The War on (Poor) Women

By Claire Goldstene

The use of women’s sexuality to diminish their place in the public sphere through restricted access to reproductive healthcare has rightly been called a war on women.  Notoriously, former Missouri representative Todd Akin, during his unsuccessful 2012 U.S. Senate campaign, explained his opposition to abortion in cases of rape by saying, “if it’s legitimate rape, the female body has ways to shut that whole thing down.”

More recently, possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee endorsed his party’s opposition to insurance coverage for contraception as reflective of its certainty that women “can control their libidos.”

Importantly, the legislative consequences of such sentiments amount not only to a war on women generally but, cumulatively, to a war on poor women specifically. This expresses itself in two related ways. First, many of the obstacles that now impede access to abortion make it more expensive, which disproportionately affects women of lesser financial means. Second, statewide campaigns to ostensibly end abortion have led to the closure of numerous women’s health centers, a primary source of care for poor women.

A signal achievement of Second Wave Feminism was the extension to poorer women of greater access to a full range of healthcare, frequently with the assistance of federal and state financial support. Across the country, women’s health centers have met a critical need for low-income patients in the arena of reproductive health.  But as in so many other areas of social policy in recent years, dwindling political support for public programs is felt most acutely by those most in need.

Since 2011, state legislatures across the country, especially in middle and southern states, have enacted a combined 231 restrictions on abortion and the facilities that provide them, even though abortions actually constitute a small percentage of the health services offered at women’s clinics ( only 3 percent at Planned Parenthood).  Rather, care mostly involves pregnancy prevention, testing for sexually transmitted diseases, annual gynecological exams, and cancer screenings. For many poor women, these clinics provide their only means to obtain such medical treatment. Lack of reproductive healthcare for these women has become yet another cost of poverty in an unequal nation where the have-nots continue to expand.

These various state laws include mandatory counseling and/or waiting periods prior to an abortion; restrictions or outright bans on insurance coverage for abortions, including insurance acquired through the marketplace exchanges associated with the Affordable Care Act or through Medicaid; and what has become known as targeted regulation of abortion providers, or TRAP.

In the name of protecting women’s health, some TRAP laws require that abortion providers must have admitting privileges at a local hospital, which is not always granted, while others mandate that facilities that offer abortions meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers, despite the well-documented safety of abortion procedures in a clinic setting. All of this amounts to logistical and cost-prohibitive measures that frequently result in a women’s health center closing.

As a result of TRAP laws in Texas, the nation’s second most populous state, for example, the number of facilities that provide abortion has declined by half since late 2013.  And most recently in the Lone Star State the Senate, in a not-so-thinly-veiled attempt to shutter the remaining Planned Parenthood centers, has proposed to alter the distribution of funding for clinics that provide cancer screenings for low-income women.

Under the new system, the establishment of funding tiers would rank public entities at the top of potential recipients, followed by private clinics that offer cancer screenings as part of a comprehensive set of health services, and then private specialty clinics, such as Planned Parenthood, making it unlikely that any funds would remain to allocate to those facilities at the bottom of the list. The proposal also risks the loss to the state of $8.8 million in federal money to support the program, which constitutes about 75 percent of its funding. In other words, in an effort to shut down Planned Parenthood, Texas legislators have indicated a willingness to jeopardize the lives of low-income women.

Fewer women’s health clinics increases both the financial costs and the practical difficulties of accessing not only abortion but other healthcare services, particularly for women in rural areas.  As the geographic distance to a dwindling number of clinics grows, increased travel related expenses include overnight accommodations, additional childcare, and more un-paid time off work, all of which is in addition to the cost of the abortion procedure itself that, because of various state laws, may not be not covered by insurance.

These logistical complications also make obtaining other reproductive healthcare prohibitively expensive and impractical for many women.  Seventy-Nine percent of the patients seen at Planned Parenthood facilities across the country have incomes at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level.

The war on women, as enacted in the arena of reproductive politics, affects all women in its attempt to control women’s lives by controlling their bodies. While inconvenient and burdensome, however, financial barriers to health coverage are more easily borne by women of economic means. Meanwhile, poor women’s health has fallen victim to these policy decisions, not unlike many of those over the last three decades, that have exacerbated economic inequality. Ultimately, these policies further punish women for being poor.

