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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » The State of the Union... for Abortion

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Author Topic: The State of the Union... for Abortion
Heather
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SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota -- Here, late in the afternoon, the clinic is still full. There's a soldier who will make a 700-mile round trip from the western part of the state. There's a teenager slouching beside a tense mother. There's a rancher, a mother of two high-schoolers and pregnant after having an IUD removed.

This is the only clinic in the state and this is the only day in the week when a woman can get an abortion in South Dakota. Today, they'll be treated by one of four doctors flown in from Minneapolis because it's impossible to recruit locally. Today's doctor is Miriam McCreary, a mother of four and grandmother of nine, who graduated from medical school in 1958. At 70, she still knows ''how desperate women are to end their pregnancies."

One clinic, one day, one doctor. This is what it's like in South Dakota right now under Roe v. Wade. It's also like this in North Dakota and Mississippi, and not very different in Arkansas or a dozen other states.

To see read the whole piece, see: http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0113-24.htm

Quite a lot of people aren't aware of the reality of what access to abortion is right now -- and how incredibly limited and harnessed it is -- even WITH Roe. Vs. Wade. This is an excellent piece which outlines, very simply, why Roe isn't even a necessary issue, because with the 400+ restrictions put on the books against abortion in the last decade, and clearly more to come, Roe can still stand...and yet it can become nearly impossible for a U.S. women to acquire an abortion.

* * *
From the perspective of a minor, the MAJORITY of states now have some form of parental notification policies in place.

How aware have you been of these restrictions? Would knowing about thgem, if you didn't, incline you to get active to hold unto your reproductive rights? If not, what would?

It's interesting to note that the old-guard feminists who helped legalize abortion with their activism are nearly all menopausal right now: most are still very active, even though they won't need abortions themselves ever again. Right now, women my of generation -- many of whom like myself are also doing pro-choice activist work, but far fewer than in the generation before ours -- are at an age where less and less of us will need abortions, and some of us are already pre-menopausal. That means your generation is going to be really pivotal in safeguarding women's reproductive rights.

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Heather Corinna
Editor & Founder, Scarleteen
ST blogabout Heather & Scarleteen
"I have come to learn that that which is most important to me must be spoken." --Audre Lorde

[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 01-13-2006).]


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faifai
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I live in AZ and I didn't know about our state's laws regarding parental notification until a couple months ago.

I was at Planned Parenthood after having a major pregnancy risk, and was there to get EC (which I also would not have known about if it hadn't been for this site). On one of my forms it said that if I was a minor needing an abortion, my parents would be notified. The way to get around it was to get a judge to grant permission or some such. I just thanked my lucky stars that I was 18 at the time, without looking more into what other laws restricting abortions said.

Now, looking at the 20+ restrictions on abortions, I see that even with Roe v. Wade, the other laws put into place after it have made it fairly difficult to get an abortion in AZ. Some include:


  • In 2000--Parents (of minors seeking an aborton) will be notified.
  • 1997--Partial-birth abortion ban.
  • 1980--"Public funds" can't be used for an abortion.

Some other laws that I think are still on the books include laws about a 1973 law saying hospitals can refuse to admit patients seeking abortions. Another says that any woman who takes substances to initiate an abortion (like in the case of herbal abortions) will be punished by imprisonment, as will the person who supplied such substances to her.

I don't know if those older laws still apply or how they would manage to find someone who DID seek such an abortion, but it's disheartening to see women's reproductive rights being chipped away as they are. I wrote letters to my state reps and I am staunchly pro-choice, but at times it feels like fighting the tide.


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BetterSitUp
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I understand that this site is pro-choice, and I accept that, as a Pro-life sexually active female, but a few things in faifai's post trouble me.

I understand that women have the right to choose, and I am not disputing that at all. However it was mentioned partial- birth aboortions are banned in AZ (I'm pretty sure they're also ban in several other states), there is much I would like to say on this topic, but as I do not want to upset anyone, especially Mz. Scarlett- as this is her site, I will keep my thought to myself.

