Thursday, March 24, 2011

I just can't keep my mouth shut

Oh hi there. Remember me? I know it has been awhile (understatement). I think for awhile there my job was pretty intense and didn't always leave a lot of emotional space for me to reflect on all the madness in the world and angst in myself. However, today is your lucky day! I am doing a job that has very little signifigance in the world which has given me PLENTY of time and space to read the news and get angry.

I am going to write about something kind of intense here (I know that probably doesn't surprise many of you. . . if there are any of 'you' left that read this little gem).

Recently South Dakota passed a law that requires a woman seeking an abortion to wait three days between the time that she seeks abortion services and the time that the actual procedure is performed. In addition to the waiting period she must also seek support services at a crisis pregnancy center. This on the heels of the US House of Representatives cutting funding for Planned Parenthood.

Just in case you weren't sure where this is going I am just gonna let the cat out of the bag. This decision deeply concerns me and makes me quite scared.

Here is a link to the article. It is fairly short and an important read. If you don't want to read my thoughts feel free to click away now, I won't even know.

I would like to start off by answering the question posed by Leslee Unruh, "What are they so afraid of? That women might change their minds?"

I believe the 'they' she is referring to is pro-choice people. As a pro-choice person I am happy to answer that question and can assure you that a changed mind is not what I am afraid of.

I believe that is a woman's choice to have an abortion or not have an abortion. Taking time to make that decision is not what I am afraid of, as long as it is not being forced. I highly doubt that anyone in the pro-choice camp would be upset if a woman decided to not get an abortion. We do not advocate for abortions, but for a woman's choice for what is best for her and family (current or future).

I sat with someone in a Planned Parenthood after they had a positive pregnancy test. The medical practicioner's words were "We are not all about abortions here. We are about people not having regrets, about making a decision that is right for them."

The problem with the three day wait period is not that we would discourage someone from gathering all of the facts (crisis pregnancy centers do not necessarily give women facts about abortions, just scare tactics) to make an informed decision. The problem with a three day wait period is that women come to the decision to get an abortion for a myriad of reasons. For some waiting three days with a pregnancy that you are know you are about to terminate can be torterous. The three day wait period is only waived in the case of the mother's health, not in the case of rape or incest.

In South Dakota there is only one clinic that will provide non-emergency abortions. If you are a woman who seeks abortion services in SD you may have to drive hours for the appointment and then have to make the same trip three days later. For many women this will result in lost wages at work. An abortion can cost up to $600 if your insurance does not cover it.

Let me address the issue of requiring women to seek support at a Crisis Pregnancy Center. Apparently Leslee Unruh says that counseling sessions at the clinic will be "carried out by medical professionals and would ensure that women were not being pressured by a boyfriend, husband, or parents." I am glad that Leslee adresses this because Reproductive abuse is a frightening and growing trend in domestic violence relationships.

Do you know another place that ensures that women are not being coerced to make this decision? Planned Parenthood.

In every gynecological apppointment I have had (at Planned Parenthood and private practices) I am asked if anyone at home is hurting me and if I am being forced to have sex in any way. I have heard from many people that when they have visited Planned Parenthood for abortion services that they have to go into the doctor's office by themselves. While they are there they are asked a series of questions to ensure that this a decisions the woman is making on her own.

The concern with making women visit crisis pregnancy centers is that most of them are faith based and have zero medical oversight. As the article says, their only qualification is that they are anti abortion. Maybe this will change with the new law. Even if it does change the information being given to these women is still incerdibly biased and expects that every woman should hold the same moral views about abortion.

Here is the fact. Abortion is legal. These anti abortion laws are seeking to criminalize something that our highest courts have said is legal.

Here is another fact. You can never know what decision you would make about an unplanned pregnancy until you walk in those shoes. Until Gov. Daugaard and the many male republican senatore behind this bill have the capability of becoming pregnant I suggest they stay out of the business of determining what a 'good decision' is for these women.