Religious Voices Weigh in on Conscience


Today marks the end of the 30-day comment period on President Obama’s
proposal to rescind the "conscience clause" implemented in the final
days of the Bush presidency. There’s been a lot of misinformation
about what Obama’s proposal mean, particularly when it comes to conscience
protections for abortion. Some
groups have falsely alleged that rescinding the "conscience clause"
will force doctors to perform abortions against their will. In fact, current
underlying laws protect such providers and these conscience protections will
remain in place. Rescinding the "conscience clause," which was
implemented by the outgoing Bush administration on January 20, 2009, simply
returns conscience protections to the way they were less than three months ago
— the same way they were under President Bush for eight years and prior.

While some religious groups do oppose the rescission, many support it
because of their concern that it is overly broad and vague and could be harmful
to health care and counter-productive to efforts to reduce unintended
pregnancies and, in turn, the number of abortions.

From the United
Methodist Church:

 

The Provider Refusal Law already ensures that health-care providers do not have
to provide abortion and sterilization services if doing so contradicts their
religious or moral beliefs.

…[President Bush] extended it beyond abortion and sterilization to
contraception, fertility treatments, end-of-life care, and many other
health-care services. By limiting access to birth control, the expansion of the
conscience clause actually hurts efforts to prevent unintended pregnancies and
reduce the need for abortion.

…The federal statues already in effect were clear and have proved
themselves useful over nearly three decades. A change was not needed to ensure
greater awareness and enforcement. Instead, the last-minute expansion brought
confusion rather than clarity, imposed unnecessary certification restrictions
on economically strapped health-care institutions, and left millions of
low-income patients vulnerable to being denied essential health-care services.

Broadening of "The Provider Refusal Rule" undermined the ability
of organizations to guarantee that they will provide comprehensive health
services. Disruption of that guarantee puts patients’ health at risk. The
United Methodist Church cannot support denial of what it considers a basic
human right, nor can it endorse any government action that puts the most
vulnerable in our society more at risk.

From the United
Church of Christ
:

Care provider exemption provisions already exist in HHS
regulations…The Bush "conscience clause" obscures this obligation,
raising questions about whether it could limit everything from HIV tests to
blood transfusions to emergency contraception for rape victims.

…Critics charge that the Bush regulations could increase unplanned
pregnancies, for instance, if a provider is morally opposed to contraception
and does not refer the patient.

…The Rev. Loey M. Powell, co-team leader of the Cleveland Based Program
Team in Justice and Witness Ministries, noted that the UCC supports the
rescinding of the conscience clause as an extension of health care rights.

From the American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League, Catholics for Choice,
Disciples for Choice, Disciples Justice Action Network, Equal Partners in
Faith, Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, The Jewish
Council for Public Affairs, Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, National
Council of Jewish Women, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Union for
Reform Judaism, Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, United
Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, General Board of Church & Society,
Women of Reform Judaism:

Virtually all American women–98 percent–use a contraceptive at some point in
their lives. And the vast majority of Americans–including people of
faith–support universal access to birth control and accurate contraceptive
information. The refusal regulation imposes dangerous obstacles to women’s
access to reproductive health care and inaccurately does so in the name of
religious liberty. We strongly support the accommodation of employees’
religious beliefs in the workplace, but a woman, regardless of her income, age,
religion, race, or geographic location must have access to the health care
services she needs, including the full range of contraceptive options and
information.

Our faiths motivate us to speak out for comprehensive health care, including
reproductive health care, for women, children, and families around our country
– many of whom are part of our faith communities.

It’s also worth noting that religious
leaders from
across the ideological spectrum who disagree on rescinding the
rule — from Richard Land to David Saperstein — have found some common ground:

While some of us would urge the Department of Health and
Human Services…to retain the "Regulation" promulgated at the end of
last year…and others of us would urge the Department to rescind it, in whole
or in part, we agree that the conscience protections for healthcare providers
contained in Federal statutory law since 1973 provide appropriate and
much-needed protection for institutional and individual healthcare providers
who object to performing certain procedures, such as abortion or sterilization.

The group is calling for the Obama administration to "be much more
specific about what kind of exemptions religious health care workers should be
entitled to when it comes to tasks they morally oppose."