Claire Goldstene has taught United States history at the University of Maryland, the University of North Florida, and American University. The author of The Struggle for America’s Promise: Equal Opportunity at the Dawn of Corporate Capital (2014), she can be reached at claire.goldstene@yahoo.com.

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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40 Comments

  1. Tia Will

    Our relative protection against these falsely premised laws to “protect” women by ever tightening restrictions on medical care and economically forced clinic closures may lead some to believe that this is not a problem for us here in California. I have worked most of my career in a setting in which my patients were further protected by having their insurance provided within a prepaid, comprehensive, preventative, integrated model of health care delivery. The change in the care needed by our patients since the enactment of the ACA has been an eye opener for me.

    For the first time since training, I have seen an onslaught of patients with unmet health needs. Because of my specialty, what I have seen is primarily in the area of breast and cervical cancers which regular screening could have caught at pre cancerous or minimally invasive stages. My internal medicine colleagues are seeing the devastating consequences of untreated hypertension and diabetes.

    Yes, I know, here we have Communicare and in Sacramento, Planned Parenthood. A quick conversation with any provider there will confirm that they are overwhelmed in terms of numbers and severely constricted by the need to essentially beg to get any but their most ill patients ( ER candidates) specialty care. A doctor recently hired into Kaiser from a group that does not have the Kaiser integrated model put it very succinctly on a physician satisfaction survey. The doctor wrote “my worst day here is better than my best day was there”.

    Any doctor can tell you that the most cost effective care is primary prevention. Women are best served by meeting their primary care needs in the lowest cost setting available, namely a clinic offering comprehensive services. When thinking about the excesses of the “nanny state” a phrase favored by one of our posters, what could be more excessive and patronizing than telling women that they cannot obtain birth control, cervical and breast cancer screenings at an accessible clinic that has safely provided these services to them for years because 3% of the function of that clinic is to provide abortions ( the exact same procedure that is provided when a woman is bleeding from a miscarriage of which I have provided hundreds over my career perfectly safely in the clinic setting with zero complications) ?  To me, telling someone what they must or must not write on the top of a wedding cake pales in comparison to telling a woman what legal procedure she can or cannot have done, or telling a doctor what they must or must not say to a woman prior to performing what technically speaking is a safe and effective office procedure. If one sees the former as a “war on Christianity” must one then surely not see this as a “war on women” and a “war on the medical profession” ?

    1. Frankly

      Tia, Let me guess…  a big influx in undocumented people getting free healthcare?  If so, you and others mind need to travel south of the border more often to help nip this problem in the bud.

      On another note…

      From Gallup Polls… the general population opinion on abortion has remained remarkably steady over the last 40 years.

      In 1975 22% said that abortion should be legal in any circumstance, 22% said abortion should be illegal in all circumstances, and 54% said abortion should be legal only under certain circumstances.  In 2014 the numbers are 28%, 21% and 50%, respectively.

      The number of people saying they are “pro-life” or “pro-choice” has also remained materially steady for the last 18 years (the historical length of that poll).   In 1998 48% were listed as pro-choice and 45% pro-life.  In 2014 it is 47% and 46% respectively.

      In 2001 42% said abortion was morally acceptable while 45% said is was morally wrong.  In 2014 the same percentage said abortion was morally acceptable, but 48% said it was morally wrong.

      The list goes not.

      The bottom line here is that Democrats, leftists and feminists should be ashamed of themselves for ginning this up as a “war on women” issue.  The simple fact is that the country has been divided and still is divided about the issue of abortion.

      Today 36% of women claim they are pro-life compared to 34% of men.  So it might be more accurate to call this a “War Between Women

      The left-biased media would have us all believe that pro-choice dominates the American perspective, but it is a lie.  It is also a lie that this is a war on women.

      The compromise is simple.  The majority of Americans support limited abortion.  Abortion before the second trimester, abortion when the mother’s life is in danger, and when the fetus in determined to be not going to be viable.  I think the majority of Americans also support abortion from incest and rape too… however, I think after 22 weeks of gestation, based on the science of survival rates of premature babies, it is going to be hard for the majority of Americans to support abortion when the mother’s life is not in danger.  Most Americans get the moral challenge here… the right of a viable baby in the womb to be protected, and the rights of the mother to chose how her own body is used.

      It is not a simple black and white determination.  But the mother can put the baby up for adoption after birth.  The mother HAS choice in the case where abortion would NOT be legal.  However, the viable baby in the womb would have zero choice with more extreme abortion rights demanded by the hard left and feminists.