However, it was also metioned that "Public Funds" are not available for abortion in AZ, I do not know how that applies in my state or any other, though I MUST say I completely agree with that. Why should my tax money be spent on someone else's abortion, when I do not agree with it in any way shape or form. I understand that people end up in situations that need to be rectified, and I am not trying to offend anyone or disagree with anyone's decisions. I am however saying, that I refuse to pay for someone else's mistake, when this is the decision they come to.

I am sorry if this offends anyone, or if I have overstepped my bounds, I just sincerely felt the need to voice my opinion.

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"She's the blade and you're
the paper." ~Sugarcult


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Heather
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...and yet.

Public funds ARE usually available for anyone's pregnancy and child-rearing. And really, for most people, that is why it is an issue and a hypocrisy: that means a woman does NOT really have the full right to choose because incentives are given for her to make a given choice. Bear in mind too, that the person's "mistake" often made, in a obscene number of accidental pregnancies are due to rape or coercion on the part of the man involved: in more cases than most people would like to examine, the women involved has no choice at all per contraception, or incredibly limited choices, especially given the inaccessibility of contraception and emergency contraception in many states and locations. In more cases than not, given most rapists are known to their victims, the only "mistake" a woman made was trusting a man in her life. Hard to look at, that.

And no that's not the case for all abortions, not by any means. But it is for an awful lot of them, and even if it were but a handful, these laws and policies are applied to those women.

(And just FYI on the partial-birth thing? Late abortions are almost ALWAYS performed for women who WANTED to be pregnant and bring a child to term, but whose child either ended up with severe deformities or disalibities -- to the dgree that the child being able to live after birth is iffy at best -- or when a child is dead in thw womb. Without availibility of that procudure, a woman's only otion is then to remain pregnant, and have to give birth, knowingly, to a dead child or a severely deformed child. Imagine what that might be like, if you will. Talk to a woman or two who has had to do it. It is a TERRIBLE thing to force a woman to do. A late-term abortion is toug enough in these situations, the alternative is a million times worse.)

I appreciate, for the record, your respect in these matters.


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BetterSitUp
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As I know this is a sensitive subject, and I am on the wrong side of it for this website, I promise to make this my last post on the matter.

I just wanted to reespond to your reply Miz Scarlet. You've said that public funds are typically given as an incentive to women who choose to go through with the pregnancy- in my opinion this is what public funds should be used for- to help those who have fallen on hard times. I was simply saying that I don't think it's right that I should have to pay for something I don't believe in, which is exactly what is happening when taxes are used for abortions.

I do apologize for using the word "mistake" it was a bit incensitive and perhaps the wrong term. I understand that many abortions are products of pregnancy that have occured from rape and that is a terrible thing that I cannot even begin to imagine.

As for the Partial-birth abortions, why would they be called abortions if the child is already dead inside the womb? And while I do understand that caring for a child with a disability or deformity is very difficult, I do not believe that constitutes abortion, especially late into the pregnancy when the baby has nerves and therefore feeling, and a brain, and all that is needed to sustain life.

Again, I'm sorry if this offends, and as promised this is my last post regarding this subject.

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"She's the blade and you're
the paper." ~Sugarcult


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Karybu
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quote:
Originally posted by BetterSitUp:
I was simply saying that I don't think it's right that I should have to pay for something I don't believe in, which is exactly what is happening when taxes are used for abortions.

But how is abortion any different from say, the war in Iraq? Everyone who lives in the United States and who pays taxes has part of that money go towards funding this particular conflict, as well as a heck of a lot of other things they may strongly disagree with - just as strongly as you may disagree with abortion.


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KittenGoddess
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quote:
Originally posted by BetterSitUp:
As for the Partial-birth abortions, why would they be called abortions if the child is already dead inside the womb?

Technically, the term abortion covers any expulsion of a fetus prior to natural birth. So this term can be applied to a fetus that is viable, one that is not viable, or even a miscarriage (check out the American Heritage Dictionary for a clear definition).

