus additional money for pain and suffering,", (god it sounds civil verdict). But, adoption often causes even more mental anguish than abortion can, so where is the victory there. It's one big oozing issue where nobody wins, regardless of what side you're on.

    Just so I don't get attacked, I'm not religuious, I so liberal I fit in more with Unitirians/Episcopalians, maybe even borderline agnostic. My anit-abortion opinions are nothign to do with religion, not one bit, in fact the CAtholic Churhc and all churches that try to use moral authority, make me furious.

    Because of my contradicting opinions, which are there becuase I've kinda of forced myself to look at the facts, I strongly support the suggested bill to require, at a later point, ultra-sounds before an abortion because it does cause up to half of woman seeking an abortion to changes their minds, while not invoking many of negative issues of banning abortion completely. It's not painful, they don;t have to pay, it's just a slight inconvience.

    I think we should require all pharmacies to carry the Morning After Pill, have an end to abstinence only education, and start teaching safe sex. I think that everyone here would agree that abortion is not a wonderful thing, and the fewer we have the best. I think that everyone, on both sides of the issue, should quit being hotheads, should quit acting like they both have the moral superiority, get rid of their 'I'm completely right and there's no way they could be wrong' attitude on tis issue, and work together to come with genuine solutions to decrease the number of abortions through indirect methods. Of Course fundamentalists Christians also oppose abortion partly because of a dogma against sex, so maybe they could never come to the tables. This is a lose-lose issue. Sigh,

    Click New Louisiana Southern Democrats on DFA: http://dfalink.com/group.php?id=1908

    by ArkDem14 on Wed Jun 06, 2007 at 04:22:00 PM PDT

    •  I disagree with this: (5+ / 0-)

      I strongly support the suggested bill to require, at a later point, ultra-sounds before an abortion because it does cause up to half of woman seeking an abortion to changes their minds, while not invoking many of negative issues of banning abortion completely. It's not painful, they don;t have to pay, it's just a slight inconvience.

      IMO, using guilt trips to manipulate the patients emotions is not the correct way to reduce the amount of abortions.

      I think we should require all pharmacies to carry the Morning After Pill, have an end to abstinence only education, and start teaching safe sex.

      Those are much better ways, IMO.  I also believe that the morning after pill should be available over-the-counter to anyone who needs it.

      "I heard you and I will not forget." - Al Gore

      by 0wn on Wed Jun 06, 2007 at 04:29:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Women need access to care! (11+ / 0-)

      Say what you will about "moral superiority" of these discussions but women desperately need access to quality abortion care.  Access to abortion care is eroding as we type these missives and our policy makers do nothing...except to say "rare abortion is a good thing."

      How can we continue to turn our backs on poor women in need of abortion care in order to "make nice" at the political round table? Provision of abortion care has to come from somewhere and be provided by someone.  The resources for poor women have to be provided somehow.

      Restrictive abortion laws continue to hurt women and are rampant.  I am pretty sure statistics would show they are at an all time high in our state legislatures.  And these laws are not about "protecting women's health".  They are about restricting access to abortion care.  And we are very close to being back to the "bad old days" where only the rich can access care.

    •  there's a win-win on this issue (10+ / 0-)

      The best way to protect fetuses and children is to guarantee full equality and freedom for their main caretakers - women.  When we give women their human dignity and autonomy, when we give women resources, support, and accurate unbiased information - then we can totally trust them to to act in the best interests of their fetuses and their families (which sometimes means having an abortion).

      It's that simple. We don't need any laws to control women, traumatize them, or make them feel guilty. We just need to treat them like thinking human beings. Trust women!

      •  it's not controlling woman, (0+ / 0-)

        here's where we disagree, and here's where I can't understand your arugment. It's not controlling woman, it's the fact that a fetus is a seperate lifeform from the woman, the fetus has the capability to become a human and I don;t feel right that millions a year are destroyed.

        Your arugment is horrible. How the hell is "The best way to protect fetuses and children is to to gurantee fuill equality and freedom of their main caretakers - women" How does woman's rigths and feminism protect fetuses and children. I've moved greatly away from the pro-life movement and Religion in the past year, but I don't think I've come near far enough to accept that kind of argument, all I can do is express blaring comtept with it, even at the risk of being troll rated. I moderated that comment above, was polite, and tried my best to state things from where I stand on the abortion issue, which is almost at the political center of this highly senstive issue where passions run wild.