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To schedule an interview with contact director of communications Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

  • invalid-0

    When talking in Turkey, I think President Obama took a good stance on his views of religion in the United States: http://www.newsy.com/videos/new_religion_in_america/

    I really think that the separation of church and state in America has become skewed in recent years, setting a dangerous precedence. I think we finally are going back in the right direction.

  • invalid-0

    I understand protecting access to contraception. But what if someone wants a doctor to implant multiple IVF embryos they can’t properly care for (a la octuplet-mom) or wants a doctor to violate their conscience and help them kill themselves through assisted suicide? This issue is more complicated then both sides make it out to be.

  • invalid-0

    Or someone is a Christian Scientist and refuses to prescribe any medicine whatsoever?
    Or I have religious isues with people of other colors .And I refuse to rent a house to blacks, or refuse to hire a black person, or refuse to allow balcks on the bus I drive?
    Hey, that should be my right.
    Or, perhaps I am Muslim and I will not carry mixed couple in my cab, or anyone carrying a bottle of wine.I hope you end up standing in the cab line in the middle of winter in Minneapolis because the Muslim cabbie won’t carry you and your girlfriend (or your boy friend for that matter).

  • invalid-0

    But what if someone wants a doctor to implant multiple IVF embryos they can’t properly care for (a la octuplet-mom) or wants a doctor to violate their conscience and help them kill themselves through assisted suicide?

    That’s what written regulations, if not legislated laws, are for. So that these issues are debated publicly, and rules applied consistently, rather than at the whim of individuals’ consciences.

    This issue is more complicated then both sides make it out to be.

    No, not really. If a medical provider has a personal moral objection to a procedure, then that is protected narrowly, not expansively, for very good reasons. (Let me introduce you to Dr. Honkerson here, whose religious faith holds it immoral to give medical care to non-Aryans…)

  • progo35

    The problem with all of this discussion is that from what I see, many people who run this blog would be more than happy to force obstetricians, catholic hospitals, and other health providers to provide abortions or loose public funding or their license.

    For instance, editorial pages have recently blasted health providers who do not want to perform or give referrals for abortions and said that such people “should not practice women’s health.” This amounts to forcing dissenting health care providers out of business. Another interview from a NARAL spokesman said that doctors should be forced to provide referrals for abortions, even though women can go to the phone book and find that information.

    I say it would be better to refine the conscience class to be more specific rather than rescinding it. That way people can get contraceptives that they need and doctors do not need to be forced into performing procedures that, in their view, kills a person.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • invalid-0

    Progo35, you’re conflating three things:

    1. Providing abortion services
    2. Providing abortion referrals
    3. Providing contraception

    There are uncontested regulations already in place that ensure that no medical practitioner will ever have to perform/assist #1 if s/he objects to it.

    #2 is a necessity for women to exercise their reproductive health options, and no, a referral is not just a doctor handing a patient a phone number (any more than a prescription is just a slip of paper with the name of the medication). Providing an abortion referral is not the same as providing an abortion, and you’re going to find little sympathy for a practitioner who so virulently hates abortion that s/he refuses to provide the former. The legal availability of abortion is a reality, and medical professionals who object to that can only distance themselves from it so far before patients’ rights suffer unacceptably.

    #3 is the real reason why the regulations were revised, and thankfully you don’t seem to be arguing against contraceptive access.

    There is no need to make the regulation more specific rather than recind it, because no one was ever being forced to perform abortions anyway, before or after. Only abortion referrals were at issue—and if a doctor refuses to do that much, then s/he can most certainly “not practice women’s health.”

  • progo35

    I don’t object to contraception because I think that that is a legitimate freedom for women and men. In my opinion, this constitutes true family planning that people in both the pro choice and pro life communities can use in good conscience. It’s when people actually end the life of a human being/organism/person that, in my opinion, the issue becomes morally contentious.

    I do think that the conscience clause should be amended to be more specific, but I maintain my view that it shouldn’t be rescinded. I don’t think that doctors should have to provide abortion referrals if they do not feel comfortable doing so, because, again, the phone book lists names of other abortion providers that the woman involved can investigate.

