Wednesday, March 08, 2006

the poor always have fewer options

I am pro-choice. I am not pro-abortion. And I take that stand as a religious one.

The recent law passed in South Dakota has me thinking a good bit... will it stop abortions? Obviously not, if all one needs do is travel to a state where they are legal. So what will it accomplish?

It may force a show-down at the Supreme Court over abortion rights that could play out in any number of ways from overturning Roe V. Wade to a complete patchwork of laws which would differ from state to state to an affirmation of the status quo. It may lessen the number of South Dakota women who have abortions but not as expected.

Well off women always had access to abortions. They may have had to travel overseas, connect with a network that would direct them to a physician who would perform the procedure for cash under the table, or just go to another state, but they had options. Poor women who were desperate had fewer options. If they could not afford to travel or pay someone who really knew what they were doing, they did what they could where they were. It might have meant a predator in a back alley with a coat hanger. It may have meant, as it did for one young woman, having her boyfriend hit her it the stomach with a baseball bat in hopes of inducing a "spontaneous" abortion. Many times, it meant carrying a pregnancy to term regardless of the situation that caused it or the one that resulted.

Well off women had options. Poor ones did not. So what happens with bills like this one? Poor women have more problems while wealthy ones are inconvenienced.

So what would I hope can happen - notice I did say that I am not pro-abortion, but I am pro-choice? I would be thrilled if there was never another abortion performed in the US or anywhere but banning procedures that are as intimate as ending a pregnancy without walking in the shoes of the person making such a decision is going way too far. It seems that we should provide options from the very beginning - education, birth control, more education, economic possibilities, serious programs to help prevent unintended pregnancies... all of these are ways to lower the rate of abortions without stepping on a woman's right to determine her own future.

1 comment:

Ryan said...

I have been thinking about this hole abortion banning uproar for the last couple of days. It always seemed mean to me when we stand as outsiders looking in on a situation that we know nothing about and order people to take a certain action. It just doesn't seem right. I'm with you Roy that it would be beautiful if there was never another abortion anywhere in the world, but to force someone to do something that they do not want to do doesnt seem like the way of Jesus very much. Also you bring up some very sobering thoughts on how this law will not hinder the rich at all, but will cause the poor a lot of strain and stress. Good stuff Roy.