        But, to tell you the truth, I have no interest in getting into a heated nasty name calling, personal insult ridden debate on this issue, that's happened to me before, (partly becuase I brought it on myself), and I really don't fell like doing it again. I'm not changing my position, and you're not chaning yours. I haven't changed my position, really, since I posted a diary last year stating an abortion ban. What I have done is opened my eyes, and actualyl taken into account excellent arugments made by other pro-choice posters like IrishWitch, unlike your argument. I accepted the hard truth, woman are killed with dangerous procedures when aboture is illegal, many woman will still do it. Whatever conservatives say an abortion does emotionally to many women, adoption causes even more emotional anguish, and I've read, on this site, firsthand accounts on how difficult the decision to have an abortion is. So, forcing women to go to term, and leave the baby to adoption doesn't stop emotionally anguish, it makes it worse. That arguments off the table at that point. Many of ther statistics and information neutralized many portions of my argument, and have made me reconsider and move closer to the center. Oh, well, I've done my best with this piece, it won't change any minds, and it won't get any body to rexamine their ideas, so let's just leave at this.

        Click New Louisiana Southern Democrats on DFA: http://dfalink.com/group.php?id=1908

        by ArkDem14 on Wed Jun 06, 2007 at 05:43:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Keywords. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          annrose, suicide blonde, AlliHi

          the fetus has the capability to become a human being

          . . . but is not one now.

          I recommend Abortion Rights 101:Abortion rights good; restrictions bad ! Get over the nonsense to the contrary !

          No matter how fervently you believe that you know what you merely believe, you merely believe it, and you might be wrong - very wrong.

          by Beket on Wed Jun 06, 2007 at 05:55:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I know that, I didn't overlook that (0+ / 0-)

            I'm not a moron. It's still seperate creation, it's still a human, even if it is at it's earliest stages of development. That's where logics differ on this issue. Pro-choicers whine about how it's all about conrolling womenn, and in doing so they do themselves a huge disfavor, and keep themselves from understanding the basic pro-life movement. For you it's about a woman's right, for me it's my opinion that since the fetus is a seperate entity then where is the woman's right over it? A fetus is not a tick or worms.

            Click New Louisiana Southern Democrats on DFA: http://dfalink.com/group.php?id=1908

            by ArkDem14 on Wed Jun 06, 2007 at 06:01:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  where's your arguments against my arguments? (4+ / 0-)

          You don't seem to have any. Supporting women and protecting their rights will automatically protect families and children because women are their main caretakers. When women benefit, their families benefit. It's a no-brainer.

          Your main point seems to be that fetuses are "separate." So you actually believe that a fetus does NOT live inside a woman and is NOT totally dependent on her and no-one else for its development and survival?  Do you believe that a fetus is free to come and go as it pleases? Maybe you've seen one oot and aboot?  Please share. I'm sincerely curious.

          •  the fetus, you are completely right, (0+ / 0-)

            That doesn't change the fact that it's not part of the woman, it's not a kidney, it's not an appendix, the fact that it is totally dependant on the woman and lives inside her does not change the fact that at the same time it is no part of the woman, it's a seperate organism depedant on her, and it's human being at it's earliest stage of development, and can become a human being, it has the capacity, that's why I think of abortions as being a callous disregard for human life. Stop, hear me out, I have more to say, don't blow up in fury yet. I don't believe fetus' are humans, I'm not fit to say when something qualifies as 'living'. But, It's still what I like to label a 'possible life'.

            Click New Louisiana Southern Democrats on DFA: http://dfalink.com/group.php?id=1908

            by ArkDem14 on Wed Jun 06, 2007 at 06:08:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  blowing up in fury is not my style (usually ;-) (5+ / 0-)

              my question to you is, why do you sanction the callous disregard to women's lives? This disregard underlies all anti-abortion laws. And when I say "women's lives", I don't mean mere physical existence, because life is so much more than just breathing.

              Women are not here just to make babies, any more than men are. We are human beings, with hopes and dreams, families and friends, careers and educations, freedoms and rights. And we have the right to choose when and whether to have babies, and under what conditions. Because that right protects and improves our own lives, as well as the lives of our children and families.

            •  a tragic balance of life against life (5+ / 0-)

              That is the United Methodist position.  And women, in conjunction with their family and doctors must make the abortion decision.

              Women often see abortion as an act of defense, for themselves and for the children they already have or will have in the future.  The abortion decision requires strength and courage and deserves respect.

              BUT MOST OF ALL WOMEN DESERVE QUALITY ABORTION CARE.  Can we agree on that?

    •  Simply not the case (10+ / 0-)

      I strongly support the suggested bill to require, at a later point, ultra-sounds before an abortion because it does cause up to half of woman seeking an abortion to changes their minds, while not invoking many of negative issues of banning abortion completely. It's not painful, they don;t have to pay, it's just a slight inconvience.