    Moreover, this gets into other issues. For instance, as a disability advocate, I oppose assisted suicide because it discriminates against the handicapped, and if I were a doctor in Montana, Oregon, or Washington, were assisted suicide is legal, I would not, under any circumstances, provide a referral to another doctor who would perform a procedure. Yet, some assisted suicide advocates would like to do the same thing as some in the pro choice commnunity by forcing doctors to do so. I don’t mean to conflate these issues, but they are related in how the AS advocacy movement has framed it’s argument, largely after the abortion rights argument of “my body, my choice.” The problem with the conscience clause as it is now is that it is too open to interpretation and contention. However, it it were ammended to distinguish between procedures that are elective verses ones that impact the patient’s survival, etc, I think that it would be fine.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • invalid-0

    I don’t object to contraception because I think that that is a legitimate freedom for women and men. In my opinion, this constitutes true family planning that people in both the pro choice and pro life communities can use in good conscience. It’s when people actually end the life of a human being/organism/person that, in my opinion, the issue becomes morally contentious.

    Progo35, do bear in mind that a small-but-vocal segment of the pro-life crowd rails against (artificial) contraception for the same reason they despise abortion—because they believe it kills a human organism. Never mind the fact that the human organism may be no more than a fertilized, not-yet-implanted egg; they draw the line so severely at contraception that halting the process one hour afterward is as morally bankrupt as doing so at twenty weeks.

    That’s why a lot of people were rubbing their hands gleefully at the new regulation—because pro-life practitioners would no longer have to put their dislike of contraception aside on the job. They could assert their moral disapproval, leave patients in the lurch, and be legally protected in doing so.

    Where do you draw the line? You’re willing to tell these people who disapprove of contraception, “Get over yourselves and do your job.” Which I don’t disagree with, but do you see that you’re drawing a line, just as much as I am?

    I don’t think that doctors should have to provide abortion referrals if they do not feel comfortable doing so, because, again, the phone book lists names of other abortion providers that the woman involved can investigate.

    Do you understand what a referral is? If I want to see, say, a skin specialist, I can’t just look one up in the phone book and show up in his/her office. I have to go to my primary-care doctor first, get a referral, and then go to the specialist with that document in hand. I don’t recall the exact rules surrounding this, but I do know that my insurance won’t pay one red cent for the specialist if I don’t have a referral on file.

    You’re thinking a doctor writing a referral is the equivalent of giving out an abortion provider’s business card, when in fact it’s a necessary part of the medical-care paper trail. If getting around this were as simple as pulling out a telephone book, do you think this issue would have figured so prominently in the debate?

  • progo35

    You’re correct, of course, some in the pro life community do object to contraception but I feel that the pro choice community usually focuses on this small contingent on purpose to make pro life people seem like irrational individuals.

    As to the need for a referral, I’ll have to research that some more. I don’t know what the laws are in your state, but where in live, in MA, abortion is a confidential decision made by the women that does not need the input of a primary care provider. All she has to do is go and make an appointment. Now, the person’s primary care physician may have to turn over that woman’s records to the clinic, but that is different because in that case, the doctor is providing the woman’s personal medical history, which, if he/she didn’t do, would violate everyone’s right to access their health information. So, if by referral you mean sharing that woman’s health care records, than, yes, doctors have to do that. But, I don’t think that your statement concerning the need for a referral is entirely accurate. If you’d like to share information to the contrary, please do so.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    One of the reasons I am so uncomfortable/upset with some in the pro choice community as of late is the very issue that you bring up-not just advocating for contraception, sex ed, and early abortion, but opposing any restriction, which is profoundly extreme and, in my view, abhorrent for reasons that include not only the life debate but that of diversity, etc. For instance, a great majority of late term abortions are carried out on fetuses with disabilities, with very little criticism for that practice as an example of prejudice. I know that this is different from the contraception issue, but it does go to why, in my view, there is so much antipathy between the pro life and pro choice camps.
    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    Yes, I agree that I’m drawing the line at contraception, but that’s because while contraception may be against someone’s religion(which, in terms of conscience, I think is a seperate issue that needs to be discussed further), Catholicism generally teaches that there is a difference between contraception and abortion in that one prevents life, which may violate God’s will, another takes life, which breaks fundamental commandments/principles. Although I am Protestant, not Catholic, I believe that if someone were to go to Confession and confess to using contraception, he or she would get less penance than if she confessed to an abortion. One, contraception, is venial, the other, abortion, is mortal, (although, of course, every sin can be forgiven if one is sincere), because of the difference between the taking of a life that has begun and implanted itself, and the prevention of implantation, such as in EC.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • invalid-0

    You’re correct, of course, some in the pro life community do object to contraception but I feel that the pro choice community usually focuses on this small contingent on purpose to make pro life people seem like irrational individuals.

