Monday, November 05, 2007

“Calling Dr. Unbiased, Calling Dr. Independent, your patient is waiting”

When it comes to Roe v. Wade, there is no end to the mischief legislators, anti-abortion groups, and judges will do to dilute and nullify the most basic and fundamental right a citizen has to the right to privacy.

Today we learned some of the arguments reached by Attorney General Morrison in supporting his 19 misdemeanor counts against Dr. Tiller and his Clinic. The transparency of those arguments can be reduced very easily to the follow:

1. State Legislators are purposively trying to make the process of obtaining an abortion a burden.

It is a sham to state that the numerous anti-abortion bills enacted by the Kansas Legislature has been for the “good of the women”. It is all about doing everything possible to resist Roe v. Wade while pretending the intent is for the medical safety of women and girls. Where were these noble sentiments when women were dying in back alley abortions? How was society protecting the welfare and health of women by forcing them to butcher themselves instead of seeking skilled physicians in excellent clinics operating in the light of day?

2.Morrison himself makes the above case by arguing that the “Kansas legislature through statute, expressed a strong interest in protecting potential life.”

Not only is this a rather pompous statement about Kansas’s legislators, but clearly denotes the intent is to discourage abortions. Every new law is intentionally inching up to the line of the right to privacy to place burdens not only on the young women seeking medical attention, but burdens upon the medical community. The “intent” of the law is to dry up any desire by the medical profession to “deal” with the moralizing, police state, in this line of work. The continuing harassment and legal battles brought against Dr. Tiller serve as a clear warning to all new doctors: working in a women’s health clinic means you too can be hounded to the edge of hell.

3. The most important question is whether or not the requirement for a second “unbiased opinion”(an interesting legal term a politician wouldn’t know if it bit him where the sun don’t shine) is constitutional, and not an undue restriction or burden on the woman.

The answer to that of course, is that without question, initiating the requirement of a second unbiased opinion is an open statement that we do not trust these kinds of doctors to follow the laws regarding abortions. These physicians are shifty, secretive and in an odious business therefore, we must hold them to multiple standards of oversight. Really? This might be news to the Kansas Board of Healing Arts who approves those who can practice in the state.

Who decides which doctor is unbiased in this scenario? Must we find a physician who is openly anti-abortion as the only one who can sign on with Dr. Tiller to approve a woman’s late term abortion? Is that the intent of the law? It’s a slippery slope.

4. Morrison also cites the recent Supreme Court decision regarding upholding the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act as another indicator that restrictions on abortions in general are constitutional. Of course, what Morrison does not state is the obvious: President Bush packed the Supreme Court with men whose religious beliefs color their opinion about abortion. Due to that newly seated Court, we now have in place a group of five men who have no problem restricting a woman’s reproductive freedoms and this explains why the Court upheld the new law passed by Congress.
The more serious issue of why a government, a state, has the right to ever intervene when it comes to a woman’s health has never been adequately explored. It is a philosophical puzzle: does everyone have the right to be born even if it destroys a woman’s own life, her health and her own future as a separate individual?

Do we expect women to martyr themselves for a baby? Is that a double standard? Do fathers have to become martyrs for a new baby? Of course not, and yet we have no problem shifting the burden of life on women and then holding our noses in disgust when a woman does not want that burden or risk to her health. Clearly, the state should never intervene in abortion issues except for expecting medical standards to be ethical and safe as in any other medical facility. We have moved far beyond this simple and sensible formula.

Let me just state the obvious: a second unbiased opinion was not codified by the Kansas Legislature for medical reasons, but done so for highly biased and political reasons.

Vickie Sandell Stangl

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