We’ve heard a lot of back-and-forthing recently about whether women deserve health care and, overwhelmingly, the answer is ‘no.’ Over a third of the people in the U.S. are opposed to any monies going to family planning, including women’s health services like cervical cancer screenings. ” From Planned Parenthood being inches away form the chopping block, to “Obamacare” being mostly forbidden to receive any federal defunded due to riders Obama agreed to*, from women in D.C. being denied city-based financial assistance for abortions even though it won’t save the government a single penny to the myriad state legislations making not only abortion, but all women’s health services increasingly difficult to obtain, a small portion of the population seems to have woken up and remembered that we are 51% women and that we have mothers, sisters, friends, aunts and grandmothers who are being punched over and over again. That’s cute. However, it’s decades too late and the abortion fight is all but lost. Here are (some of) the reasons.
Apologetics and Rhetoric
Recently, Sen. Kyl said that abortion is “well over 90%” of what Planned Parenthood does. Everyone from Cecile Richards to Stephen Colbert was quick to point out that he was a liar-liar-pants-on-fire and that, of all of PP’s services, abortion makes up only 3% of what they do. Here’s the thing. It shouldn’t matter. Abortion is legal and, despite what the people with their placards would have you believe, incredibly safe. If 99% of what Planned Parenthood does were abortions, no one should have blinked an eye. This is the equivalent of saying “90% of what that dentist does is fill cavities, so he’s always using his drill.” He’s doing his job and his job is a legal service provided to people at their own behest. If anything, the dentist example is less ethical, because dentists are experts at laying on the guilt trip for you to get your teeth ‘fixed,’ but PP just does what they’re asked to, including on-site counseling about the procedure and other options available (just in case women somehow don’t know that an abortion will make them un-pregnant).
Furthermore, abortions are always painted as a “difficult” choice. No doubt, there’s thought and consideration, sometimes even inner turmoil, that accompany the decision to have an abortion, but all this sort of language does is embolden the legislation to force through more legislation to “protect” women from themselves and the increased mystique of abortion makes more women worry about their choice to have an abortion, delay their getting of an abortion until it’s more risky and more expensive and, in some unfortunate cases, chases them to illegal clinics where they are maimed. Abortion may be a difficult choice for some women, but it needs to be painted first and foremost as a “personal choice.”
Women’s rights advocates are painted as hairy-legged man-haters who, for some reason, love having sex with men and filling out their “Buy 10, Get 1” card at the clinic. Reasonable people are either mutely pro-choice to the public (Dems and pro-choice GOPers who only mumble about “women’s choice” a few times an election cycle) or simply don’t think it matters because of “Roe v. Wade.” Talking about “women’s issues” is something that only happens behind a podium every few years, not something to be discussed around the dinner table. Our hang-ups about sex and refusal to talk about abortion has built up a veil that the forced-birth movement has been only to happy to create their own mythos about. In the late 70s and 80s, celebrity women would routinely talk about their experiences with abortion, their unfortunate illegal experiences and their easy, safe, compassionate experiences with the newly-legalized procedure. Now, those stories have vanished and become anecdotes about “This girl my brother knows” who ends up driving her car off a cliff into an orphanage after realizing that she “killed her baby.”
They’ve already lost
The Roe v. Wade decision had almost nothing to do with women. The case was about whether a doctor had the right to perform a procedure without his own privacy or practice being jeopardized, not if women had the right to decide what happened to their bodies. The “undue burden” has been found only once and, since then, anything else the forced-birth movement can throw at women to slut-shame them has been welcomed with open arms, including making women pay for their own forced ultrasounds.
Several states have imposed waiting periods,mandatory but medically unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds and, in South Dakota, requiring that a woman visit a “Crisis Pregnancy Center,” a volunteer-staffed office, usually Christian, that’s only business is dissuading women from getting abortions through lies and scare tactics**. Ten states include information to all women about the fetus’ ability to feel pain, despite the protests of SCIENCE that say a fetus cannot feel pain until well into the fifth month of gestation.
Furthermore, 87% of counties have no abortion provider and three states (ND, SD, MS) have only one abortion provider. In South Dakota, the provider has to be flown in once a week by private groups and the women who seek an abortion need to be able to travel for hours to get there and be able to afford childcare or a hotel while they visit, plus a second trip when they come back after their mandatory three-day waiting period. The median cost of a first-trimester abortion nationwide is $523, hardly chump change by any definition and incredibly difficult to come by within three months for the tens of thousands of women struggling to make ends meet, teenagers, the unemployed or those on federal assistance (who can’t use their money on it anyway).
TRAP laws are designed solely to make abortion clinics have to shut down, demanding that they meet standards not imposed on any other out-patient procedure clinics, such as the recently failed measure in Maryland requiring that women who want abortions be transported only be ambulance, or the passed one in Virginia saying that all abortion clinics must meet hospital standards.” Abortion has been taken out of hospitals, making abortion clinics an easy target for extremists, whether they picket or bomb.
There are at least six other categories and ten extra points to add to each of these paragraphs, but I have homework and am sick to my stomach thinking about how this country has giddily allowed its women to be made into second-class citizens.
*Just a partial list. The Democrats agreed to every one except blowing up the EPA and stripping Planned Parenthood of all funding and they didn’t speak out to the American people once to enumerate them.
**This includes telling them that abortion causes breast cancer and that they are XX% more likely to commit suicide. They give pregnancy tests, but refuse to tell the results. They show graphic videos of illegal or faked abortions and not one of them is medically trained, yet several centers offer (and insist upon) providing ultrasounds.