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  • Reproductive Freedom

    Posted by ken on April 21st, 2005 (All posts by )

    Remember when “abortion rights” advocates used the slogan “Keep your laws off my body”?

    Makes a lot of sense to me, although I’ve sometimes wondered why these advocates of “reproductive freedom”, while warning us incessantly about the shackles their opponents were waiting to place on us the minute Roe v. Wade got reversed, had absolutely zero interest in the drug laws, the FDA, or indeed any restrictions whatsoever on the use of our own bodies other than removing babies from them.

    Well, now, anytime anyone mentions “reproductive rights” or raves about the right’s conspiracy to enslave half the human race, I’ll recall this little gem and laugh, and note that the pro-abortion crowd is perfectly willing and even eager to outlaw any use of our own body that might convince us not to get an abortion.

    (You know, when I first heard the charge that the “pro-abortion” lobby wasn’t interested in choice, but rather maximizing the total number of abortions, I thought that was a little overwrought. Who could possibly work toward getting other people to have as many abortions as possible, and what could such a person possibly gain by that? Well, now it’s time to reconsider that, and look for a real answer to that surprisingly non-rhetorical question)

    Yes, these guys have pushed the Illinois House of Representatives to pass a bill restricting the use of ultrasound, and requiring doctor’s permission for any and all ultrasound, ostensibly because ultrasound may have unknown effects on the developing fetus.

    “Mulligan said that the Federal Drug Administration had warned that muscle and nerve development could be affected by long exposure.”

    Of course, why anyone with or without a doctor’s permission would submit to “long exposure” to an ultrasound machine without a damned good reason doesn’t seem to be a question that anyone involved asked. But supporters of the bill, in addition to citing hyperparanoid speculation about what “might” happen if someone were to do such a silly thing, said “an ultrasound should not be done for political reasons to make anyone change their minds about any particular purpose.”

    Ah yes, letting people have a look at what they’re considering removing and discarding just isn’t right, and is a misuse of technology designed to, well, let people have a look at that very creature. I know we have a hundred-year tradition of placing most aspects of our own care and treatment off-limits to all but the select few that our masters have decided to allow into the priesthood, but surely looking at your baby with technology that may be harmful if used for several hours a day every day throughout your pregnancy but is definitely far less harmful than all manner of things that pregnant women are still allowed by law to do (not that they shouldn’t be! A ban on such things as eating junk food by pregnant women, especially when the greatest harm from some activities comes before anyone can tell that she’s pregnant, would be problematic to say the least) shouldn’t be one of those privileges.

    So to recap – pro-abortion advocates are interested in no aspect whatsoever of reproductive freedom or any other freedom that doesn’t involve terminating a pregnancy, and are solidly in favor of restrictions designed to prevent anyone from showing you anything that might convince you not to terminate your pregnancy. With the hyper-paranoid crowd in alliance, along with those who think that keeping anything health-related restricted to the MD priesthood is a good way to keep us safe (as if an intentional shortage of people permitted to employ a long and growing list of means to save your life somehow improves your safety), this abomination has very favorable prospects of passing.

    (Links via The Dawn Patrol)

     

    25 Responses to “Reproductive Freedom”

    1. Ginny Says:

      We don’t want you worrying your pretty little head about such things.
      or
      Do we want to see this as a stealth eugenics campaign?
      I used to think, well, babies are an incredible commitment and accidents happen. I, too, have begun to pull back from these people and these arguments. They do not seem to arise from respect for women, childbearing, child rearing or (dare we say) life.

    2. Sandy P Says:

      Oh, drat, they’re wising up that med technology has caught up, we’re not in the 70s anymore.

      On the other hand, will this lower HC costs????

      Decisions, decisions.

      We’re not the Peoples’ Republic of IL for nothing, you know.

    3. Ken Says:

      “On the other hand, will this lower HC costs????

      Decisions, decisions.”

      What decision? These people don’t want lower health care costs – then we’d be able to pay for it ourselves and they’d be irrelevant.

