again nails it. Nobody likes abortion; it ought to be “safe, legal and rare:”
to live in a world where every pregnancy is planned, every baby is wanted and
healthy and loved enough to thrive in this hard world.
“We live in
about this; “In 1965, illegal abortion accounted for 17 percent of all
"reported" deaths attributed to pregnancy and childbirth that year;
the actual percentage was much higher.”
bill will force women into the shadows
I do want to end abortion," state Sen. Dan Patrick told a Houston
Chronicle reporter Thursday.
those words, Patrick, the father of the infamous sonogram bill and recently
announced GOP candidate for lieutenant governor, confirmed the real motivation
behind legislation the Senate considers today to drastically restrict abortion
rights in Texas.
Of course, Patrick was quick to follow up, for cover-your-butt
purposes in case of future litigation: "This bill is not about that."
the bill isn't about the good senator's political prospects, either.
Patrick's comment confirmed something else: the tragic futility of the
"pro-life" movement. In reality, almost every single one of us would
like to end abortion, or, more accurately, the circumstances and tragedies that
lead to abortion.
We'd love to
live in a world where every pregnancy is planned, every baby is wanted and
healthy and loved enough to thrive in this hard world.
We live in
reality, though. And the reality is this: No law, no vote-hungry politician, no
movement of well-meaning citizens (and yes, I do believe most of the pro-lifers
are well meaning), will ever end abortion.
A pastor who
attended the Austin news conference where Patrick made his remarks was quoted
saying "abortion began in Texas, and I pray it ends in Texas." Of
course, abortion didn't begin in Texas. It was legal in some states years
before the landmark 1973 Texas case Roe v. Wade legalized abortion nationwide.
But as long as there has been sex, there has been unplanned pregnancy. And as
long as there has been unplanned pregnancy, there has been abortion.
hope is to keep it safe, legal and rare.
the one Patrick and other GOP leaders are pushing threaten that endeavor to its
core. Instead of supporting legislation that could really reduce abortions -
by, say, adequately funding family planning services so poor women have access
to birth control - so-called pro-lifers pursue an agenda that chips away at rights
intended to protect women.
Let me step
back. With this column, I'm breaking an important rule never to address the
fundamental merits of abortion rights. After all, we had that debate 40 years
ago, didn't we? And the highest court in the land deemed abortion a
constitutional right of all U.S. women. But another reason I avoid it is
because the debate itself is futile. If you feel strongly about it, you can't
be swayed. This column won't change your mind.
don't pick a side based on logic, or even information. They decide based on
their gut, their emotions. Some are convinced by testimonials like the kind
we've heard recently in legislative committee hearings from women who regretted
their abortions and experienced trauma afterward. Some are compelled by
religion or personal circumstances or by images of vulnerable, though
And many of
us who believe in abortion rights are not unmoved by all of this. We are not
comfortable with the idea of aborting a 20-week pregnancy, even if the fetus
hasn't yet reached viability. We can count the fingers, same as anyone.
But we also
know Republican lawmakers won't stop with 20 weeks. Next time, it will be 18
weeks. And then 16. And we know that criminalizing abortion, or restricting access
to it, won't alleviate the trauma. It will create more. It may send a desperate
woman to the border to buy abortion pills in open-air markets. It won't save
the fetus. It may just cost the mother her own life if she's desperate enough
to turn to the back alley for help.
illegal abortion accounted for 17 percent of all "reported" deaths
attributed to pregnancy and childbirth that year; the actual percentage was
much higher, according to the Guttmacher Institute. And in the early 1970s many
women had to travel thousands of miles to other states for abortions, risking
the women's health and resulting in later-term abortions. After abortion was
legalized, women's deaths plummeted and the proportion of abortions done early
in the first trimester rose dramatically.
past couple of weeks, I've read so many emails, fielded so many questions about
how I can believe the way I do on this issue. They see the issue in black and
white. Life and death. And they can't see the gray.
gray. As a mother of two beautiful daughters, I have marveled at those sonogram
images with tears in my eyes. I have strained to count the fingers and make out
the grainy faces. I was so blessed that my girls were both born healthy,
blessed that they were planned, blessed that I have a loving, supportive
husband to help me raise them, blessed that we have jobs that enable us to care
for, feed and clothe them.
is so blessed. And for those women, there should be a choice. And it should be hers,
her family's, and her God's - not her government's.
goal of "ending abortion" is noble, but also naive and dangerous. It
won't save babies; it will endanger the health of mothers who will be forced
into the shadows to access their right to choose.”
