I read in the Sioux City Journal that a Federal judge will hear oral arguments on July 17th regarding a lawsuit challenging a South Dakota law that requires doctors to tell women seeking abortions that the procedure will end a human life.
Planned Parenthood, which operates the state’s only abortion clinic, appealed the law after it was passed in 2005. U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier temporarily prevented the law from going into effect, but the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in July 2008 overruled that order, and the state began enforcing the law. According to the AP/Journal, Schreier will decide during the hearing whether to grant motions for summary judgment and will consider Planned Parenthood’s request to stop the state from imposing sanctions over the law’s requirements.
Although I certainly understand that there are numerous issues wrapped up into this lawsuit, that are inherent in the abortion debate in general; the government’s role in relation to abortion, a woman’s right to choose, and a doctor’s role in performing an abortion, among the many others, most important in my mind is the concept of telling a woman that she is ENDING A HUMAN LIFE.
As the survivor of an unsuccessful abortion attempt, I must be honest in saying that I find it demeaning and disrespectful to me, the other survivors of abortion, and the 3,700 children killed each day in the U.S. alone by abortion, that so many in our culture still want to argue that we are either a) not a human life as an unborn child, or b) that it disempowers or attempts to control or manipulate women by telling them that.
I am well aware that many women are in compromising positions when they seek abortions; many are coerced by their partner, friend, or family into doing it; many feel like they aren’t ready to parent or can’t parent for some reason; many feel like there are no other real choices or resources available to them. Despite the issues that women are facing that drives them to seek an abortion, I don’t believe that it does women any justice to avoid being honest with them about the “procedure” that they are undertaking. Some argue that such laws as this South Dakota law solely seek to reduce abortions by telling women something that they already know, thereby manipulating them into having to listen to something that they shouldn’t—that they will be ending the life of their unborn child.
Although I believe that individuals and groups on either side of the abortion debate can sometimes do more harm than good, and can skew data and laws to support their stance, I believe that honesty with women about the procedure they will be undergoing and its effects on them and their unborn child IS the right thing to do. For any other medical procedure, it appears that we, as a culture of individuals, expect our medical professionals to tell us about the procedure, its’ effects on us, what our recovery will be like, etc. Why wouldn’t we expect the same from the professionals providing abortions? I certainly did not find it demeaning when my daughter’s doctors told us all about the MRSA that she was hospitalized with a couple weeks ago and all of the things that we needed to know about her recovery and how we would need to deal with this the rest of her life, day after day. In all reality, I appreciated that they were honest with us, and that they took the time to truly talk with us one on one.
I just can’t imagine what it must have been like for my biological mother and for the other women like her who have sought abortions as they underwent the procedure. I know that some women report feeling relieved by ending their pregnancy, but that feeling pales in comparison the pain, grief, anger, sadness that they experience. I would only hope that the doctor working with them would be honest with them about what they are undertaking, what it’s effects on them will be physically, emotionally, spiritually.
We can argue all we want about the role of the government in creating and enforcing laws around abortion; we can argue all we want about the doctor’s role in performing an abortion, but in my opinion, stating to women that they are ending a human life is part of that discussion. In my opinion, and from what I’ve experienced in my work, the underlying reason people have a problem with legislating that doctors tell a woman that abortion ends a life, or that they show a picture of an ultrasound, is that such practices bring to light the REALITY of abortion, to the women that are seeking them and to the rest of society.
I don’t believe that anyone out there truly believes abortion is the right thing to do, that abortion is the solution to the problems that women face, but I do believe that as a society, we have become very good at avoiding those things that most make us uncomfortable. It is that very avoidance that prevent us from being honest with women seeking abortions, and even ourselves, about what abortion truly is, what it does, and it’s life-long impacts. It’s that very avoidance that keeps us from telling it like it is: abortion ends a human life.
Abortion was meant to end my life. Abortion ends a human life—3,400 each and every day in the U.S. alone.