    It’s a useful group to focus on, but there’s enough of them that they can’t just be written off. Personhood USA is a real political-action group, not a comedic farce troupe.

    But, I don’t think that your statement concerning the need for a referral is entirely accurate.

    I’m not fully acquainted with the rules surrounding referrals, but I seriously doubt you’re going to make anyone eat crow with your “just pull out a phone book, duh” argument.

    One of the reasons I am so uncomfortable/upset with some in the pro choice community as of late is the very issue that you bring up-not just advocating for contraception, sex ed, and early abortion, but opposing any restriction, which is profoundly extreme and, in my view, abhorrent for reasons that include not only the life debate but that of diversity, etc.

    Abortion restrictions are very problematic. For one reprehensible scenario you can point to where some restriction would have prevented it, I can point to some other scenario where that restriction is a reprehensible obstruction. There are very few hard-and-fast rules that can be drawn without stepping on someone’s toes—the sheer subjectivity and diversity of thought surrounding the matter makes it like trying to come up with reasonable restrictions on freedom of speech. And the life debate isn’t the whole picture; what about the status of the woman herself? What about that woman’s own concerns, which may include her health, her family responsibilities, her own survival?

    For instance, a great majority of late term abortions are carried out on fetuses with disabilities, with very little criticism for that practice as an example of prejudice.

    For every woman you point to who aborts a fetus with Down’s Syndrome because she doesn’t want “a stupid baby,” I can point to a woman who knows someone who is a caretaker for a person with Down’s and has witnessed firsthand how difficult and draining [and in its own way rewarding] that is, and feels that she is not capable of that herself, and seeks out the abortion as early as possible to do right by her own values concerning human life.

    You can’t sweep aside that sort of complexity with a simple rule, that by necessity cannot be aware of a woman’s specific history, circumstances, and state of mind. Have you looked at Aspen Baker’s project, collecting stories of women who have had abortions? I think, if you were to look at some of those, you would gain some valuable insight.

    I know that this is different from the contraception issue, but it does go to why, in my view, there is so much antipathy between the pro life and pro choice camps.

    The antipathy is really more a function of different worldviews of the status and roles of women in society. Abortion just happens to be the most salient proxy issue for that debate to play out. (You see it to a lesser extent in arguments concerning stay-at-home moms, and women serving in military combat.) If this issue really were about (unborn) children, prenatal care and children’s health insurance would not be the frequently neglected budget priorities that they are today.

    Yes, I agree that I’m drawing the line at contraception, but that’s because while contraception may be against someone’s religion(which, in terms of conscience, I think is a seperate issue that needs to be discussed further), Catholicism generally teaches that…

    Hold it right there. What Catholicism teaches is not relevant here. What matters is that there are religious denominations that are very strongly averse to contraception, to the point that they would deny it to third parties if they had the opportunity. I can’t speak to how these religions weigh the sins of contraception versus late-term abortion, but at the end of the day, what matters is that government policy written to cater to them (i.e. the HHS regulations) is as deferential to objections to one just as much as to the other.

  • progo35

    I understand that late term abortion based on disability is not a choice that women enjoy making. For instance, the book Choice documents the stories of several women who terminated pregnancies for various reasons, including fetal disability. Both women involved cried uncontrollably while they said good bye to their fetuses, and were heartbroken that things turned out the way they did. I’m not saying, for instance, that women who make this decision are evil and unfeeling.

    In terms of moral complexity, however, I think that one of the problems with that issue is the attempt to make it more complex than it is. Aborting a disabled child/fetus is, according to values concerning life and diversity, wrong. Yet, one can hold that belief and believe that women still have the freedom to make the “wrong” choice. But, often, families make these decisions based on the argument that they are doing right by their child, and that is profoundly prejudiced toward the handicapped. Moreover, women who do not feel capable of taking care of a down syndrome child can give that child to someone else who does feel ready to parent via adoption. There is a waiting list of parents to adopt a special needs child, thus, giving up such a child for adoption does not mean that he or she will be in the foster care system for the rest of his/her life, which, it seems, is one of the signficant reasons that parents choose to abort, rather than adopt out, when faced with such a diagnosis.