Here from the ‘why didn’t I write this’ file, is Lisa
“Where sex and reproduction are concerned, men and women
will never be equal.
Women will always bear the brunt of the responsibility for
family planning and pregnancy, which is why the folks in Austin are back at it
again this week, trying to help the little women in this endeavor by protecting
their health with unnecessary regulations and restricting access to constitutionally
protected medical options.
Still, I can't help but think the men of this state are worthy of some
Texas-style reproductive protection as well. The Legislature's compelling
interest in restricting the reproductive rights of Texans shouldn't stop at
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT relating to men's reproductive
health and protection of potential personhood
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1. (a) The findings indicate that:
(1) substantial medical evidence recognizes that prostate
health and heart disease may be associated with erectile dysfunction.
(2) the state has a compelling state interest in protecting
potential lives of Pre-Conceived future citizens, and also the health of men,
thousands of whom regret vasectomies and later opt to reverse them.
“(3) unregulated vasectomies result in fewer unwanted
pregnancies and, thus, thousands of fewer births per year of future taxpaying
citizens of the state of Texas. They also result in fewer impoverished children
and fewer inmates in the state prison system, a job-killing outcome that
endangers the employment of social workers, prison guards and law enforcement
(3) restricting elective vasectomies does not impose an
undue burden or a substantial obstacle on a man's reproductive rights because
(a) abstinence is an effective means of birth control, according to sex
education curriculum approved by the Texas State Board of Education; and (b)
similar regulations restricting the reproductive rights of women have been
deemed acceptable policy by the state of Texas.
(4) all sperm is sacred, given its unique contribution to
potential personhood, and thus, should not be left subject to the unregulated
whim of chemically induced arousal. This Act amends the Health and Safety Code
by establishing Chapter 1004, to be entitled Men's Reproductive Health, as
SUBCHAPTER A: Vasectomy restrictions and informed consent
Sec. 1004.001 - Not fewer than 24 hours or more than 72
hours before the vasectomy is performed, a physician whose office is located
not farther than 7.3 miles from the male patient's home (in case of emergency),
shall: (a) instruct the man to provide a sample that can be used for semen
analysis (b) present enlarged images of the sperm to the patient and, in a
manner understandable to a layperson, give a verbal explanation of the number,
unique characteristics and life-giving qualities of the sperm (c) provide a state-approved
pamphlet which may or may not include medically accurate information explaining
complications associated with the vasectomy procedure, difficulty of reversal,
psychological trauma of abdicating pro-creative duties and the potential of an
unfounded link to ear cancer
Sec. 1004.002 - If a patient chooses to go forward with the
procedure, the physician must (a) obtain approval from the man's wife or sexual
partner in the form of notarized affidavit (b) ensure that the procedure takes
place at an ambulatory surgical center, not in the comfort of the physician's
private office (c) attempt one more time to talk the man out of it
Sec. 1004.003 - No exceptions to the provisions in this
subchapter shall be made on the basis of the man's age, number of children,
economic situation or danger to his partner in the event a child is conceived
SUBCHAPTER B: Regulation of erectile dysfunction medications
Sec. 1004.004 - Not less than 72 hours before Viagra or any
other erectile dysfunction medication is prescribed, a physician whose office
is located not farther than 5.2 miles from the male patient's pharmacy shall
(a) inform the male patient about the health risks associated with erectile
dysfunction (b) perform a live, real-time examination of the patient's
prostate, otherwise known as a rectal exam (c) schedule a second appointment
for a separate, cardiac stress test (d) provide a verbal explanation of the
side effects of the medication accompanied by a graphic video, which may or may
not be medically accurate, depicting symptoms such as long-lasting, painful
erections, sudden hearing loss, upset stomach, blurred vision and bad breath
(e) provide a referral to a state-licensed sex therapist, who must approve any
medication prescribed by the physician (f) notify patient of alternatives to
medication, including celibacy and natural remedies
Sec. 1004.005 - VIOLATION (a) physician who performs any
procedure or prescribes any medication in violation of this chapter engages in
unprofessional conduct for which the physician's license shall be revoked under
Chapter 164 Occupations code.
Section 2. This Act takes effect on the 91st day after the