“The Other Abortion Battle; Abortion may be legal in California – but that doesn’t mean you can actually get one.”
This was the lead story in The Guardian, (October, Vol. 41, NO. 2, page 22) one of San Francisco’s free outspoken, albeit liberal, weekly rags.
Never having had to walk in these shoes, I was surprised to learn how many hurdles there are for girls (let’s call them what they are and not lump them in with adults because laws are in place and have been proposed to treat them differently) and women to obtain a legal abortion. The reporter rightly asks, “What good is the right if you cannot exercise it?” Rick Jacobs (journalist/pundit blogger at The Huffington Post) nailed it when he wrote in a pre-election post, we have a “a roll back on choice” happening in the United States.
Even the insurance industry is against them if they do not recognize their pregnancy and obtain the proper support and resources to terminate it in the first trimester. They simply won’t cover a second trimester abortion. Ever woman skips a period every now and then. Often women don’t know they are pregnant until it is too late. (I imagine young women are even more clueless about their own bodies than adults.)
This is both a moral issue and a legal one. Does an insurance company have a right to refuse coverage on moral grounds? Legally, I think the U.S. health insurance industry is standing on one leg.
Do doctors refuse to terminate a pregnancy on moral grounds? Yes. It’s their practice; I guess they should be able to run their business how they want. A friend of mine, also 40 something recently found out there was a problem with her fetus and opted to abort. She was horrified at how she was treated. In the first place, her doctor tried to keep her from performing the amnio which revealed the defect. This same doctor then refused to help her once she made her decision. The hospital “does not do those procedures” she was told and was referred to a clinic where she was put in a gown in a room with 20 other women and made to wait 2 hours. The young woman next to her was there for the same reason and was in tears at this callous treatment.
One way of speaking up is to vote. Today, Californians will vote on Proposition 85 (that’s what we do in California, if you get enough signatures you can propose new state law) is on the November ballot. I would require girls to notify their parents before they terminate a pregnancy. Just another hurdle which in effect takes away the right, or the right thing to do? The young women it affects are not even old enough to vote on this.
We should all be concerned. For those outside the U.S. looking in, mild interest at least. I don’t think that Americans lead the world in women’s rights or advances. In fact, I think that we can be embarrassingly behind the times, morally and socially. (Can you tell I just got back from a 20-month work assignment in a socialist country?)
The story left me wondering, “How well are we preparing our young women to make these grown up decisions?” You may see a future post on this.
For now, I’ll leave you with this post by Gloria Feldt, in which she muses over the language associated with reproductive control, her first in a series about the history of American birth control published in the International Leadership Forum.
[Blog Administrator's note: Some of you will no doubt react strongly to this topic. That's normal. It's a risky post for sure, and it appears here on Purple Women & Friends because contraception, reproductive choice and its ugly step-child, yes abortion, are integral to the conversation. I feel it's important not to shy away from the controversy and to encourage a civil discourse - even critical.]
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