Bad Ideas: Part II-B ~ Topics 4 and 5 — The Ruthless Reality of Abortion, the Ultimate Nightmare & Endless Gender Wars

by faithgibson on February 14, 2019

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Topic 4.

Ruthless Reality ~ Making Abortion Illegal or Unattainable as a political strategy to Win Elections:

Wealthy Women Win, Poor Women (their families and all the rest of us) Lose 

I cannot continue this part of the story without truthfully describing the actual reality of illegal abortions, facts that I lived with as an ER nurse in a busy hospital in the years before Roe v. Wade

Simply making abortion illegal and unsafe did not mean that abortions didn’t occur, just that they were dangerous illegal back-alley procedures sought out by desperate women and performed by people that didn’t know what they were doing.

Bungled abortions include unwashed hands and unsterile instruments; both drastically increase the risk of virulent infection or torrential hemorrhage that ends in death or disaster for the mother

Abortion for the Rich and Famous ~ Easy-peasy!

The first and most fundamental truth about anti-abortion laws in the US is economic, that is, wealthy and/or well-connected women have absolutely NO problem getting an unwanted pregnancy lawfully and safely terminated.   

These wealthy women just get on a plane and fly off to another state or country where abortion is lawful. That ‘choice’ also provides these economically secure women access to a well-staffed clinic or hospital and well-trained professionals who have the knowledge, skills, sterile equipment and access to emergency resources that virtually assures a safe outcome.

But the benefits of wealth are not restricted women, as the men who impregnated them directly benefit from their ability – via wealth — to have these ‘inconvenient’ problems ‘fixed’.

Newspapers often run stories about conservative Senators, Congressmen or high-ranking political operatives who quietly arranged and paid for a legal abortion for a mistress or paramore. obviously, permitting his girlfriend to give birth to his baby would create a scandal and threaten his career. So he was delighted to pony up the bucks to fly his sweetie off to someplace that for a price would quietly and safely relieve him of this burden. 

Odd thing, but in the 45 years since Roe v Wade became the law of the lan (1973), I’ve never heard a single anti-abortion activist mention this loophole for the wealthy. Nor have I heard any of them suggest passage of laws that would prohibit women of childbearing age from off flying to countries with legal abortion services unless they first provided the airline with a certified copy a negative pregnancy test performed within the previous 24 hours. 

I can only assume that millions of anti-abortion activists believe safe legal abortions are OK for wealthy women, but not for ordinary American women of limited means.  

When it comes to the not rich or famous — ordinary women of limited means — my role as an ER nurse or working in Labor & Delivery Room nurse brought me face to face with terribly disturbing things that most anti-abortion activists are unaware of or they knowingly refuse consider

For example, ER nurses can tell that a botched-abortion patient has been admitted to the unit by the putrid and fulminating smell of sepsis. At this stage of a virulent infection, the fetus would have already died. If the mother was very lucky, the only permanent damage would be irreversible infertility, as this kind of infection seals her fallopian tubes and ruins her ovaries. If unlucky, she would also die a painful and miserable death from the infection.

Funny thing, but when pregnant women die as a result of a botched abortion — whether self-induced or at the dirty hands of a back alley butcher — the UNBORN BABY ALWAYS DIES as well. For anyone who wants to save unborn fetuses, I’m here to tell you that making abortions illegal does not accomplish this goal.

Making abortion illegal or unattainable in the US, whether barriers are financial or geographical, disproportionately targets poor or very young women without an independent income. Often these are single mothers who are the family’s sole support.

This demographic cannot afford to drive or fly to another state or country to access legal and safe medical services. And for the same economic reasons, this demographic groups of women, they can least afford to lose their job due to pregnancy or the need to care for their newborn

A different but no less disturbing reality of our crazy abortion laws are the changes made to Title X some years ago by a Republican-dominated Congress 

When Title X was first passed (and signed by President Nixon) it specifically authorized medical facilities run by the US Armed Forces to provide safe abortions services to members of the military and their family. But Several years ago, the Congress amended this federal law in an “across the board”  prohibition of abortions services in any and all circumstances. It denies funding to women’s health clinics overseas if they so much as provide information to the mother about where she mother can find safe and legal services. 

This restriction also applies to military doctors and prohibits them from providing abortion services when the fetus has birth defects incompatible with life, such as anencephaly (absence of the brain). These mothers are forced choose between (a) an out-of-pocket expense over $10,000 OR (b) enduring their doomed pregnancy for 9 months, while the family lives every day with the knowledge that the baby will be stillborn, die at birth or shortly after. 