      I think most people weigh the pros and cons of an imperfect situation and come out on the moral argument side of protecting the viable baby in the womb while acknowledging that this reduces the choice that a mother can make about her body.  It is an uncomfortable decision, but one that is made.

      The hard-left and feminist refusal to accept these rational and moral compromises is the source of continued conflict…  because the hard-right would not otherwise have the support of moderates that find the more extreme demands of the hard left and feminists so repugnant.

      1. Don Shor

        The logical outcome of the public opinion that you portray would not be attempts at closing all the abortion-providing clinics in the state of Texas. Or Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Mississippi, or Alabama. That doesn’t reflect a “compromise.” The intent of the legislation in each case is clear: make abortions inaccessible. That isn’t a compromise position. It’s an extreme position.
        But you’ll probably find a way to pin those efforts and the outcomes on “hard-left feminists and Democrats.”
        Who is proposing these “rational and moral compromises” that you advocate? Where? Which of these measures meets your definition?
        abortion restrictions

        1. Frankly

          Republicans and Democrats are split equally on pro-choice versus pro-life.

          But in terms of extremes the trophy goes to Liberals… 76% pro-choice verses 17% pro-life.  Conservatives are 31% pro-choice and 63% pro-life.

          Moderates are 50/50.

          Republican and Democrat politicians respond to their constituents.

          The hard left and feminists have the steering wheel for fomenting compromise.   The problem is that their extreme position to not give any ground to a reasonable socially and morally-acceptable compromise (in other words, accepting Roe v Wade and not pushing for treating all abortion as just another form of birth control).

          Hard right extremists only have traction because of the extreme demands of the hard left and feminists.  Because of this, Roe V Wade is seen by even more moderate Republicans as just a step for them and not a stop.

          1. Don Shor

            All of the agitation right now is hard-right extremists pushing to ban abortion, and somehow that is the fault of “hard left and feminists”?
            Do you ever ascribe any responsibility to the people on the right who are actually, you know, doing the stuff like pushing for bans on abortion, pushing to close abortion clinics, etc.? As far as I can tell, most people on the left accept Roe v Wade and are working reactively to prevent erosion of the rights it provided in terms of choice and access.
            Take responsibility for the people on “your” side of the aisle for once. Who is making extreme demands? How common are late abortions? See Dr. Tia Will’s comments on this issue.

      2. Don Shor

        The majority of Americans support limited abortion. Abortion before the second trimester, abortion when the mother’s life is in danger, and when the fetus in determined to be not going to be viable. I think the majority of Americans also support abortion from incest and rape too… however, I think after 22 weeks of gestation, based on the science of survival rates of premature babies, it is going to be hard for the majority of Americans to support abortion when the mother’s life is not in danger.

        Yes. That’s Roe v. Wade. Do you support it? Does your party?

        1. Frankly

          It took me a while to find this because the link was on another older computer.   But this sums up my perspective.  It was 1990 and it is still very relevant.

          http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/issues/95sep/abortion/bayl.htm

          We now arrive at the real legacy of feminist doublethink, with its contempt for the values of the unliberated majority and its misplaced faith in the superiority of female moral reasoning. Substitute “feminist superiority” for “female superiority,” and the actual tendency of the movement becomes clear. Not only does feminist doublethink accord women the exclusive power to terminate potential life while absolving them of any responsibility for having conceived life in the first place; this doublethink also extends its influence, by way of the helping professionals and judges under its sway, over the poor, the confused, and the underaged, who are urged to heed the feminist message over the advice of their own families.

          The problem is the radical left and feminism that in itself it has always been radical, hostile and absolute in its demands.  The radical right is made more powerful by this being demonstrated… because it turns off moderates.  Said another way, if the choice is conceding to the radical left and feminists or allowing more extreme pro-lifers to push the agenda, the lessor of two evils is the latter.

           

           

           

          1. Don Shor

            The “radical left and feminism” are not responsible for the actions of those who are seeking to ban abortion, close family planning clinics, pass amendments protecting the unborn, overturn Roe v. Wade, etc. I don’t know where these radical leftists and feminists are that you are still arguing with twenty years later.
            The action is right now all on the right. The ‘radical pro-life’ positions are part of the Republican party platform. I’m not aware of any purported presidential candidate of the GOP who supports Roe V. Wade, or abortions in almost any circumstance whatsoever.

