If only it were a perfect world, "abortion" would not be a political
word. It would not be a word at all. All babies -- black babies, brown
babies, white babies - would be wanted babies, loved, cuddled, fed and
kept warm and safe.
If only it were a perfect world, the teenage eruption of hormones and
the development of reason and responsibility would occur at the same
time in the human body.
If only it were a perfect world adult women would be free to make
decisions about their reproductive lives, even as men do.
But it is not a perfect world. Abortion is not a new issue. As the
Grolier Encyclopedia points out, "Induced abortion has been practiced in
every culture since ancient times." Laws cannot stop it. Men cannot
stop it. They can only force it underground and the women die.
There are those who think that government can solve the problem.
"Abortion" is the political buzzword of the day. This deeply personal,
moral, medical issue has been turned into a political side show,
setting women's fight for reproductive choice back 100 years.
Every two years in Colorado we have to go through the same thing. The
groups which call themselves pro-life -- aren't we all? -- and whose
chief aim in life is make abortion illegal, come up with a new gimmick
for each election.
This year it is Colorado proposed Amendment 25, entitled, "Requirements
for consent to abortion." I forced myself to read the entire bill, all
9 pages of fine print. Except for being deadly dull, it might have been
a horror novel written by Stephen King.
Amendment 25 would require a health care professional to present
specific information to a woman before an abortion. This would include
state produced printed material about the medical procedure and
alternatives. It would also require that she watch a video showing
photographs of the fetus at two week increments and an ultrasound image
of a fetal heartbeat at various gestational increments. Then she must
wait 24 hours for her abortion.
It is insulting to women. It assumes that women are completely stupid,
insensitive and immoral. It assumes that they choose abortion lightly
and without deeply serious consideration in conjunction with those
closest to them. It further assumes that the woman has not consulted
and counseled with her doctor. It as though a couple of women are
walking down the street on the way to have their hair done and one of
them says, "Oh, here's a clinic. I think I'll drop in and have an
abortion before my hair appointment."
The doctors are required to add to their mountain of paperwork by
submitting reports to the state indicating how many women received the
information, how many refused it and how many had abortions. Failure to
do that on the doctor's part is a Class 5 felony.
This adds to the already existing hazard to doctors and other health
care providers. Operation Rescue, founded in 1984 and led by Randall
Terry bragged about the three abortion clinics which were bombed on
Christmas Day, 1984. Those convicted called the bombings "a birthday
gift for Jesus."
Seven clinic workers, including three doctors have been killed since
Doctors and medical clinics like Planned Parenthood certainly care more
about women's health than a government agency, and have been giving
women all the information they want and need to make an informed choice
ever since abortions have been legal.
This amendment is not about women's health. It is, in the words of the
Sentinel editorial, "primarily an effort to intimidate doctors who
perform abortions and the women who seek them."
Time magazine adds, "There are a lot of doctors who feel that women have
a right to make a choice, but are unwilling to wear flak jackets to
Whatever the amendment will be in 2002 it will probably concern RU 486.
That drug has just been approved by the FDA, and will change the images
the anti-choice people have to use. Judith Brown of American Life
League commented last week, "We will have to personalize the egg."
It is not a perfect world. Let's defeat Amendment 25 and keep
government out of our doctors' offices."