The pro-choice crowd has adopted the phrase “anti-choice” to refer to us people formerly known (to them) as pro-life. In essence, these fine folks are defining the issue as they see it, but their choice and use of words is telling. By denying the label “pro-life,” they show their true colors- their total ignorance of innocent human life. To them, this has nothing whatsoever to do with the fetus or baby or whatever one wishes to call it. I tend to call it human life. Instead, it has everything to do with convenience wrapped in the guise of a supposed constitutional right. The more radical of the lot take the choice to an extreme by denigrating those who opt not to have an abortion, who opt for adoption, or- God forbid- actually carry a baby to term.
The Guttmacher Institute, which is an offshoot of Planned Parenthood, annually presents statistics which they then skew into a political agenda. Usually that agenda translates into the following: “Beware! The big, bad men of the Republican Party are coming to take away your ‘reproductive rights.'” Using their criteria of restrictive abortion measures passed at the state level, let’s analyze them.
1. Parental consent laws: According to the CDC, about 16% of all abortions performed annually involve minors. That translates into about 160,000 abortions on minors performed every year. Adolescent abortion (those 15 and younger) account for 0.05% of all abortions annually. Obviously, the greatest age range in this category are those aged 16 and 17. It should be noted that only five states do not require parental notification or consent: Washington, Oregon, New York, Connecticut and Vermont. The state with the highest rate of minor abortions- California- does require parental consent (although the law is currently enjoined). The bottom line- despite these supposedly draconian laws, it affects very, very few adolescents. As for the 16-17 year old minors, at 160,000 a year, apparently the laws work. Think about this: at 16-17 years and likely living at home, it is kind of hard to hide a pregnancy. If the “choice” was abortion, then parental notification or consent does not seem to be a barrier.
2. Pre-abortion counseling: This one usually makes me laugh. To the pro-choice crowd, entering a clinic and having an abortion is akin to just another day at the office. Ho-hum- Gee it’s great to live in America. I can have my abortion after coffee and before work. Of course, this fits nicely into the theme of the denial of human life and enhancing the convenience of the abortion seeker. Most medical procedures require informed consent and all drugs have mandatory side effects listed and explained by physicians. In effect, the pro-choice crowd wants to make abortion some sub-medical procedure unworthy of informed consent.
3. Waiting periods: Unless it is an emergency, I can think of very few major medical procedures where someone walks into a physician’s office and can demand same-day elective surgery or some drug regimen. Again, the pro-choice people are attempting to minimize abortion in general as some all-times safe procedure where demand must be met- now! Case in point: to have a benign growth removed a few years back, I was required to have the procedures done in a hospital, have requisite blood tests, received three pages of instructions before the procedure, and had to wait two weeks. Bottom line: I do not think waiting 24-72 hours between seeking and having an abortion is too much to ask.
4. Ultrasound requirements: On one level I kind of understand the feminist objection here IF the ultrasound requirement is particularly intrusive (for example, transvaginal). However, left out of the equation is the reason for the ultrasound- to determine the approximate age of the baby. Additionally, most states that have ultrasound requirements do not insist that the woman actually see the results of the ultrasound. They are not given a copy of the image that expectant mothers usually receive. While feminists rail about this, they leave out important details to make the procedure sound particularly intrusive.
5. Restrictions on Medicaid funding: This is a choice that taxpayers make through their elected representatives. Medicaid is a joint state-federal program and using federal funds for abortion services is unlawful under the Hyde Amendment. States, however, are free to use their funds to provide abortion services. Only 15 states have no restrictions. Since Medicaid deals with “the poor,” this line of attack effectively fits in with the argument that abortion restrictions fall most heavily on the poor. I have two solutions. One, pro-choice groups can try to make their case at the state level and provide documented facts, not sob stories. Second and in the interim, instead of fighting these restrictions or publishing glossy propaganda, use your funds to fill in the gaps if the poor are really being denied access to abortion services. Why my tax money should be spent for another’s abortion is a non-argument.
6. Restrictions on private insurance coverage: Of course, Obamacare has totally muddled the field here. What the pro-choice people fail to mention is that states allow abortion coverage in health insurance on a voluntary basis on the part of the purchaser. When they mention this, it is a state law that does not require abortion to be defined as a “preventive medical practice.” In effect, they want an abortion to be equated with a yearly mammogram, prostate exam, or vaccination. Again, minimize the procedure to “ho-hum” status.
7. Medical abortion protocol restrictions: Basically, this means the off-label use of certain drugs to induce a pregnant woman to miscarry. The FDA originally approves drugs under certain protocols called “on-label” use. However, physicians usually find ways to use drugs that the FDA did not proscribe. It happens with all types of drugs. However, in many cases deaths or complications do not occur. If the FDA approved a drug to be used in a certain way, then that is what it should be, if it minimizes medical risks. Ironically, these same pro-choice people call for government regulation in a vast variety of other areas…except when it comes to abortion.
8. Abortion facility requirements: Apparently making sure that abortions are performed under the safest and most sanitary conditions is not a consideration to pro-choice people. In effect, they are defeating their own arguments. If abortion is not legal, then women will seek dangerous back-alley abortions. But if it is legal, then there should be no restrictions on abortion facilities. There are likely more sanitary requirements for the removal of a cyst than there are for abortion clinics. A side show here is requiring that doctors have admitting privileges to nearby hospitals. Again, this is a non-argument. If it is a medical emergency resulting from an abortion, the hospital is not going to deny service. They may deny the abortionist the admitting privilege. Either way, the woman will receive treatment. Considering that an estimated 47,000 women die annually from botched abortions, one would think there is a need for these requirements.
9. The 20-week rule: Many states are moving to restrict abortions after 20 weeks of gestation. The reason is growing evidence that the fetus can feel pain. The Guttmacher Institute and Planned Parenthood call these scientific studies “dubious science.” It should be noted that 20 weeks is 5 months of gestation- squarely in the 2nd trimester and heading towards the third. Even under Roe’s framework, in the 2nd trimester the state has an increased interest in the life of that fetus. Additionally, it behooves this writer to understand why anyone would wait 5 months before deciding to have an abortion. Regardless, the vast majority of abortions are performed in the first trimester. Again, they are trying to create a problem where none really exists.
10. Pre-emptive bans on abortion altogether: Particularly conservative state legislatures will may this, but they are very few in number and likely not to succeed. There is no Supreme Court majority- despite the feminist railing- to strike down Roe vs. Wade. The trimester framework has been gutted and replaced with the undue burden standard. None of these previously mentioned categories of laws are “undue burdens.”
If the pro-choice people want to treat abortion- surgical and medical- as just another medical procedure, then let’s do just that. And like any other medical procedure, that includes parental consent, informed consent for adults, a reasonable waiting period, qualified physicians, safe and sanitary conditions, and a back-up plan if something goes wrong. For insurance purposes, let’s treat it like any other elective procedure- you want it, you pay for it either out of pocket, through your insurance premium, or seek charity help from NARAL or Planned Parenthood.
In the end, the arguments by the pro-choice crowd underscore their main argument- convenience for the woman seeking an abortion and a total denial that there is something else at stake here- an unborn human with no say in the matter. If opposing that mindset makes me anti-choice, then I am proud to wear that moniker.