      3. Tia Will

        Frankly

        The moral and rationale way to prevent abortion would be to prevent pregnancy. Unfortunately those who would make abortion illegal, or virtually impossible to obtain are also those whose actions also make reliable contraception difficult to obtain. The single best way to lower the rate of abortion would be to enable every woman of reproductive age to obtain free and readily available highly statistically reliable reversible contraception. When I see politicians of all political stripes lining up to support this proposal, then and only then will I believe that there is not a “war on women”.

      4. Tia Will

        Frankly

        I could not help but note that you chose to make your entire comment with regard to abortion and neglected to address the issue that the vast majority of the care provided by the majority of these clinics is not abortion but rather, contraception and health screenings. So what you are defending is the destruction of an entire system of health care provision to suit the religious and moral beliefs of a portion of the population, most of whom will never have to deal with this decision because they are males.

        Would you accept limitation of your medical choices if women were to succeed in making prostate cancer screening unavailable to you because condoms were provided in the only clinic that served your community and they did not believe in the use of condoms ?  This is what woman are facing. This is what you are defending.

        1. hpierce

          Tia… has it changed from the time that abortion = a form of contraception?  Meant as an honest question, as at one time it was, even in medical parlance.

      5. Topcat

        The single best way to lower the rate of abortion would be to enable every woman of reproductive age to obtain free and readily available highly statistically reliable reversible contraception.

        Yes, there would be a lot fewer abortions if women (and men too) had education and easy access to contraceptive services so that they could avoid having unwanted pregnancies. Why do we never see the pro-lifers advocating for this?

        1. justme

          That is because the true hardcore pro lifers do not believe in brith control either…  They believe that  what is meant to be will be…  My mother in law had three kids all eleven months apart from the previous.  She was strong in the catholic religion and went to her priest to ask about birth control.  She was forced to leave the church as a result of her inquiring about preventing pregnancies…  Albeit, this was in the 60’s…

           

          Needless to say, they believe in neither birth control nor abortion.  The view birth control as preventing life.

        2. hpierce

          To justme’s post.  (4:29): get a clue… many active, practicing Catholics have and/or do practice birth control, and am not just talking about ‘the rhythm method’.  Let’s avoid classing anyone as being part of a “monolithic” group.  Racists do that.

  2. Davis Progressive

    i’m surprised this article hasn’t gotten more traction this morning.  i have always wondered how different the world would look if men were the ones that carried the babies.

  3. Biddlin

    I think Tia put forth any points I might have made. No surprise, btw that the party of frustrated old men, wants to keep women barefoot and pregnant.  The economic inequalities between women of means and others have always been there.  Honestly, if I were Emperor of the World, I’d issue and condoms and morning after pills to every student grade 6 and above and instruct them regularly in their use.

    ;>)/

    1. Tia Will

      Biddlin

      Your suggestion might make a dent in the number of pregnancies, but a Nexplanon in the arm at onset of puberty would have the following benefits:

      1)< 1 % chance of pregnancy per year per woman

      2) less lost time in school and at work from painful periods

      3) fewer cases on anemia from menstrual blood loss

      4) reduce the number of pregnancy related deaths ( 650 in the USA in 2014 per the CDC)

      And this of course is only mortality and says nothing about the major medical complications that are unique to pregnancy. Of course, the dangers of pregnancy are very seldom mentioned let alone considered by those who are passing these laws limiting women’s medical choices.

      If Honduras has the foresight to provide free IUDs to their entire population of reproductive age women, then surely we could provide free Nexplanons and IUDs to our population if we were serious about decreasing the number of abortions, unintended pregnancies and unwanted children.

       

       

      1. Biddlin

        “Your suggestion might make a dent in the number of pregnancies, but a Nexplanon in the arm at onset of puberty would have the following benefits:”

        I certainly bow to your expertise in this field. The economic and social benefits of such a program seem obvious, to me. The value of condoms in preventing std’s cannot be discounted, however.

        ;>)/

        1. Tia Will

          Biddlin

          The value of condoms in preventing std’s cannot be discounted, however.”

          Very true. And I thank you for pointing this out. Here in Yolo County while we are seeing a strong decline in the number of teen pregnancy, we are seeing a slight increase in the number of STDs. Enough that I have alerted my providers to remember to reinforce with every long acting implant we place, the advantage of also using condoms.

  4. Miwok

    As someone who grew up in an abusive household, and has helped women in these DV cases at various times through my life, I can say the Quincy Solution sounds great but has little traction because resources are way too thin for sufficient enforcement.