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Sarah Liz
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DarkChild717
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BetterSitUp, it's okay to have a different opinion. It facilitates wonderful discussions. All we ask (and there's not an issue here, so don't worry) is that all involved remain respectful to each other and their opinions. It only "has" to be your last post if you're done debating the issue, or have nothing else to say.


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Heather
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quote:
And while I do understand that caring for a child with a disability or deformity is very difficult, I do not believe that constitutes abortion, especially late into the pregnancy when the baby has nerves and therefore feeling, and a brain, and all that is needed to sustain life.

Actually, in most cases of late-term abortions for this reason, we aren't talking about deformities with which a child could live ANY sort of life, or live more than a few days after birth. We're talking dead children, children without working lungs, or vegetables, basically.

So, again, it's not about caring for that chld, it's about having to go through the incredibly difficult -- emotionally, hormonally, physically, financially and all made far worse by the trauma of such a birth -- process of labor for a child whose life is either in no way viable, or who is already stillborn. (You can do some magazine and web-searching, btw, for stories of women who have had to go through that since the ben, or before abortion was available. They are not for the faint of heart.) Forcing women to go through that is, flatly, utter barbarism that is in no way about concerns for child welfare, and 100% about ideology, in a country where our laws are supposed to be guaranteed to NOT be about such.

And I absolutely guarantee you that if something like this was not exclusively about amplifying women's pain and heartbreak, but about creating greater hardship for men and/or children, that ban would NEVER have gone through. Late-term abortions were NEVER legal in other scenarios: the only reason that ban was done was political, by those who do not even understand the procedure or how it is used (thus the ludicrous re-naming of it as "partial-birth" solely to incite controversy), and at the great expense of all women.

quote:
You've said that public funds are typically given as an incentive to women who choose to go through with the pregnancy- in my opinion this is what public funds should be used for- to help those who have fallen on hard times.

You're saying this respectfully, so understand that what will come across as my anger here is NOT aimed at you. My anger is about the gross mistreatment of women, usually under the guise of care for children, when it's so, so rarely that. Not only, after all, are more than half those children female children who will live to BE women, but most of the policies we have in place right now per choice and women parenting, and most of the currently developing policies per abortion restrictions, per child welfare, etc. are not in that interest. If our nation was really that interested in child welfare, they'd stop with endless attempts to keep control over women's bodies and start looking to repair the fact that in the most developed nation in the world we also have one of the highest rates of both child mortaility and child poverty. And forcing women into childbearing is by no MEANS a way to repair that: it contributes to it greatly.

But I digress. If being raped or coerced into sex and winding up pregnant doesn't count as "hard times," I don't know what does. Becoming pregnant because your healthcare plan doesn't cover contraception, you're too poor to get it yourself, and your male partner could give a hoot about what you want, that's hard times. Becoming pregnant with a child with even a "workable" disabiity, knowing you can't care for them yourself, but that putting them up for adoption likely means a lifetime in foster or institutionalized care? Hard times. Becoming pregnant because of a contraceptive failure when you are hardscrabble poor and knowing you have neither the time nor the means to rear a child -- and your only option is to go through the arduous process of pregnancy then give the child away, something painful as hell for nearly all women who do -- but being forced to do so anyway, especially if you DO love children? That's hard times. I've been there myself, and I've lived in absolute poverty before, and I'd say both get filed under hard times. (And the average welfare payment to mothers doesn't even come CLOSE to covering those costs, for the record, and often disallows women to work to try and compensate.)

I could keep going with scenarios, but I'll spare you. Point is that an unplanned pregnancy, period, is hard times for every woman. Pregnancy, even when wanted, is hard times. Labor and post-birth alone has women doing something more grueling, intense and arduous than any man could imagine, and yet, we label soldiers as heroes yet call birthing "nature."

We only REALLY have choice if we really have equal treatment for all choices. Incentives or punishments for any one choice means we do NOT have real choice. That is compounded by the fact that the culture we live in acts counter to women as it is, no matter WHAT choice she makes, especially when she makes it alone.

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Heather Corinna
Editor & Founder, Scarleteen
ST blogabout Heather & Scarleteen
I have come to learn that that which is most important to me must be spoken. - Audre Lorde

[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 01-30-2006).]