The Ultimate Nightmare

But the damage of unsafe illegal abortions is NOT strictly a problem for mothers or unborn babies. In many cases, these tragedies involve other family members, including small children, and ultimately ruins other lives. One example is provided by the first-person account of a man in his late 50s It’s a story you’ll never be able to get out of your mind

It began when this man was 7 years old and living with his mother and 15-month-old baby sister. One evening after the two children had been put to bed, his mother went into the bathroom and locked the door.

Early the next morning his baby sister woke up hungry and crying hysterically to be picked up and fed. But oddly, his mother did not come out of the bathroom to take care of her, in spite of his calling her again and again. So he got up and banged on the door and kept calling her, but she wouldn’t come out and didn’t say anything to him.

He didn’t know what was wrong or what to do next, except to give his crying baby sister a bottle. This settled her for a while, but her night diaper was soaked. He did his best to change her diaper, but he couldn’t get it to stay put. Many a grown man has failed to figure out how to get a diaper to properly cover the business-end of a wiggling infant and keep it in place while trying stick sharp pins into the fabric without harming the baby or jabbing one’s own fingers.  I can’t imagine trying to do this as a child.

But that first bottle and diaper change was only the beginning of the many problems these children faced. By the end of the day, milk carton was empty so he could no longer give a bottle to his baby sister. He tried to stop her cries by stuffing tiny morsels of different foods in her mouth, while staving off his own hunger with dry cereal and cold leftovers.

The warm sunny day gradually faded into a cold dark night. There was no heat in the house and he didn’t know how to turn the overhead lights on. The little boy did his best to take care of his baby sister, but still, he was only 7.

He was lonely, frightened, and just  couldn’t understand why his mom wouldn’t come out of the bathroom in spite of his pleading and knocking on the door. After it got pitch dark, he took his little sister to bed with him, but his inability to diaper her properly meant that both of them got wet and cold and smelled bad. It was the longest and most miserable night of his young life. 

This living nightmare melded into a long and increasingly intolerable second day. By then all the accessible food had been eaten and the children had no more dry clothes. There was no one for him to talk to, no one to comfort them, no way to know how much longer this would go on, and worst of all, no explanation for why his mother wouldn’t come out of the bathroom and take care of them like she usually did.

Had he done something to make her mad at him? Was he being punished? Even so, why wouldn’t she come out to take care of his baby sister? Surely she hadn’t done anything to deserve being neglected like this. No answers came.  

Finally a neighbor happened by late in the afternoon of the second day and found the two children all alone. The reason was soon apparently. After breaking the lock on the bathroom door, they found his mother lying dead on the floor in a dark pool of her own blood, the fatal consequences of her attempt to abort an advancing pregnancy. The brief but shocking glimpse of her partially-naked body smeared with blood and folded into a crumpled heap on the bathroom floor can never be erased from his adult mind. 

This badly traumatized little boy grew up to be a man whose life was forever haunted by this tragic experience.  Nonetheless he was willing to share the story of these horrific events with a national radio audience, hoping it would keep this awful thing from befalling other mothers and other children.

The take-home message is simple — society is obligated to be both ethical and compassionate by providing access to effective contraception and safe, legal abortion services.

The cost of the alternative is just too high — gruesome, painful and unnecessary maternal deaths and unborn fetuses and orphaned older children forced to bear the unbearable.  

Topic 5.

The Endless & Illogical Gender War to Control Female Reproductive Biology

In general, men do not bear any of the burdens associated with pregnancy — not the physicality of morning sickness, stretch marks, awkwardness, anxiety over finances and the loss of income at a time of increased expense.

Instead, many men choose a one-night fling or have affairs and then go away, leaving the impregnated woman to live every hour of every day for nine long months, endure many hours of painful labor and the hard work of pushing an eight pound baby out and then breastfeeding him or her round the clock. This is inevitably followed by shouldering near-total responsibility to feed, care for and raise the child for 18-plus years.

And yet it is men with power and influence — priests, ministers, rabbis, legislators, lawyers, judges, governors, presidents, and big donors to partisan politics — who insist that the female gender does not legally or ethically deserve to determine their own reproductive biology and or choose whether or not they are able to take on the life-long responsibilities that go along with caring for and raising a child at that time in their lives.

 

It always wonders me when I see a room full of men in expensive suits and fancy watches pontificating about the woman’s absolute responsibility to avoid getting pregnant, as if men played no part in the act of conception.