    The heart of the Quincy Model was strict enforcement of criminal laws, orders of protection and probation conditions together with practices that made it easier for victims to leave their abusers and a coordinated community response.

    You think that might work around here? We have all these Wars to End Homelessness, Drugs, Hunger, when most of these problems might be solved by the quote above?

    What if: (maybe this happens now) Police are called and an equivalent response from a Social Services expert who makes the determination right then and there, at the scene?

    Like rodent poison killing other animals in the food chain, has anyone documented the “food chain” for DV?

  5. Tia Will

    hpierce

    Tia… has it changed from the time that abortion = a form of contraception?  Meant as an honest question, as at one time it was, even in medical parlance.”

    An honest answer to an honest question. I am not sure where you are getting this information.This may have been a phrase that was used casually and picked up on by some.  In the thirty + years that I have been in medicine, I have seen a sum total of zero providers who consider abortion as a means of contraception, and only a handful of patients who treat it this way. While it is true that there are a few women who obtain multiple abortions, they are so few and far between that they are remarkable enough that we mention these cases to each other. Can you tell me what has led you to believe that this is a common practice, because I simply have not seen it and I am certainly in the specialty that would be most aware of it ?

     

    1. hpierce

      Thank you for your response.  My question may well been spawned (poor pun, unintended) from early rhetoric used in the 70’s and 80’s, where “woman’s choice” [or, ‘pro-choice’] was equated with an ‘unfettered right’ to abortion, for any reason, at any time.  I also distinguish: “natural” abortion (when the body realizes something has gone horribly awry, and expels the fetus, with no medical “intervention”); medically necessary abortions, where, in essence the fetus dies in utero, but the natural triggers to expel it aren’t working; where the fetus is not likely viable, and the mother’s health [and/or ability to conceive in the future] is at significant risk, etc.  I have no problem with those situations.  To me, those are all basically “pro-life”.  In fact, my mother had two ‘spontaneous’ abortions.

      Perhaps it was only anecdotal, but I recall hearing from folk that the decision to have an abortion was based on “convenience”, or wanting to stay on a ‘career track’.  And I’ve heard of a lot of situations where after an abortion is performed, the mother has severe emotional distress afterwards, when they “reconsider” a ‘fait accompli’.  I am also concerned about abortions where the motivation is the fetus/baby is of the wrong gender, or has Down Syndrome.  I have two cousins who are ‘DS’ babies.  One has succeeded very well, he other has been ‘institutionalized’ much of their life.  I just don’t know, if the fetus has Tay-Sachs, CF, major medical issues, how I feel, but in those cases I’d respect the parents’ decision, and would not presume to ‘judge’.

      Your comments are reassuring to me that “abortion as contraception” is actually an “outlier” in practice.

      I don’t think I’ll ever be comfortable supporting “partial birth abortions”, unless there is overwhelming medical reasons (reminds me too much about ‘pithing a frog’), yet some of the vocal/strident proponents of “pro-choice” (again, perhaps outliers) passionately resist ANY restrictions on abortion.

      Thank you for your honest (and enlightening) answer to my honest question.

       

  6. Tia Will

    hpierce

    You have brought up some excellent points that many people both in and outside the medical profession debate and struggle with. I believe that your position and mine may actually be very similar with mine of course colored by my clinical experience. I believe that a couple of your points deserve further comment.

    First with regard to “partial birth abortion”. What you may not know is that this is a political, not a medical terms. A nice summary from Wikipedia is the following.

    The term “partial-birth abortion” is primarily used in political discourse—chiefly regarding the legality of abortion in the United States.[6] The term is not recognized as a medical term by the American Medical Association[7] nor the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.[8] This term was first suggested in 1995 by Congressman Charles T. Canady, while developing the original proposed Partial-Birth Abortion Ban. Medically speaking there is no such procedure as a “partial birth abortion”. In medicine this is called a progressive dilatation and extraction procedure since it is descriptive of what is actually done which I will spare your here unless anyone wants to know. As of numbers obtained in 2000, these procedures were very unusual representing only 0.17% of pregnancy terminations in the US. I am sure that I can find more current numbers eventually if anyone is interested.  I have never, in thirty years of practice seen one done nor heard of any of my patients having had one. They are already done only in exceptional medical circumstances in which delivering the baby intact is either physiologically impossible or a substantial risk to the mother. I have participated in one in utero decompression of a hydrocephalus ( intracranial fluid collection) so large as to prohibit safe deliver by either Cesarean section or vaginal delivery. It was 29 years ago and I still bear the psychological scars from this form of termination of a much wanted pregnancy to save the life of the mother. My supervisor, a high risk pregnancy specialist, the patient and I cried through the entire procedure. To those who believe that patients or doctors do these procedures casually or thoughtlessly, or without  compassion for either the unborn child or the mother, this has simply never been my experience, although I have heard the myths that this is the case repeated frequently by those who wish to control medical decisions for personal religious or ideologic reasons.