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Heather
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(And just FYI?

I have to pay taxes which end up netting BILLIONS for abstinence-only sex education. Which I then have to work doubly-hard to correct, and to counsel youths who have made mistakes BASED on that misinformation. On top of that, I cannot even get federal funding for the work in ACCURATE, inclusive sex education which I do because of that. Dig that atrocious irony: I am essentially PAYING to put youth in danger so that I can work to uno that danger on my own dime.

I am a feminist, and yet I have to pay taxes which absolutely support policies and programs which are counter to women's interests. I am an antiwar activist since I was in utero who has to pay for the wars I oppose. One could go on, but the deal is that in a democratic society -- in name, anyway, albeiot hardly in practice -- none of us gets to only support those things per state and country we'd like to individually. But that's what personal choices are for.)


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HH_demiurge
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quote:
Originally posted by Miz Scarlet:

(And just FYI on the partial-birth thing? Late abortions are almost ALWAYS performed for women who WANTED to be pregnant and bring a child to term, but whose child either ended up with severe deformities or disalibities -- to the dgree that the child being able to live after birth is iffy at best -- or when a child is dead in thw womb. Without availibility of that procudure, a woman's only otion is then to remain pregnant, and have to give birth, knowingly, to a dead child or a severely deformed child. Imagine what that might be like, if you will. Talk to a woman or two who has had to do it. It is a TERRIBLE thing to force a woman to do. A late-term abortion is toug enough in these situations, the alternative is a million times worse.)

Are there any physical risk associated with giving birth to a dead baby?


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Ghosty
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Are there any physical risk associated with giving birth to a dead baby?

I'm definetly not a doctor, but I wouldn't say that the risk is higher nor lower.
But I do believe that it is very hard emotional, to have been carryig a child for nine months and then born a dead one, or with disabilities.

But when it comes to abortion in general. It is very low amount of women that make an abortion. And of those already low number, there is only a few that make an abortion just because they didn't "think enough".

So limiting abortion for women is just stupid, as the vast majority have good reasons for it and don't abuse it.

But when young women and women in general have limited acces to contraception, of course the abortions will increase. Isn't that logical ?
I bet that if contraception was much more available, and much more talked about, that the need of abortion would be much less. Because less "accidents" would happen.

I really don't mind that some people are against it, that's fine by me. But I disagree when the same people are trying to impose what they believe on other people.

I think young people need information, not just Tab A into slot B info. But real life information, that is not only about facts and numbers, but also some info about options, and possibilties on problem solving.

I can say that abortion has rarely ever been abused. Those who want to do an abortion often do have reasons, so I don't get why a law is needed, just because someone else believes that it's "wrong". If someone else is wrong, that doesn't automaticly mean you re right.


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Heather
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There are high physical risks with ANY childbirth, no matter the state of the fetus, far more so than with abortion.

Women do literally put their lives at risk to give birth, and especially so for women who cannot access or afford good pre-natal care and safe, sanitary delivery scenarios, which is the majority of women in the world.

Somehow, people tend to forget that when talking about the "miracle" of childbirth. It's a wonder, sure, but much of that "miracle" is women doing incredibly hard physical labor to give birth.


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RoadWarrior
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I don't think this is really an issue of whether or not people should have their taxes going to something they don't support. As someone said above, this happens all the time. The more important point being missed is that these are policies enacted by elected officials. This is why South Dakota has such barriers against abortion, it is the desires of the people. They are going to do whatever they can without overtly violating the Supreme Court rulings, to make it more difficult to get an abortion. As a pro-lifer, I have no qualms with this, but if people disagree it's their responsibility to get the laws altered.
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Heather
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(There's so rarely any GOOD news anymore when it comes to choice, so...)