      The left is perfectly happy to dismantle safety nets as long as it gives them an opportunity to make us dependent on their replacement safety net. Let criminals infest cheap neighborhoods and jack up building costs, then tell us that people having trouble paying for their homes are being victimized by heartless capitalism and need a “social” safety net. Restrict the supply of doctors and place most medical devices off limits to all but this tiny privileged group (neatly eliminating efficiency of scale in their manufacture and tying their use to those doctors’ expensive time) and introduce huge costs and delays in the development of every single drug, then when people have trouble paying for medical care claim that they’re being victimized by heartless capitalism and need a “social” safety net.

      And if it stops people from being talked out of abortions, hell, that’s twice as much bang for the buck as far as they’re concerned.

    4. chel Says:

      You know the “keepsake” ultrasound business is a real thing and it’s getting bigger. There’s no hard evidence that ultrasound is damaging to a fetus, but I think there is reason to proceed with care… I mean we’re talking about a fetus here! I think in general it’s a good idea to limit the use of medical proceedures for non-medical reasons (like those fun x-ray machines they had in shoe stores in the 1950s) partially because it’s possible that there are ill effects due to this exposure.

      Heck, I didn’t even know that that ultrasounds in excess could be harmful to a fetus until recently and I know a lot about health issues! I’m guessing most folks don’t know about this possibility at all. Mosy people assume that it wouldn’t be offered if it weren’t safe. If I had done a “keepsake” ultrasound and then later it was revealed that excess ultrasounds during pregnancy was correlated with say… learning disorders and that people had a hunch that this was true for a long time before, I’d be outraged.

    5. Ken Says:

      “If I had done a “keepsake” ultrasound and then later it was revealed that excess ultrasounds during pregnancy was correlated with say… learning disorders and that people had a hunch that this was true for a long time before, I’d be outraged.”

      Well, if one extra ultrasound posed a significant risk, we wouldn’t just have a “hunch”. We’d have lots of juicy data by now, given that some pregnancies involve one ultrasound, some involve several, and some involve none at all.

      Now I wouldn’t recommend getting an ultrasound every day just for the hell of it, but it doesn’t seem like much of a recreational activity to me.

    6. Ben Lange Says:

      I don’t think it’s really about maximizing the number of abortions, but about the long-term effects of improving ultrasound technology on public opinion.

      What if it really became widely accepted that a fetus was not just a clump of cells, but a living human being with fingers, toes, and a beating heart?

      What might that do to abortion “rights?”

    7. ed in texas Says:

      This is prong #2 of a move to restrict (I kid you not) the US Navy’s use of sonar. They tried to get regulations placed that would limit power and control of sonar beams in AUTEC (the US sonar test range) in the Bahamas on the basis of alleged negeative affects on dolphins and whales. Didn’t work out. So we move to plan ‘B’, in Illinois, and can they can then go back and say ‘the State of Illinois recognizes effects to fetuses’ while shopping for a friendly venue. (I know, it sounds like a wacko cospiracy theory. I hope it is.)

    8. Ken Says:

      “What if it really became widely accepted that a fetus was not just a clump of cells, but a living human being with fingers, toes, and a beating heart?

      What might that do to abortion “rights?” ”

      I would bet that it would solidify public support for abortion rights before the embryo develops fingers, toes, a beating heart, and a brain while eroding public support for abortion rights afterwards.

      That seems like exactly the right amount of reproductive freedom to me, so maybe I’m just engaging in wishful thinking. But that’s obviously not enough for some. And it’s interesting that some people think that a political tactic of passing laws interfering with people showing you pictures is perfectly kosher in a republic, but it’s the right that’s a den of fascists.

    9. Steve Says:

      Guys, My first question is, “Is the procedure proven to be dangerous?” The University of Chicago Obstetric and Gynecology webpage says “No.” The official line is, “Research has not identified any side effects or dangers to the mother or fetus.”

      My second question is, “Should the Illinois legislature be focused on more obvious dangers to the fetus, like some of the labor inducing drugs? This article from Mothering Magazine says “Perhaps.” Here is a case study where “…[the mother’s and fetus’] brush with death had been caused by the [drug] Cytotec, that the drug lacked FDA approval, and that such “off-label use” is completely legal.”