    On a more common note. You correctly bring up the issue of depression or regret after an abortion. However, what this does not consider is the much more common event that tends to be hushed up because our society pretends that child birth is unequivocally supposed to be a joyous event. Much more common in my experience than regret after an abortion, is regret after having had a child. This can take a number of forms from the relatively short lived and treatable post partum depression, to life long regret in the form of regret over opportunities lost, guilt over not being a good mother, the potential for neglect or abuse of an unwanted child, and lastly and perhaps the most covered up of all, the woman who simply does not ever come to love or want her child. The society as a whole simple does not consider this believing that if a mother feels this way, “she can give the baby up for adoption”. Except for the fact that frequently this is not true. She may have overwhelming family pressure to keep the child and may herself have been raised to believe that all women should be mothers and that not to be a mother is somehow “unnatural”.  I doubt that anyone would believe me if I were to tell the stories of women who have related to me the pressures put upon them, economic, social, and spiritual around their decision to have or not have a child.

    It is my belief that those who have not experienced pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood are very ill equipped to determine for any given woman what the best course  if acton is for her and that indeed because of the risks to her health and well being, only the mother and a qualified provider should be making this decision together. My firmly held belief is that abortions should be available with  the same standards applied to any other medical procedure, they should be affordable, they should be safe, and that if we were to judiciously promote and provide for the use of long acting reversible contraceptives, they would also be very, very, very rare. Surely the latter is a goal that we all could embrace ?

    1. hpierce

      Tia, the concept of finding “common ground” (not “compromise”) has always resonated with me.  I do not agree with all the points you’ve made, particularly that ONLY the woman decides (except for cases of rape).

      1. Miwok

        hp, I would question why the woman is not the sole arbiter of her life. Anything less relegates her to a property status, or at least a child who needs a parent.

        Many decisions are made that affect other people, yes. Many may be wrong, yes. Tell a woman what she can’t do, and force her to obey something, it will affect her, and maybe YOU for the rest of your life. And hers.

        Do you think like the government or a family member who rules without persuasion?

        1. hpierce

          “Do you think like the government or a family member who rules without persuasion?”  Unclear what you were trying to convey.  If you mean “compulsion”, no, I don’t think that way.

          “I would question why the woman is not the sole arbiter of her life.”  Actually, two lives.

          “Many decisions are made that affect other people, yes.”  So, it’s Ok to decide to kill another person?

           

  7. Tia Will

    hpierce

    particularly that ONLY the woman decides (except for cases of rape).”

    I know that men are likely to see this differently, however, I will share why I see this  ultimately as the woman’s decision. Other family members should be respectfully heard and their opinions considered but in the end the man’s life and health are never at risk……hers may well be.

    1. hpierce

      Ultimate decision, I agree with you.

      “Other family members should be respectfully heard and their opinions considered but in the end the man’s life and health are never at risk……hers may well be.”  I’ve already conceded (and it’s a very long held opinion), that if a woman’s life/health is in likely jeopardy, it is very likely to be “pro-life” to terminate the pregnancy.  As to the first part, I do not take exception, but would add (as I think you would do as a professional) advice/counselling for the woman disclosing (not being coercive) of the risks, physical and emotional, of terminating the pregnancy.  

      I continue to have a problem with ‘abortion on demand’, as an unconsidered “choice”.

  8. Tia Will

    hpierce

    As to the first part, I do not take exception, but would add (as I think you would do as a professional) advice/counselling for the woman disclosing (not being coercive) of the risks, physical and emotional, of terminating the pregnancy.  “

    I have never addressed this because it is an established part of medical practice. Every ethical practitioner will always explain the risks and benefits of any procedure before proceeding except in those cases where the patient is unable to give consent and the procedure is urgent to save their life. Abortion is no different in terms of gaining informed consent than any other medical procedure. Anyone who wants to build a case that women are not given full consent prior to this procedure is either ignorant of medical practice or is willfully making false statements.

