November 07, 2006

Parent Hurdles

“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.

Insurance Hurdles
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.

Doctor Hurdles
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.

Legal Hurdles
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.]

[PHOTO: Uploaded to Flickr on November 4, 2006 by Steve Rhodes.]

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AlphaGirl said...

Articulate and well-put. As a fellow Californian, I'm rocking the vote tomorrow; the erosion of our rights scares me on many levels.
Thank you for running this piece!
It scares me to think that girls who are aready in a precarious spot may be put at risk should they be required to inform their parents of their desire for an abortion. Our streets are already crowded enough with "throwaway kids"...their numbers could increase quickly....many of these kids are kicked out of their homes for drug use, being gay, and for being pregnant. This includes teenage foster kids. Scary.

Teri said...

AlphaGirl - To your point... this post has been haunting me since before Halloween, and I finally decided I had to post it. I kept seeing the fallout of this issue in the headlines. One of the most well-distributed Bay Area free weekly papers had a headline just last week about a baby found in the trash.

A scenario just like this was run on one of my favorite TV shows: Grey's Anatomy. I remember watching it a couple of months ago, thinking to myself "Oh that never happens around here". Wrong.

I don't like to think of myself as pro-abortion, it's a last resort and never a good one, always a hard decision. My point was more to how we seem to be closing down options without presenting any others a "roll back" instead of a move forward.

aus blog said...

World estimations of the number of terminations carried out each year is somewhere between 20 and 88 million.

3,500 per day / 1.3 million per year in America alone.

50% of that 1.3 million claimed failed birth control was to blame.

A further 48% had failed to use any birth control at all.

And 2% had medical reasons.

That means a stagering 98% may have been avoided had an effective birth control been used.

I am a 98% pro-lifer, 2% Pro-choicer, who has no religious convictions at all . I didn't need the fear of god or anything else to come to my decision, just a good sense of what is right and wrong.
You see we were all once a fetus. Is it beyond the realm of possibilities that when your mother first learned she was carrying you, she may have considered her options? What if she had decided to terminate? Would that have been OK?
You would not exist, if you have children they would not exist, and your (husband or wife) would be married to someone else. You would have been deprived of all your experiences and memories. In this day and age with terminations being so readily available and so many being carried out, if you make it to full term you can consider yourself lucky.
Lucky you had a mother that made the choice of life for you.

Don't you think they all deserve the same basic human right, LIFE?

At the point of conception is when life began for you. This was the start of your existence. Your own personal big bang. Three weeks after conception heart started to beat. First brain waves recorded at six weeks after conception. Seen sucking thumb at seven weeks after conception.

Though it pains me to say it but, there may always be a need for the 2% medical reasons and such, but that's all.

So how do we get the other 98% to be responsible...................

How do we get them to be honest with themselves, about when life begins.

Everyone knows it starts at conception, egg+sperm = human being

Sadly many frefer the odd termination over using birth control, they have all kinds of reasons, each of them selfish.

Then there's the christian impossition,(all a bit talibanish), and their men in high places.(church and state should never entwine) their stance against b/c has only added to the numbers.

Sanity must provale, abortions should remain available and safe to the 2% and the rest need to have a good look at themselves and get their act together.

I'd like to see an ultrasound in every clinnic to provide a more informed choice,
before going through with something they may regret.

I'd also like to see effective birth control made available to all who can't afford it.

Anonymous said...

I was sleeping with a boyfriend who seemed able to control his you know when he you know what! Every time he controlled it. Usually we used condoms but not always. One night for some reason he didn't control it and I got pregnant. I was in a different country and didn't know where to go for the morning after pill or what to do! It would have really shaken my family! Would you rather me have had an unwanted baby who I know I would have always resented? Yes I know it was partially my fault but it takes two to tango and the father did NOT want to know! He denied it was his and wouldn't give me any money for the abortion or come with me. Later on after he called me, months later and wanted to hook up and I was like where WERE YOU when I needed your support? Fortunately an ex was there for me cos noone else was. My family would have been horrified and were in a different country my friends were there too and I was about to start a new job. My mother adopted me out and it literally drove her crazy - schizophrenia, worrying about me. I am sane (been tested!) but would you rather I kept my baby or adopted it out but either way literally lost my mind? And with genes like that in the family, keeping the baby would NOT have been wise, my mother was briefly institutionialized, my baby could have been too! Bad genes often skip a generation. I never knew my birth father, goodness knows what I was carrying from HIS side of the family!

Elise said...

Aus blog:

Whenever I encounter pro-life folks, my opinion is that I respect their choice 100%...*if* they are pro-sex ed and also for handing out condoms for free on every street corner. Sadly, few pro-lifers meet these conditions.

My problem with many pro-lifers is that they generally aren't very supportive of easily available, affordable birth control, either. Some even still have the POV that contraception should only be available to married couples (if then!). In other words, if you have sex, you'd be better be prepared to "pay", particularly if you're female.

For what it's worth, my mother didn't make the "choice" to have me --- abortion was very illegal in New York in the 1960s.

If more pro-lifers (or 98%-ers, as you call yourself) were as thoughtful as you are on these issues, perhaps the abortion debate would have moved a lot further forward than it has.