Thursday, April 19, 2007

Storm Clouds

Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but one day soon a woman in the late stages of her pregnancy will face the excruciating prospect of having to end that pregnancy or face serious health consequences. When she discusses her situation with her doctor, she will learn that one option that has been used in the past is no longer available to her. Not because the procedure is unsafe or ineffective, and not because medical professionals, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, believe that it is a procedure that is medically inappropriate for use in such situations. No, she will learn that Congress, President Bush, and the Supreme Court have made the decision that this procedure should not be used, regardless of her individual situation and what she and her doctor believe is in her best medical interests. She also will learn that, if she is unhappy with the decision that has been made for her, she is welcome to hire a lawyer and bring to the courts the intensely personal issue of whether her pregnancy can or should continue, even at the expense of her health.

When Congress enacts, the President approves, and the Supreme Court upholds a ban on a medical procedure that in some circumstances is a professionally recommended option to protect a woman's health, the situation needs to be described as it is: government-approved misogyny. Yesterday's decision in Gonzales v. Carhart calls to mind Justice Blackmun's no longer completely accurate closing statement in an earlier abortion-related decision, Webster v. Reproductive Health Services: "For today, at least, the law of abortion stands undisturbed. For today, the women of this Nation still retain the liberty to control their destinies. But the signs are evident and very ominous, and a chill wind blows."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You rock!!!

4:50 PM  
Blogger E said...

Right on!

2:36 PM  

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