    Getting back to the conscience claus, this is one of the things that I, if I were a doctor, would refuse to participate in. It’s one thing (in my view) to refer a woman for an early abortion (say, 4-9 weeks LMP), and another to refer her for a late term abortion of a developed fetus based on her culturally-influenced views of what constitutes a good life. A lot of this is the fault of our culture, which encourages such women to abort and does not support special needs people adequately. But, I feel that doctors should have the right to refuse to participate in such procedures, even by providing referrals (which, once again, I do not think are necessary to access abortion.) If I had to loose my license for doing only what I can, in good conscience, live with, than that shows intolerance and oppression by the government, which is hat pro choice people are, in statement, against in the reproductive sphere.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    P.S.

    -The issue of Catholic, or any other religious doctrine is relevant here because it goes to the issue of conscience clauses. That’s why I brought it up.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    Moreover, I reject the position that division between the pro life and pro choice communities reflects different views about the role of women in society, otherwise one would expect all pro life people to be men. (I know that statistically more men oppose abortion than women, but that does NOT mean that pro life women endorse oppression in the workplace, their religion, or any other aspect of life.)

    Actually, being pro life is part of what I view as articulating myself as a self-confident, independent woman. Nobody forced me to be pro life, I made that decision after careful thought. Not to brag, but I feel that I am one of the most opinionated, independent, equality-expecting women I know. If anyone tried to deny me an opportunity because of my sex, I would march them into court right away, as I have many times when people have tried to discriminate against me because of my learning disorder. It is because of this resolve that I am a cum laude college graduate. I’m (obviously) proud of my accomplishments, and proud of all the women before me who helped pave the way for the equality I enjoy today. Don’t pigeonhole pro life women. We are your allies.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • invalid-0

    I’m not saying, for instance, that women who make this decision are evil and unfeeling. In terms of moral complexity, however, I think that one of the problems with that issue is the attempt to make it more complex than it is. Aborting a disabled child/fetus is, according to values concerning life and diversity, wrong.

    Point the first: Many people of good conscience do not hold the same values you do. If the disability is one that would result, say, in a baby without a brain, then I think there is space for moral opinions to differ on the best course of action. Likewise if the diagnosis can be made early, in the first trimester, before fetal development is very far along.

    Point the second: It’s easy for you to say what the right answer is, when the question has no connection to nor impact on your life. How many womens’ stories have you read that include a line like, “I was staunchly against abortion since I was a little girl, until…?”

    But, often, families make these decisions based on the argument that they are doing right by their child, and that is profoundly prejudiced toward the handicapped.

    I don’t disagree that there is a lot of prejudice against the disabled as it is. It’s one thing, however, when you encounter a disabled person in your day-to-day life, and quite another when a couple is staring down the possibility of raising a special-needs child. Would you bring such a child to term? Do you think some of the couples who decided otherwise may have thought the same, before hearing the diagnosis, and thinking long and hard about the matter?

    Moreover, women who do not feel capable of taking care of a down syndrome child can give that child to someone else who does feel ready to parent via adoption.

    Please drop the “but she can just give it up for adoption” argument. Carrying a child to term is a MAJOR medical strain on the body, and it is profoundly disrespectful to a woman to ask her to go through that for the benefit of an adopting couple. The adoption argument is inherently dismissive of the physical burden of pregnancy, in much the same way that the birthing process is described in some pro-life discourse as “a mere change in the location of the child.”

    Of course, it is an available option, and if a woman wants to go through with that, then she should be supported. Adoption is not, however, a substitute for abortion motivated by inability or unwillingness to care for a future child.

    There is a waiting list of parents to adopt a special needs child, thus, giving up such a child for adoption does not mean that he or she will be in the foster care system for the rest of his/her life, which, it seems, is one of the signficant reasons that parents choose to abort, rather than adopt out, when faced with such a diagnosis.

    If that’s the reason motivating the abortion, then great, there’s no need. Otherwise, the waiting list is immaterial; abortion cannot be restricted to serve the needs of potential adoptive parents, because this effectively establishes a system of forced surrogacy.

    Getting back to the conscience claus, this is one of the things that I, if I were a doctor, would refuse to participate in. It’s one thing (in my view) to refer a woman for an early abortion (say, 4-9 weeks LMP), and another to refer her for a late term abortion of a developed fetus based on her culturally-influenced views of what constitutes a good life.

