Are Women Capable of Thinking on Week-ends and Holidays?
South Dakota law requires a woman seeking to terminate a pregnancy to visit her physician, then visit an anti-abortion “crisis pregnancy center” and then wait 72 hours before the procedure can be performed. This law has been in place for two years. They are now considering HB 1237, which would state the following: “No Saturday, Sunday, federal holiday, or state holiday may be included or counted in the calculation of the seventy-two hour minimum time period between the initial physician consultation and assessment and the time of the scheduled abortion procedure.” What could possibly be the purpose of this bill? Do they believe women cannot contemplate their options unless they do it during the work week?
If the bill passes, it would mean a woman who goes in for her initial consultation for an abortion on a Wednesday actually has to wait five days before she can have the abortion (Or six, if she happens to come in before a long weekend.) This is no small barrier for many women, especially in South Dakota. The state has just one abortion clinic, in Sioux Falls, and a doctor that flies in from out of state to provide services. Women drive up to six hours each direction to reach that clinic. The state also requires the doctor to read patients a state written script claiming that abortion will put them at an increased risk of suicide. There have been no studies done to back up this information. In fact, the multitude of studies done since terminating a pregnancy was legalized, show the opposite.
Other states are attempting to pass “heartbeat” bills, which would ban abortions after a heartbeat can be detected. The advance of medical technology has allowed us to detect the heartbeat of a fetus as early as 18 days into a pregnancy. Most women don’t even have the slightest suspicion that they may be pregnant that early. At this stage of a pregnancy, the embryo is about 1/12th of an inch long, or about the size of a pencil tip. Many women have irregular periods. Having a bad cold or flu, or taking some kinds of medications may cause a woman to miss a period or to be even more irregular. This means that most women, when they start to suspect they might be pregnant, would already be well past the cut-off date for terminating the pregnancy.
Roe V. Wade legalized abortion up to “the point of viability.” That occurs at 22 or 23 weeks, certainly not at 18 days. These heartbeat bills are an attempt to redefine pregnancy from a medical science viewpoint. Unfortunately, it’s not medical doctors or scientists that are attempting to change the definition. It’s politicians.
I would never go so far as to say that abortions are a good thing, but I am realistic and I understand that in so many cases, they are a necessary option. But it’s not our governments job to make such a personal decision for each woman in America. Throughout history women who have not wanted to be pregnant have attempted to end those pregnancies and an untold number of them died. Restricting abortions or making them illegal will not end them. It will just force women to risk their lives. It will force children already born to grow up without their mother. It will force husbands to live without their wives. It will force families further into poverty by the loss of income that the mother would have earned.
We do not yet have a perfect birth control available in this country. It seems the far right conservatives only care about fetuses. They don’t care about helping women access birth control. They don’t care about the pregnant woman who can’t care for more children. They certainly don’t care about unwanted babies once they are born. This has been proven by their desire to cut social services for low income families and their objection to insurances covering birth control.
State governments will soon be forcing women to become mothers. How will men react to being forced to become fathers? How will men react if insurances stop covering vasectomies? Will men like their reproductive rights being controlled by politicians? It’s interesting that so many men have been silent on this subject for so long. I’m anxiously waiting to hear their opinions.