      Viewing an ultrasound image does nothing of the kind. Every day of my working life I review these images with women about to have abortion procedures. Offering a woman the opportunity to see her ultrasound--while the scan is in progress, and again in the course of a private counseling session with a patient advocate--is a routine part of abortion care. And in almost 15 years, I have not seen even one woman change her mind about her decision because she saw her ultrasound image.

      And it's not an inconvenience, either. Performing an ultrasound prior to abortion is the de facto standard of care.

      However, compelling women to view ultrasound images, especially in a coercive anti-abortion environment such as a "crisis pregnancy center," would be an unconscionable emotional manipulation. A woman must always have the right to say, "No, thanks."

      The TEA Fund: Practicing random acts of kindness

      by moiv on Wed Jun 06, 2007 at 04:56:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Super smart and informed diarist (13+ / 0-)

    Choice Joyce, you make us all proud the know you.  You have done so much to support safe legal abortion in Canada and to inform the citizens of both canada and the USA.  Powerful diary and I especially like you essay about the Bible being pro-choice.  We are definitely making waves and rocking the boat!  YOU GO GIRL!  william f harrison, m.d., facog

    A private gyn office offering full gyn services including abortion care to 18 weeks.

    by william f harrison on Wed Jun 06, 2007 at 04:22:33 PM PDT

  •  I was having... (5+ / 0-)

    a discussion with a conservative coworker today about abortion and embryonic stem cell reseach...

    This came over in the e-mail exchange we were having:

    I firmly believe that life begins in humans at conception, although I could be convinced it happens up to a few days earlier when the egg is released.

    This is what we are up against...people that by all rights appear to be reasonable, are educated, and by all rights should know better...I don't know how you fight that...even when using reason, logic and critical thinking you cannot get through to these people that they are horribly misguided.

    They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. - Ben Franklin

    by Mark E Andersen on Wed Jun 06, 2007 at 04:28:23 PM PDT

  •  Now who said it? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    suicide blonde

    If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.

    "the people have the power to redeem the work of fools" --Patti Smith

    by Immigrant Punk on Wed Jun 06, 2007 at 04:43:50 PM PDT

  •  The Golden Rule (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moiv

    But Choice Joyce,You then have the problem of the Golden Rule.  "He (emphasis on HE) who has all the gold, makes all the rules."  Even though Canada has no laws regarding abortion, they DO have a complex health care system that (as I misunderstand it) requires patient to pass through a series of hoops and over several hurdles to get to the care (be it abortion or almost anything else).  By the time a women gets to see her primary physician, and then gets referred for a sonogram and then referred to a gynecologist, and then finally to a gynecologist who actually knows how to do and abortion, quite a time has passed, eh?  And lots of time lost from work too.  In the US, it is not uncommon for a woman to buy a home pregnancy test in the morning and have her abortion that same afternoon.  Sure, that costs her some money in most states.  Only a pitiful few US states will pay for abortion care.  But abortion care is one of those items that is safer, easier, and cheaper the earlier it is performed.  TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE.  In the US things are better, IF YOU ARE LUCKY enough to live where abortion care is easily accessed and paid for by the state or insurance (basically that means a big city in NY, CA, WA, IL and a few other places.  God help you if you are in rural MS, AL, LA, NV, UT, ID, MT, ND, SD, WY etc.  Canada can learn a few things from us, but US can learn from them as well.

    •  A pitiful few indeed (0+ / 0-)

      God help you if you are in rural MS, AL, LA, NV, UT, ID, MT, ND, SD, WY etc.

      And don't forget Texas -- with a land area the size of France, 93% of our 254 counties have no provider of abortion care at all.

      From Dallas/Ft.Worth the nearest clinic to the north is in Oklahoma, to the west in Lubbock (offering only first trimester care at that), and to the east in Shreveport.

      The TEA Fund: Practicing random acts of kindness

      by moiv on Wed Jun 06, 2007 at 09:50:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, access is usually better than that (0+ / 0-)

      About 45% of abortions are done in private or public clinics in Canada, and women can make their own appointments. The rest are done in hospitals, and it's true most of the time women need a referral to a hospital. Speed and quality of hospital access can vary - while there can be unacceptably long waits, often there's very little delay. Clinic waiting times can vary as well, but usually are no more than a week or 2.  

      Family docs do abortions in Canada, it does not have to be an Ob/Gyn.

      One big difference between U.S. and Canada, is that abortions in Canada are free under Medicare (whether done in hospitals or private clinics). They have been deemed a "medically required" service by all provinces, and so must be fully funded under our federal Canada Health Act. All citizens can get free Medicare coverage (in some provinces at a nominal cost). It's even possible to get retroactive coverage if you don't have it and suddenly need it.

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