    Again, your abortion referral is someone else’s contraception prescription. I think it is eminently reasonable for you not to be forced to perform nor directly support an abortion procedure. Refusing the necessary bit of paperwork, however, is catering to your aversion to an extent that harms the rights of patients. And yes, if you would refuse that, then you do deserve to lose your license. Because what you’re doing is not merely refusing an indirect hand in such a procedure; you’re refusing to acknowledge that abortion exists, that it is legal, and that the patient has a right to it whether you like it or not—which, I should note, means that your real objection is to the current state of women’s health practice.

    If I had to loose my license for doing only what I can, in good conscience, live with, than that shows intolerance and oppression by the government, which is hat pro choice people are, in statement, against in the reproductive sphere.

    People who owned racially segregated businesses in the 1950s and 1960s also cried out at government intolerence and oppression. Where do you draw the line?

    The issue of Catholic, or any other religious doctrine is relevant here because it goes to the issue of conscience clauses. That’s why I brought it up.

    You were explaining why Catholicism would have greater tolerance for contraception than abortion… which is great, but it doesn’t matter, because other, less-reasonable faiths are still trying to legitimize their own anti-contraceptive biases. You have to look at the lowest common denominator that the government is willing to pander to. I mean, hey, you’ve got Unitarian Universalists, and they’ve got some incredibly liberal beliefs on reproductive-rights issues—but that’s neither here nor there, now, isn’t it?

  • invalid-0

    Moreover, I reject the position that division between the pro life and pro choice communities reflects different views about the role of women in society, otherwise one would expect all pro life people to be men.

    All I can really say, without writing a whole dissertation here, is “it’s more complicated than you think.”

    I’m glad to hear that you are an autonomous, self-actualized woman. But the culture of this society is all around you, and has shaped you in myriad, invisible ways since birth. You have internalized a lot of messages about men, and women, and pretty much everything else there is; as much as you say you are opinionated and independent, you are still a product of the culture. Do you enjoy wearing high-heel shoes? Even though they harm your feet, and are generally a pain to get around in?

    I cannot press this point to you here, because it’s not an argument that can be neatly summarized; it is more a distillation of extensive study of online feminist discourse. But I think that if you were to read and absorb a book like, say, Jessica Valenti’s Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman’s Guide to Why Feminism Matters, you would become sensitized to some of the deeply misogynistic currents that flow (still) through our present-day culture.

  • progo35

    Just some thoughts on whether I would carry a disabled fetus to term, and whether I’ve faced some of these issues:

    From what I see, people have different views about what they feel is a “really bad” disability and what isn’t. Some people consider my disability to be terrible, others do not. If a test were developed to detect the condition before birth, some parents would terminate, others would allow children like me to be born. Given that I have a disability myself, I am certain to the extent that anyone who has not been in that situation can be that I would not have an abortion.

    Now, this goes to what I said earlier about women making, in my opinion, bad decisions, but not being bad people. Although I can’t see myself having an abortion, people do do things all the time that they thought that they would never do. That human vulnerability is what should lead to compassion.

    I have to say that I find the “racist” argument incredibly offensive. No one died when black people gained equal rights. The people who refused to let black people go to the same schools, sit in the same cafeterias, and have the same opportunities had no basic moral leg to stand on, and, as someone who has dealt with discrimination myself, I find that comparison very rude. And, don’t get me started on the disproportionately high number of black women who have abortions because of inequalities they experience.

    I agree that doctors offices should have to fill out paperwork and send over patient’s medical records but that is not, to my knowledge, a referral. I’ll have to do more research.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    P.S.-I am not arguing that women should go through pregnancy for the benefit of the potential adoptive parents. I am responding to the reason that women often give for terminating
    a disabled fetus, which is that although they wanted the child before the diagnosis, they no longer feel able to parent him or her adequately. Thus indicates that the physical toll of the pregnancy is not the primary reason for the woman to seek an abortion. All of this centers on the woman’s feeling of being ready for parenthood and options other than abortion, not adoptive couples.

    quot;Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • invalid-0

    From what I see, people have different views about what they feel is a “really bad” disability and what isn’t. Some people consider my disability to be terrible, others do not. If a test were developed to detect the condition before birth, some parents would terminate, others would allow children like me to be born.