My eldest daughter got the man’s part in sex and reproduction exactly right when she said:

If you don’t want a baby, don’t ejaculate in the birth canal! 

End unnecessary abortions and the irrational shaming of women by putting the responsibility squarely where it begins and where it all  belongs–  with the men who are having sex.  When a man chooses to ejaculate in the birth canal, he is logically responsible if his female partner become pregnant and it is he who logically must bear the cost for caring, feeding and raising the child.

Put the blame, and shame, and the social and economic expense squarely where it belongs — the man who ejaculated in the birth canal —  and this anti-woman, anti-abortion, unethical debate being used as a political football for partisan advantage with vanish like wisps of morning fog at sunrise.  

Until then, we will continue to have a certain class of men — mostly wealthy, in positions of political power and insulated against the effects of their actions — will continue to insist that it is solely the woman’s responsibility to prevent unplanned pregnancies.

And should she fail for any reason (he refused or forgot to use a condom or it broke) and her male partner decides not to “play house”, she is illogically bound to welcome the pregnancy gracefully and without complaint, and become solely responsible for supporting and raising the child.

These same men, and many others like them, boldly insist that it is “right and proper” to pass laws that make safe abortions either illegal or inaccessible. Likewise, they insist they are doing God’s bidding by sponsoring laws that permit the criminal prosecution of women they suspect of directly or indirectly causing a miscarriage or doing something while pregnant they believe might be risky to the developing fetus.

This kind of propriety “Father/Doctor Knows Best” thinking extends to term pregnancies when the doctor preference or hospital protocols is to perform an elective Cesarean for a supposedly ‘large’ baby, normal twin pregnancy or the mother had a previous Cesarean delivery. If she refuses this advice, the doctor or hospital attorney simply call a juvenile court judge and generally get a court order to perform the surgery without the mother’s consent.

All this is promoted by well-meaning people, as well as politicians seeking votes, and others who don’t know the real facts about unsafe abortions or just don’t care.

Nonetheless many people devote years of their life collecting and disbursing many millions of dollars in order to convince state and federal legislatures to close clinics that provide safe and legal abortion services.

This kind of “play to pay” wealth is also used to finances election campaigns that political operatives believe will bring about more favorable (i.e more restrive) abortions-related rulings by the US Supreme Court 

Apparently, they want to be sure that other 7-year olds somewhere in America become orphaned and permanently traumatized when their mothers, desperate and in dire financial straits, attempt to end an untenable pregnancy and die on the bathroom in a pool of their own blood, leaving behind their orphaned children and a bottomless sorrow.

God help America, land of dispassionate, clever, mean and heartless hoards of arrogant, uber-rich and politically influential men who have convinced themselves that they alone know what is best for girls and women.

They believe they have the final say over all female reproductive functions, thus reducing the status of adult women to property, with “ownership” rights in the hands of male relatives, doctors, lawyers, and judges.

But these ‘alternative facts’ are wrong. Furthermore, no self-respecting man would stand for this if the gender roles were reversed.

The Critical Missing Ingredient – Civic Virtue

This is illogical and wrong for so many reasons, but the biggest of all is that it leaves out civic virtue — ethical principles that apply to a fair and functional government and the simple verbs of human compassion and caring for the weak and vulnerable with empathy and tenderness.

 

It leaves out the Golden Rule: 

Do onto others, as ye would have them do onto to you

 

@@@

 

 


Unfinished Work-N-Progress ~ Part III – Unpacking the Gov. Northam’s story point-by-point and putting the story to bed


2019 ~ Proposed Changes in Title X

  • The current Republican administration has issued new proposed regulations in the federal family planning program under Title X that would make significant changes to the program and to the types of providers that qualify for funding.
  • These proposed regulations would:

    • Block the availability of federal funds to family planning providers like Planned Parenthood that also offer abortion services;
    • Curtail counseling and referrals to abortion services by Title X funded providers;
    • Eliminate current requirements that Title X sites offer a broad range of medically approved family planning methods and non-directive pregnancy options counseling that includes information about prenatal care/delivery, adoption, and abortion; and
    • Direct new funds to faith-based and other organizations that promote fertility awareness and abstinence as methods of family planning.
  • Sites that do not offer abortion services may still qualify for Title X funds, but may decide not to participate because of concerns about clinical standards of care, medical liability, and burdensome administrative requirements.
  • If fully implemented, the proposed changes to Title X would shrink the network of participating providers and have major repercussions for low-income women across the country that rely on them for their family planning care.

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