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Member since: Sat Apr 14, 2007, 05:49 PM
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Tim Wise - The Pathology of White Privilege

Abortion Safe and Legal? Yes. Make it Rare? Not. The. Point.

I know a lot of people are 'personally' opposed to abortion and claim that they would never have one or encourage a loved one to. I hear and see a lot of Democrats using the "safe, legal, rare" phrase and, honestly, it bugs the SHIT out of me. Why? Because the "safe, legal and rare" language still stigmatizes women's health care choices. We don't owe anybody an explanation when we need abortions any more than we do when we need breast exams or pap smears, and their frequency is a medical matter, not a legal one.

I see Democrats reference party icons like Kennedy, Clinton and the party itself using this phrase. Thankfully the Democratic Party dropped that seriously antiquated language in 2008: http://thecoathangerproject.blogspot.com/2008/08/reclaiming-morality-of-abortion-and.html

And here is a good piece summarizing my feelings on this matter: http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2010/04/26/safe-legal-rare-another-perspective

A common narrative in the political and cultural discussions of reproductive health focuses on reducing the number of abortions taking place every year. It’s supposed to be one thing that those who support abortion rights and those who oppose abortion can agree on, the so-called common ground. The assumption is that we can all agree that abortion itself is a bad thing, perhaps necessary, but definitely not a good thing. Even President Clinton declared (and many others have embraced) that abortion should be safe, legal and rare. According to the Guttmacher Institute, almost half of all pregnancies among American women in 2005 were unplanned or unintended. And of those, four in 10 ended in abortion. (http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html#1) In other words, between one-fifth and one-quarter of all pregnancies ended in abortion. Without any other information, those statistics can sound scary and paint a picture of women as irresponsible or poor decision-makers. Therefore reducing the number of abortions is a goal that reproductive health, rights and justice activists should work toward, right?

Wrong. Those numbers mean nothing without context. If the 1.21 million abortions that took place in 2005 (http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_induced_abortion.html#1) represent the number of women who needed abortions (and in my opinion, if a woman decides she needs an abortion, then she does), as well as the many women who chose to terminate pregnancies that they very much wanted but could not afford to carry to term, then that number is too high. The work of reducing the number of abortions, therefore, would entail creating an authentically family-friendly society, where women would have the support they need to raise their families, whatever forms they took. That could include eliminating the family caps in TANF, encouraging unionization of low-wage workers, reforming immigration policies and making vocational and higher education more accessible.

On the other hand, if those 1.21 million abortions represent only the women who could access abortion financially, geographically or otherwise, then that number is too low. Yes, too low. If that’s the case, then what is an appropriate response? How do we best support women and their reproductive health? Do we dare admit that increasing the number of abortions might be not only good for women’s health, but also moral and just?

What if we stopped focusing on the number of abortions and instead focused on the women themselves? Much of the work of the reproductive health, rights and justice movements would remain the same. We would still advocate for legislation that helps our families. We would still fight to protect abortion providers and their staffs from verbal harassment and physical violence. What would change, however, is the stigma and shame. By focusing on supporting women’s agency and self-determination, rather than judging the outcomes of that agency, we send a powerful message. We say that we trust women. We say we will not use them and their experiences as pawns in a political game. We say we care about women and want them to have access to all the information, services and resources necessary to make the best decisions they can for themselves and their families. That is at the core of reproductive justice. Not reducing the number of abortions. Safe – yes. Legal– absolutely. Rare – not the point.

bullshit, indeed. there are laws against "abortion coercion", but not coerced childbirth.

Which hurts society more: A medical procedure involving a woman and her doctor or an unwanted child dumped into our already overtaxed community?

We both know.

ETA this that i found on the internets:
Perhaps an "informed consent" law for continuing pregnancy?

"As your doctor, before you decide to continue with this pregnancy, I'm required by law to share with you a long list of horrible side effects and pregnancy complications which may occur, and then we're going to watch a video which will show you grossly deformed fetuses and small infants with horrible malformations, as well as charts about the likely unemployment, depression and higher suicide rates those infants can look forward to as adults.

I also have some information for you about the negative impact this pregnancy will have on your body, your future health, your marriage, the children you already have, your chances of employment, your education, the likelihood you'll end up impoverished when you get old because of the costs of posting bail when your children become druggies and criminals.

Please be aware that no one has the right to force you to continue this pregnancy, and if the father, or your parents, or your employer or neighbors are putting pressure on you to have children, the law will step in and protect you. Society is providing this entirely unbiased information purely out of the altruistic desire to make sure you don't regret your decision to ruin your life by having children.

The benefits of decriminalizing abortion

On January 28, 2013, Canada will celebrate 25 years of reproductive freedom. Since our Supreme Court struck down Canada's abortion law in 1988, our country's experience is proof that laws against abortion are unnecessary. A full generation of Canadians has lived without a law and we are better off because of it.

Canada is the first country in the world to prove that abortion care can be ethically and effectively managed as part of standard healthcare practice, without being controlled by any civil or criminal law. Our success is a role model to the world.

After 25 years with no legal restrictions on abortion whatsoever:
- Doctors and women handle abortion care responsibly.
- Abortion rates are fairly low and have steadily declined since 1997.
- Almost all abortions occur early in pregnancy.
- Maternal deaths and complications from abortion are very low.
- Abortion care is fully funded and integrated into the healthcare system (improving accessibility and safety).
- Further legal precedents have advanced women's equality by affirming an
unrestricted right to abortion.
- Public support for abortion rights has increased.

Responsible abortion care: Since 1988, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has successfully managed abortion just as it does for every other medical procedure -- by applying policy and encouraging medical discretion for doctors, subject to a standard code of ethics.

Doctors abide by CMA policy and guidelines, and follow best medical practices based on validated research and clinical protocols. Criminal laws are inappropriate and harmful in medicine because they constrain care and negatively impact the health of patients.

Much more at link: http://www.rabble.ca/columnists/2013/01/benefits-decriminalizing-abortion

Joyce Arthur is the founder and Executive Director of Canada's national pro-choice group, the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC), which protects the legal right to abortion on request and works to improve access to quality abortion services.

See more of her work here:
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