    It’s not an easy decision to make. Parents who decide to birth and raise a child afflicted with, say, Down’s Syndrome, are saints in my eye. Parents who terminate are, well, human. I know a person who has borne and cared for a child with DS for 30+ years, and can only say silently to myself, “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” So I wouldn’t dream of holding the decision to abort against those who make it.

    In much the same way, any one of us can sell everything we own, and take all the money in our bank account, give it all to the poor, and dedicate the rest of our lives to helping those less fortunate than ourselves. So… why don’t we? Does our hesitation/refusal to do this make us bad people? Or does that just make us not saints?

    Given that I have a disability myself, I am certain to the extent that anyone who has not been in that situation can be that I would not have an abortion. Now, this goes to what I said earlier about women making, in my opinion, bad decisions, but not being bad people. Although I can’t see myself having an abortion, people do do things all the time that they thought that they would never do. That human vulnerability is what should lead to compassion.

    That’s more evenhanded than I was anticipating. Whatever you would decide in such a scenario—God forbid that you ever find yourself in one—I think that you would appreciate being given space to make the decision, without talking heads or zealots who don’t know you browbeating you into deciding a certain way, or others standing by to quietly judge you for making the “wrong” decision. Even if you decide against abortion, I think you would be grateful for not having your judgment questioned if you had decided in favor. For everyone around you to acknowledge and respect the fact that, at the end of the day, the one person most qualified to make that difficult decision is you.

    I have to say that I find the “racist” argument incredibly offensive. No one died when black people gained equal rights.

    The comparison concerns a group of people making a specious claim to intolerance and oppression by the government, which holds true despite the “no one died” argument—and may I remind you that the question of exactly what dies in an abortion (clump of tissue? unborn human person?) is not a settled one.

    I’m sorry that you find the comparison offensive and rude, but that doesn’t follow from the fact that you’ve faced discrimination yourself—in fact, I’d expect that your experience would make such a comparison particularly compelling. That aside, the only times I’ve ever seen parallels to the Civil Rights Movement pooh-poohed like this are when they were brought up in the same-sex marriage debate, and there the motivation was transparently to deny what constitutes a fairly incontrovertible argument. So you’ll have to forgive me if I feel that your offense at this argument could stand some self-examination.

    And, don’t get me started on the disproportionately high number of black women who have abortions because of inequalities they experience.

    Yes, but that’s like the high number of black women receiving food stamps. It’s not a good thing, sure, but it’s just a symptom. If you want to address that, address the inequalities that are the root cause.

    I agree that doctors offices should have to fill out paperwork and send over patient’s medical records but that is not, to my knowledge, a referral.

    You’ll still have pro-life practitioners who’ll refuse to do that. The exact designation and details of the paperwork are immaterial; the issue is that the practitioner may refuse to cooperate even on that. Which I’m guessing you agree is going too far.

    P.S.-I am not arguing that women should go through pregnancy for the benefit of the potential adoptive parents. I am responding to the reason that women often give for terminating a disabled fetus, which is that although they wanted the child before the diagnosis, they no longer feel able to parent him or her adequately. Thus indicates that the physical toll of the pregnancy is not the primary reason for the woman to seek an abortion.

    Parents of a disabled fetus should certainly have accurate awareness of the availability of willing adoptive parents, so that if abortion is considered, it is not for a bogus “we can’t care for him, and no one will want him anyway, so…” argument.

    That said, if abortion is chosen, even if willing adopters are available, then that is okay too—because it is not reasonable to require the woman to go through the physical toll of late pregnancy and birth for a child that is not wanted. Because that woman is then being made to serve (at her own considerable expense) someone else’s purposes rather than her own—in effect, becoming an indentured servant, to the adoptive parents, or even just to the state to whom the child would be surrendered upon birth.

    Adoption is certainly an option, and accurate information about it should be provided, but I’m arguing that this option cannot be used to deny the legal or moral legitimacy of deciding to abort. Because it can only be seen as a categorical substitute for abortion if you have no regard whatsoever for the impact on the woman.

    (Many people in this debate do indeed have no regard for the woman, which is why arguments often focus exclusively on fetuses—as if they existed as independent entities, floating in the aether—and the line “But she can just give it up for adoption!” is often stated and heard with a straight face.)