    1. hpierce

      “…  it is an established part of medical practice.”  Not always.  For a true professional, as you seem to be, I take no exception to what you wrote.  Not all in the health care field are ‘true professionals’. Suspect you know that.

  9. Tia Will

    hpierce

    I continue to have a problem with ‘abortion on demand’, as an unconsidered “choice”.”

    I don’t think that I really understand what you mean by “abortion on demand as an unconsidered choice”. I have never met any woman who has not taken many factors into account ( or considered them ) before making this decision. Can you clarify what you mean by this ?

      1. Tia Will

        hpierce

        Sorry. I did not “twist” intentionally, I genuinely did not understand.

        I completely agree that there are strident voices and unreasonable voices amongst the “pro choice” camp. For me, there are also strident and unreasonable voices amongst those in the “pro life” camp.  I do not believe that medical or legal policy should be informed by who can make the most emotionally driven claims and thus sway people by playing on their fears or by exploiting their feelings.

        A recent situation that arose in Canada was very interesting to me in the more general topic of control over women.

        This time it was Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism, Jason Kenny who sparked the controversy. Effective immediately, he announced on Monday, all niqabs are banned from the oath taking citizenship ceremony. Any Muslim woman wishing to become a Canadian citizen must remove the veil during the ceremony he stated. Kenny said that the niqab ‘reflects a certain view about women that we don’t accept in Canada’.

        So here, we have a Canadian man determining which part of a Muslim woman must be covered or in this case uncovered in public in order to protest the practice of telling woman what they must wear !!!! A little background is in order here. The case that brought this to the news was of a woman who stated that in order to verify her identity she was willing to remove the Naquib in private in front of female officials in order to ensure her identity. She was simply declining to remove it in public which would be for this small group of Muslim woman like asking a fundamentalist Christian woman to bare her breasts in public. The practice of men telling women what they must do in order to control them is widespread, not confined to any one religion,  and almost always justified as “protecting the women” or upholding some religious principle or as not being reflective of “who we are” as a nation. I think it is time to call a spade a spade. Control over what a woman chooses to wear, or what medical procedure she can have done, or who gets to make that decision is widespread. The only culture to which I have been exposed so far that does not follow this model is the traditional Hopi. In this society as practiced by the traditionalists, it is the woman who owns the land, home and bulk of the property. The children live with her and the man is present by invitation and acceptance thereof. Children are protected and raised within a protective “village” based on complex matrilinear relationships proving the exception to patrimony as the only successful familial model. 

        My point is, that under the name of “protection” or “honor” or preservation of the “nuclear family” or “our values” control over women by men is almost a universal in human societies, so to say that there is no “war on women” is technically correct. There is no longer a war, because until very recently in developed societies, women had been so suppressed and subjugated that there was no possibility of them mounting a fight, let alone a war. We simply do not see this because it has become the norm and therefore viewed as “natural” or “the way it should be”. Western women have begun to fight back against this oppression to the chagrin of many, both men and women who have bought into the idea that women should be subservient. I am of the camp that believes in true equality for women. I just speak with a somewhat subdued voice.

         

        1. hpierce

          “I completely agree that there are strident voices and unreasonable voices amongst the “pro choice” camp. For me, there are also strident and unreasonable voices amongst those in the “pro life” camp.  I do not believe that medical or legal policy should be informed by who can make the most emotionally driven claims and thus sway people by playing on their fears or by exploiting their feelings.”

          I fully agree… factoid… most traditional marriage vows include(d), “do you take this man (or this woman)… to have and to hold…”.  The bolded phrase is common in older land deeds.  No accident.  Ironically, as the vow was both the man and the woman took, they were both proclaiming their love and affection, AND granting EACH OTHER sole and exclusive ‘property’ rights… and, hopefully, putting out the “no trespassing” sign to others.  The presumed right to have a spouse to act for the other, when the other is incapacitated, for medical decisions, flows from this.

  10. hpierce

    Tia, your experience illuminates, but the rhetoric of the most vocal “pro-abortion”/”pro choice” folk do not include “considered” in their in their rhetoric.  If the ‘laws’ reflected “taking many factors into account”, I’d have less/no problem.  But they don’t.

    I mean that as an honest response.

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