From the Feminist Majority Foundation, re: the "partial-birth" abortion ban:

2/1/2006 - Yesterday, on the same day Samuel Alito was sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice, two federal appeals courts issued rulings that the federal abortion procedure ban was unconstitutional because it lacked an exception for cases in which a woman's health is in danger. The 2nd Circuit Court, in New York, chose to give both sides 30 days to address ways to fix the law and bring it into line with the Constitution. However, the 9th Circuit decision found the statute so broad and potentially vague that there was no option but to totally invalidate it and uphold a permanent injunction on its enforcement. The Justice Department had argued that the procedure was never medically necessary to protect women’s health, an argument which the court, based in California, rejected.

The so-called partial birth abortion ban was vetoed twice by President Clinton, then signed into law by President Bush in 2003. It has never been enforced. It was previously challenged in Nebraska in the 8th US Circuit Court, which also invalidated the statute. That case is now being appealed to the US Supreme Court.

A similar Nebraska state law was struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court with a 5-4 vote in 2000, with Sandra Day O’Connor in the slim majority. Alito, who has replaced O’Connor on the Supreme Court, has said that the Constitution does not protect a woman’s right to an abortion.

More here.


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HH_demiurge
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I wasn't intending to be callous to women deprived of bodily sovereignty, to say nothing of dignity. I was just wondering if there was any additional risk associated with the pointless exercise-in-neocon ideology that is birthing a corpse. That sort of thing tends to make for a compelling and pragmatic argument.
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HH_demiurge
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Ostensibly, the "Parital Birth Abortion Ban" only applies to cases where the fetus is still alive. Does it actually work that way in practice?
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Heather
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Abortion isn't usually defined by the state or viability of the fetus, rather by the fact that a pregnancy is being terminated by a given procedure.

So, no: this did NOT only apply to cases with a living/viable fetus, as I previously explained.


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HH_demiurge
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I would have thought the language in the bill pertaining to the legal definition of "partial birth abortion" (aside: why can't they use actual the medical terminology in a bill?), specifically "that kills the partially delivered living fetus", would prevent the bill being an impediment to women trying to avoid unecessary still-birth.
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KittenGoddess
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40 House members sign on to state bill banning abortion

If you happen to be a resident of KY right now, this would probably be a good time to settle down and send a note to your representatives.

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Sarah Liz
Scarleteen Sexpert


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KittenGoddess
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S. Dakota House Bans Abortion to Instigate Court Fight

quote:
From the article: Lawmakers in South Dakota overwhelmingly approved legislation Thursday that would prohibit almost all abortions in the state. House Bill 1215 passed 47-22, after representatives voted against inserting amendments that would exempt women impregnated as the result of rape or incest. The bill, which now goes to the state Senate, makes an exception if the women’s life is in danger.

Citing controversial conclusions by the South Dakota Task Force to Study Abortion, the bill states that scientific studies and scientific advances show that life begins at conception, and “each human being is totally unique immediately at fertilization.”

The bill further says that in order “to fully protect the rights, interests, and health of the pregnant mother, the rights, interest, and life of her unborn child, and the mother's fundamental natural intrinsic right to a relationship with her child, abortions in South Dakota should be prohibited.”

<...>

After the group issued a final report to lawmakers last month, the four pro-choice advocates on the committee – including South Dakota State Director for Planned Parenthood Kate Looby – charged that majority members changed its content and tone without their knowledge or approval.

The four issued their own "minority report" on abortion, which recommended "prevention of unplanned pregnancies through improved sexuality education and greater access to affordable birth control methods including emergency contraception."

Looby and the other three dissidents on the abortion task force proposed a package of legislation to promote sex education and access to contraception, but lawmakers are one step ahead of thwarting those efforts. Also passed last week in South Dakota was HB 1194, which prohibits distribution of contraceptives to students on public school property, unless it is done by the parent of the student receiving the contraception. After the overwhelming 51-17 vote, that legislation, too, now moves to the state senate.

<...>

Meanwhile, a ban similar to that passed by the South Dakota House last week was introduced in Kentucky and has 36 co-sponsors; Indiana also saw the introduction of comparable legislation that would prohibit all abortions unless a women’s life is in danger.

(Author: Caterhine Komp)


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Sarah Liz
Scarleteen Sexpert

[This message has been edited by KittenGoddess (edited 02-13-2006).]


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