The Choice Fight: A Final Rebuttal

In my final response to my friend Dartanyan I plan to address his concerns and demonstrate a right to choice.

Let’s work backwards for this one.

Sex-Selection Abortions:
Dartanyan puts forth imagery that is all too common in the pro-Life campaign: “I dispute that a procedure that tears an unborn child limb from limb is ‘healthcare.’” Not only is the linked website here not a government report or a research paper it is a political group called Live Action’s page. Not only is this an unfair representation of the procedure, but it is an insult to the respectable healthcare professionals that provide proper consultation and still provide women with safe options in the face of harsh criticism.

A pregnancy takes a toll on the body of a woman, and it is unfair to remove their right to choice based on the “questionable” nature of their reasoning. It is the opinion of the court in Indiana that this is a choice that is protected by law. Whether or not you agree with the choice of a woman to terminate her pregnancy, it is within the bounds of the law. The stigma that is perpetuated by the earlier false stretch of the procedure builds an attitude of arrogance towards the right to choice.

This stigma has been perpetuated on screen as well. An article on Slate that talked about the perception of choice on television started with an interesting anecdote:

When I was 16 and anti-choice, I thought abortion was murder. I thought anyone who even considered it was selfish, cold-hearted, and godless. But then the pastor’s daughter got knocked up, and I knew she wasn’t godless. If anyone had a direct line to the Almighty, it was her, right? So why did she then go through with it — that unambiguous sin, that unmitigated, call-it-a-day, demonizing act that everyone else in youth group knew was wrong? Simple. She was human, and she made a thoughtful decision about her future.

A decision about her future. That is a powerful thought. In all honesty, a man cannot ever fully empathize with this particular predicament.

Lets talk about some facts. The International Human Rights Clinic at the University of Chicago released a 2014 report entitled “Replacing Myths with Facts: Sex-Selective Abortion Laws in the United States.”

The report goes through 6 myths and ties them with 6 facts. Take a look here. I think we can agree that a study with detailed research methodology and real researchers is a better authority on this issue than a right to life organization.

I think that for whatever reason a woman chooses to end a pregnancy, it is their own. What Dartanyan neglects to do is mention that pregnancies can also be ended because a mother does not “want” a son. To rhetorically frame this as a crime against young unborn girls is a tactic I don’t appreciate when it doesn’t encompass the totality of the issue. This distracts from the real issue of a woman’s right to choice, and the data shows that this isn’t an issue regardless. Check out that report.

Health Standards:
I honestly don’t want to get in to this one at all because it is so frustrating. Doctors office do not need to conform to the guidelines that these clinics were required to. Hospitals are built this way to accommodate large equipment moving through the hallways. Out patient procedures are just that out. They do not require hallways of rooms to keep patients. Plenty of surgery centers were not hit with these same outrageous rules. Also, admitting privileges at local hospitals? In Texas? The likelihood that a doctor willing to perform an abortion in such a conservative state would have admitting privileges is pretty slim, and also completely unnecessary. These are restrictions that were deemed “medically unnecessary” by both the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. I trust the experts on this one. So yeah, “high standards” as Dartanyan called them in ALL medical facilities are a good thing. THESE higher standards in particular are not. They are restrictive.

In the case of Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg writes “…Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers laws like H. B. 2 that ‘do little or nothing for health, but rather strew impediments to abortion,’ Planned Parenthood of Wis., 806 F. 3d, at 921, cannot survive judicial inspection.” (Emphasis added)

And just to add a final touch here, Justice Stephen Breyer in the majority opinion wrote “In the face of no threat to women’s health, Texas seeks to force women to travel long distances to get abortions in crammed-to-capacity superfacilities.”

Just some food for thought.

Religious Exemptions:
Yes, the HHS mandate required employers and organizations to supply contraceptives to those they insure. Yes, the Catholic church does not believe in the use of contraception. However, we cannot as a civilized society dilute healthcare options of employees due to where they work. There needs to at least be a supplement or some form of coverage for women AND men that don’t conform to the religious beliefs and practices of their employers. In a way, restricting the access to contraceptives and family planning by employers forces a religious preference upon their employees which is in essence discriminatory. There’s a bunch of legal jargon, loopholes, and what-have-you with this issue, but its still not clear as mud for everyone.

And on the ACLU trying to compel Catholic hospitals to perform abortions, this is totally a distraction. What are the laws in Texas and other states but attempts to bolster the position of a pro-life movement. Whether you fight for the right to choose like the ACLU, or against it like pro-Life groups you still are making headway for your cause. I could list a handful of examples of pro-life groups attempting to make abortion illegal thus compelling hospitals to STOP performing abortions. This is a line that attempts to make a position against choice tenable when it isn’t relevant.

Other Lines:
Dartanyan writes:

Owen starts his argument by writing that the right to choose to have an abortion, contrary to my argument, is an absolute right. Here’s Owen:
“Precedent (Roe v. Wade) dictates that this is a constitutional right of women. The right to choice has already been deemed absolute…”

I then reference his appeal that no limitation to choice can be implemented in the eyes of pro-choice persons.

“Indeed, in the pro-choice frame of mind, there appears to be no real limitation that can ever be imposed on the right to choose.”
I respond: Yes. The Supreme Court said so. You cannot cherry pick which decisions you like because they bolster your own position.

In his latest rebuttal, Dartanyan writes that both liberals and conservatives cherry pick Supreme Courts, and that by saying this I would agree with the overturning of Plessy v. Ferguson by the decision in Brown v. Board, which is absolutely true. Segregation was a plague on this country and I’m glad that it was abolished. Dartanyan has a point I will concede, and that is the Court is not infallible. However, as I mentioned and was not recognized, the ruling in Roe v. Wade much like Dartanyan mentions was not absolute, but further cases have continuously moved precedent towards treating it as a definitive right. I believe that it is.

I wrote:
While the language in Roe v. Wade is not definitive, further precedent has been used to further engrain the ‘right’ to choice into American society. The ability of this protection to be flexible enough to cover a variety of situations is sensible. It is obvious from decisions following Roe v. Wade that the courts view restrictions to this freedom as unconstitutional.

I think this comes down as he said where we all stand on the protections of the Fourteenth Amendment. I stand squarely in the column of legal precedent and freedom of choice for women, but I definitely respect those that don’t. Abortion is a tough issue to tackle, but I don’t understand the lack of veracity used in messaging campaigns against it.

All in all, I think this is an issue that deserves discussion, debate, and compassion. That’s where I’ll leave it.