      Fact is the angst from both abortion rights activists and anti-abortion lobbyists alike suffer from incoherence when backlit by established science and the opinions of clerical obgyn practitioners.

      In his post, Ken suggests that abortion opponents want to increase access to ultrasound (US) because the picture of the life within the womb would forestall abortions. But my research quickly found that clerics actually want to de-emphasize all prenatal diagnoses in the absence of promising intrauterine cures, because the only available post-diagnostic treatment is, you guessed it, abortion. This interview with Catholic neonatologist, Dr. Carlo Bellieni of the Santa Maria alle Scotte Polyclinic, cautions against the “selective” pressures that prenatal diagnosis leads to. He bemoans prenatal diagnostic tools, both invasive, like amniocentesis, and noninvasive, like US. The money quote:

      “That prenatal diagnosis is too often carried out in the ambit of already widespread anxiety over pregnancy, which stems for the concept of the “search for the perfect child,” since the idea that the pregnancy might end in a way other than perfection is “simply not granted to women.”

      And, following this, abortion advocates who seek to use anxiety over the use of US to reduce this window on the fetus on the grounds it will eliminate one more obstacle to a grisly practice, appear to be misled. If Dr. Bellieni is to be believed, they should champion the use of all prenatal diagnostic tools.
      -Steve
      Thanks to my friend “Bellwether” for helping me draft my comment. She is a practicing RN in Northern Arizona.

    10. Anonymous Says:

      Steve,
      Your discussion implies sonograms would lead to more abortions because a woman would know she was carrying a less-than-perfect child; however, less than perfect as shown by a sonogram only reveals major problems.

      While in these rare cases this might be (understandably) true, I doubt many believe such reasoning leads to many abortions. A large percentage of abortions of certain kinds, yes: Downs syndrome births have gone down dramatically. Such reasons are, however, a very small percentage of births (and abortions).

      I think we can safely say that Mulligan’s argument (that Ken cites) indicates someone more in touch with reality than Belleini.

    11. Michael at Half Sigma Says:

      Liberal feminists believe that abortion allows women to have the same power as men, the power to have sex and not have children. Pregnancy enslaves.

    12. James daSilva Says:

      The ultrasound danger thing is really bizarre. Are they trying to open up a bunch of silly lawsuits after-the-fact?

      Also, while the wish for the fetus to be redefined as a human would be great, it would just lead to a redefinition of licit and illicit homicide, a la: Of course it’s a human, so what? It’s all about when and where we can kill, and abortion is one of those acceptable instances because of etc. etc.
      I don’t know which debate is the better one to take on.

    13. Steve Says:

      by___on,
      Boy are these politics muddled. While I’m sure Representative Mulligan (R- Park Ridge) thinks she’s saving unborn children from ultra-sound waves, the journal who wrote Ken’s linked article, the Leader-Springfield Bureau, considers this bill a win for “pro-abortion forces.” All I see is diametrically aligned interest groups who have the money and the megaphones, but only a partial grasp of the facts.

      If this bill becomes law, I see a new market for private ultrasound viewing devices. Entrepreneurs with the gumption can capitalize on this state intervention in the economy.

      BTW, I’ll take the word of University of Chicago Obstets pages over the politicking of a state representative and her planned parenthood backers any ol’ day.
      -Steve

    14. Ken Says:

      “If this bill becomes law, I see a new market for private ultrasound viewing devices. ”

      I wish. Remember the FDA? They don’t want you to have any medical devices – you’ll hurt yourself with them.

      If we can ever get the votes to shut down the FDA, we’ll get all sorts of nifty devices that we can take home and use to check ourselves over, and only have to deal with the Medical System after we can see for ourselves that something is wrong. Plus, you’ll be able to stay on life support for years at a fraction of the cost, and probably enjoy the experience a hell of a lot better too.

    15. Anonymous Says:

      Well, well. Yet another discussion of women’s “reproductive freedom” almost completely from the point of view of males.

      What will they think of next?