  • progo35

    Personal story time:

    I am adopted. My birth mother had an abortion before she had me. She was using contraception and it failed. I know that some people don’t consider this a valid argument because of its existential nature, but your arguments are existential too, after all, they are based on the fear of personal oppression by the state. Moving on…

    Clearly, you recognize that there is a big difference between the developed fetus we’re talking about in an abortion that occurs at 20 or more weeks, and the clump of cells that exists a few hours after implantation. The two are most definitely not the same thing, so for the purposes of this late abortion discussion, we can safely say that the fetus is more than a clump of cells. Clumps of tissue do not kick. They do not have organ systems. They do not hiccup.

    I disagree that adoption is focused only on the fetus and not the woman involved. Particularly in this day and age, there are many adoption options that give the woman a lot of choice about who she wants to raise her child, how involved she wants to be in her child’s life, and what she wants to do after the adoption. Like family planning clinics, these organizations often offer counseling related to education, housing, life planning, etc.

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • invalid-0

    With most insurance companies, they will not pay for any visit other than to your Primary Care Physician (PCP) unless you have a written referral. This is true in the state I reside in, West Virginia.

  • invalid-0

    Personal story time: I am adopted. My birth mother had an abortion before she had me. She was using contraception and it failed. I know that some people don’t consider this a valid argument because of its existential nature

    It is an argument for you to use if and when you are faced with a decision of this nature. It is an argument that you can offer to other people in a similar position. But it isn’t an argument that can be pressed to someone who won’t listen, or for whatever reason, decides it is not relevant to them.

    but your arguments are existential too, after all, they are based on the fear of personal oppression by the state.

    Um. Potential abuse of state power is a very potent argument against laws and regulations. Why do you think it is so legally fraught to enact any sort of prior-restraint laws, vis-a-vis free speech?

    Clearly, you recognize that there is a big difference between the developed fetus we’re talking about in an abortion that occurs at 20 or more weeks, and the clump of cells that exists a few hours after implantation. The two are most definitely not the same thing, so for the purposes of this late abortion discussion, we can safely say that the fetus is more than a clump of cells. Clumps of tissue do not kick. They do not have organ systems. They do not hiccup.

    Those are significant factors for many people, and that’s why most elective abortions occur early in the pregnancy—people want to stay far away from that grey area. This is why Roe v. Wade allows abortion to be restricted to medical necessity in the third trimester. I don’t like the idea of a woman electively aborting that late in the pregnancy. But rather than make it illegal for her to do so—which would salve the conscience of pro-lifers, at the expense of imposing state force on a woman in a very difficult situation—I would rather put policy and resources into place so that people can avoid finding themselves in that situation in the first place. Because I have confidence that no one wants to find themselves in that position, if they can help it. So… I’ll help them help themselves.

    I disagree that adoption is focused only on the fetus and not the woman involved. Particularly in this day and age, there are many adoption options that give the woman a lot of choice about who she wants to raise her child, how involved she wants to be in her child’s life, and what she wants to do after the adoption.

    I agree that adoption today is not like adoption yesterday, and that many birth parents can and do remain involved in their child’s adopted life. But that doesn’t change the logic, prior to birth. If the woman doesn’t want to go through with the pregnancy, all the niceties of modern-day adoption are for naught. She is still being forced to serve someone else’s purposes.

    Progo35, I really do recommend that you have a glance at that book. You won’t have a proper understanding of where I (and the pro-choice movement in general) am coming from, unless you are aware of the current (and historical) state of sex/gender relations in our culture. It’s a rabbit-hole, and it goes a lot deeper than you think.

  • invalid-0

    I’m an atheist, and I don’t see why I should have to live according to somebody else’s religious rules.

    The right-wingers who support the conscience clause are being short-sighted. What if I – a pro-choice liberal childfree feminist – were a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other medical practitioner? I could:

    – refuse to treat infertility, as I personally consider it a blessing, not a problem.

    – refuse to refer pregnant women to any source that did NOT provide abortion and contraception.

    – refuse to allow men to get Viagra or other ED drugs, w/o written permission from their wives, plus a check to verify that their wife actually did give her permission. (Because I hate randy old goats who use ED drugs to cheat on their wives. And in the case of non-married men, if the fundies can harass non-married women who have sex, then I have the right to harass non-married men who have sex. Mansluts! They should just keep their legs shut and pray about it!)

    – try to talk pregnant women out of having or keeping their babies.

    – try to talk every person I treated into using contraception (sterilization, if possible).

    Right-wingers aren’t the only ones who have values and consciences.