Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Shotgun Abortions

According to, "yesterday, by a vote of 264-153, the House passed the Child Interstate Abortion Act (CIANA), a bill that would make it a federal crime for anyone other than a young woman’s parent to help her cross state lines to get abortion services."

Though the pro-choice argument was sappy and one-sided (an aunt or grandmother can't help her poor, abused neice/granddaughter), the other side's argument struck me as ridiculous. Save Roe details one argument:

On the anti-choice side, some lawmakers made the absurd argument that if we allow minors to have abortions without parental notification in cases of rape or incest, we would "end up hiding the crimes of rape and incest."
Yeah! We need some evidence in the form of a child! That'll show the rapists, fathers (in this case, we're forcing girls to notify their rapist of the abortion, in which case this whole argument falls apart), and brothers! A report on NPR included a related argument: that an abusive boyfriend or a rapist might force a woman under the age of 18 to cross state lines and get an abortion.

I'm not naive. I know that there are men out there who really would try to force their girlfriends to get an abortion (I sincerely doubt there are rapists out there who would). And again, the incest part of the argument doesn't play out - a father raping his daughter would have no problem forcing abortion on her. But what pro-lifers refuse to see is that clinics are not handing out abortions like those poor people with flyers on the street. Clinics are there for the woman. They sit with a woman - alone - and counsel her to make the decision that's right for her. There would be no way to force an abortion on a woman, because a qualified counselor would see if it's not the choice she wants to make. This argument assumes that clinics place little value on a woman's opinion. Having worked at a Planned Parenthood clinic, I can say with complete conviction - this is a ridiculous assumption.

So, here we are again. One step forward (Plan B over the counter! Yay). Five leaps back. I'm scared.

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