    16. Ginny Says:

      Ah, an anonymous entry by someone who assumes, I gather, that fatherhood, too, is anonymous.

    17. LotharBot Says:

      Anonymous, how about instead of whining about it, you get involved in the discussion? Anonymity is a great defensive fortress, but it’s worthless for offense, because nobody here takes the attacks of anonymous trolls or snipers seriously.

    18. Sandy P Says:

      I’ll bite, tho late to the party.

      If women spent as much time analyzing the member and what it’s attached to as they analyze shoe, hair, nail, eyeshadow and lipstick colors, this country might be able to move on.

      If women were a little more choosy?

      How about if the pro-lifers were smarter and took a page out of the lung cancer PR and stressed how much STDs are costing us, psychological state, how to get out of poverty, instead of morality, people just might listen.

      Thanks, Michael, a view on feminism I never thought of, we want to be as irresponsible as the boys.

      Which defines the 60s boomer protest class to a T.

      Dumbing down the women.

    19. Fritz Says:

      Sandy,
      I don’t think PR is the problem. The message of life is simple. The issues you mention fall under the same morality conundrum as abortion. The sexual behavior that leads to abortions, poverty, STD’s, ect, is considered acceptable by the pro-abortion lobby. Remember, AID’s in Africa is the failure of the Catholic Church not distributing condoms, not the un-Catholic behavior of the inflicted.

    20. Ginny Says:

      Off topic but related to Fritz & Sandy, both of whom seem to me to have a point.

      As a member of the boomer generation, I’d like to observe that we really bought into an assertion of self through sexuality. Look at the combination of pride and availability of women in popular culture at the time.

      Sandy’s points are great – it is just that we saw that way of looking at things as, well, crass and confining. Why would we care how people got into the middle class we, at the time, wanted nothing to do with? And disease – well, that was designed to “scare” us since it confined our freedom. Besides, that, too, was kind of crass. Not something to be talked about.

      Our only worry about psychological states was being free “to be who we were.” Yeah, we were idiots–we threw out a hell of a lot that was good about the fifties with the bit that was bad. (Segregation, of course, was one of the big bads – but I’m not sure if the sixties self-righteousness was the most effective way to deal with that, either.) And now we see how comforting (and good for children) those middle class homes that value health and psychological stability are.

      One of the worst things we did (though it was a temptation given the freedom we had with the pill, etc.) was to make choice so clearly a woman’s responsibility and so little a man’s. I think this did great damage to the relationship between parents and children as well as between parents themselves.

    21. Fritz Says:

      Ginny,
      I would say we took away the choice of the women. Prior to the pill and abortion on demand, women had the power of the relationship. Having the stigma of unwed pregnancy to term, women were empowered to expect males act like gentlemen and responsible. My daughter unfortunately lives in a context where boys are allowed to travel from female to female like dogs.

    22. Ginny Says:

      Well, I’m not arguing, but it has been my impression that my girls have a lot of power over the guys in their lives (partially, I suspect, because girls grow up faster – especially emotionally – than guys). And my friends who are of the hard religious right are really trying to give that power back to girls – through religious or psychological reasons rather than economic or biological ones. I have somewhat mixed feelings, but figure that is better than the situation you so aptly describe.
      And what it was (giving women less power and less freedom) was not how it was sold – and, frankly, how some people of my generation still often see it. (Reality does not always enter minds sufficiently programmed in our youths.)

    23. Fritz Says:

      The elder flower children of our generation raised their children far different than I have. I would prefer to be called “faithful to the enduring truth” rather than “religious hard right”. My son and daughter, both in high school, have been raised in a loving household. They are under no delusion that sex is not intimacy, that too many relationships makes intimacy harder to achieve. When my son’s debate topic was abortion and his side was life, I was heartened.

    24. Fritz Says:

      btw, as this topic began with ultra sound scans of fetal humans, the images my son saw while preparing his debating points really hit home to what abortion is.

    25. Dave H Says:

      The light bulb over my head went on as regards abortion when I realized that there is a class of women who use sex as a weapon. Risk of pregnancy degrades the usefulness of the weapon, abortion rights magnify it.