Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Choice

As if there aren't enough hot button topics to discuss right now...

First, read this article about a Utah bill that just got passed and is awaiting the governor's signature. The intent of the bill is to discourage women from seeking dangerous ways to end pregnancies. The outcome of the bill could be much different.

I agree with the article that "reckless acts" is too vague and up to interpretation. The article mentions a recent case of an Iowan woman who was arrested and sent to jail after having a miscarriage caused by falling down stairs. The charges were ultimately dropped, but nothing can change the fact that she was separated from her children and treated like a criminal during the whole ordeal.

Issues that arise in situations like these: Will women feel like they can trust their care providers if they are worried they might be blamed for a miscarriage? Would a woman opt to not find care when she really needs it? Will women seek help in overcoming drug addictions or leaving abusive relationships? Or will they worry that they'd be separated from their children and choose instead to not find help so no one can blame and arrest them for being reckless? Choices made out of fear are not well-made choices.

What does this mean for Utah pregnant women? What is "reckless"? The article mentions the possibility of drinking or being in an abusive relationship being considered "reckless." What about walking across an icy parking lot in January? Hiking a mountain during high-inversion times? Refusing an ultrasound? A scheduled cesarean at 36 weeks? An unassisted pregnancy?

After 20 weeks, you can't get an abortion unless medically indicated in Utah. But miscarriages still happen after 20 weeks. Stillbirths happen. Even surrounded by 20 machines that go "ping," babies die. And there's not always a cause.

But often fingers will be point blame, and unfortunately, women get the short end of that stick. For all I know, I might have a miscarriage tomorrow, next week, next month and it'll be no one's fault. But would I be blamed? Could I be taken from my family because of it?

And I could have "official" prenatal care if I wanted it, but there are women out there who simply can't. I don't know if you've noticed, but not everyone in America has health insurance. Not everyone has the means to take time off of work and away from their families to make appointments. Sometimes people move and struggle in finding a new care provider. Sometimes pregnant women have to take risks like driving a car. Are those situations reckless?

As for this bill: would this pro-life attempt to "protect" families ultimately tear them apart?
You can write to the governor about this before it is signed.


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5 comments:

  1. These types of things are a sad reminder how the need for strong, outspoken feminists is still VERY much alive.

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  2. This is the email I just sent:

    I am deeply concerned about HB 12, a bill that has been passed but that you have not signed yet. It is intended to prosecute mothers who try to abort their babies "recklessly," but the language is vague and open for abuse.

    If you agree with the bill, I nevertheless request that you send it back so that the wording is changed. Please inform the senate that their intention is good, but you do not want to leave room for the prosecution of women who disagree with their doctors over care or choose to delay their first prenatal appointment until after the third month, which is quite common.

    There are several procedures offered by obstetricians that carry risks of miscarriage, such as amniocentesis and cordocentesis. No one would think to blame the doctor if this occured. However, if a woman chose not to go on bedrest because she had other children at home, or in the case of an Indiana woman charged under a similar law, simply fell down the stairs, that mother could be charged and put in jail. Mothers struggle every day with making tough choices between their care and the care of their children, both born and unborn. We should not frighten them into seeking necessary treatment by creating laws with such dangerous language.

    Thank you for your time, and please do not sign HB 12 in its current form."

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  3. Crap, I put Indiana instead of Iowa! Well, he gets the message.

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  4. I couldn't agree more.

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  5. "Hiking a mountain during high-inversion times?"

    Well, that probably would be considered reckless, since inversions only happen in the dead of winter, when mountains are snow packed ;-)

    I hate this bill. I was reading my conservative friend's husband's blog, and we got on the topic of outlawing abortion. Before I even knew about this bill, I said "but what if your wife was to have a miscarriage and was arrested and had to go through the criminal system." He accused me of hyperbole and citing extremes! Aggravating!

    ReplyDelete

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