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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Our Rights in the Balance

In recent years, the right to obtain a safe and legal abortion has been threatened by countless bills and laws restricting our access. While republicans haven't had any luck outlawing abortion, they have been successful and making it nearly impossible to obtain one. However, up until now, we could at least take comfort in knowing that if we were the victims of rape or incest OR we were carrying a severely disabled child, we had the option of interrupting the pregnancy.

This week alone, two shocking stories regarding states passing bills to restrict these types of abortions were released. The first, and probably most shocking, comes out of New Mexico. On Wednesday (1/23), a republican lawmaker introduced a bill that would make it a crime to terminate a pregnancy that was the result of rape. Yes, you read that correctly. This bill would make it illegal for a woman who was raped and became pregnant to terminate the pregnancy. And how could anyone ever criminalize a woman for doing such a thing? By saying that by terminating the pregnancy, she's tampering with evidence (I shit you not, people). How many things can you count in this bill that are SO wrong? Not only would it be awful for someone to force a woman who's been raped to carry her pregnancy to term...but then they're going to turn around and use the baby as evidence in a sexual assault case? No. Just no. I can't imagine how this would benefit anyone: mother or child.

The second story, which was released yesterday on BuzzFeed, says that several states are considering making it illegal for doctors to terminate pregnancies based on fetal anomaly. If Indiana passes the bill that was recently introduced there, terminating a pregnancy due to a fetal abnormality could land a doctor in prison for up to 8 years with a Class C felony on his record. There are so many things wrong with this. First of all, the idea of a couple deciding to make a baby, only to be devastated to find out that their child is suffering, or will not live a high quality life if they survive...it's heart wrenching  The only thing worse that I can imagine is a family not being able to make the decision to save their child from suffering, if they wish to do so. Carrying a child to term, only to watch them suffer and/or die once they leave the comfort of your womb could be enough to make a woman (a mother) crumble into nothing. It could certainly be equally detrimental to the father, and any other living children that the couple may have. Aside from the emotional damage that this could do to a family, is anyone considering the financial distress it could cause? Just because a family is well off enough to support a healthy child does not mean that they will be able to financially support a special needs child (or their funeral). In a matter of two weeks in the summer of 2012, my 2 year old son ran up medical bills near $40,000. What in the world could cost so much? Ten days in the hospital, along with blood tests, MRI's,  ultrasounds, antibiotics, and the eventual draining for AN INFECTED LYMPH NODE! I can't imagine the financial stress that supporting a disabled or terminally ill child could cause to a family. Unfortunately, in today's economy, we have to think about these things.

It is safe to assume that getting an abortion will not be an easy process anytime soon. It seems that lawmakers are trying their hardest to throw as many roadblocks in the way as they can...and they've been reasonably successful in doing so. But that doesn't mean that our fight is over. We have to keep fighting for women. We have to keep fighting for our daughters and grand daughters, our future unborn children who may be broken and suffering, for the right to say what happens to our own bodies. We have to keep fighting, and in order to do that, we have to keep talking.

Keep talking. Keep fighting. Let your local lawmakers know that this is unacceptable.

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