Waiting Periods for Abortions? (Link)

At AriArmstrong.com, I’ve posted a brief critique of a proposal to require waiting periods and ultrasound services before a woman can obtain an abortion. As the matter pertains to Colorado politics as well as to religion, I’ll include an excerpt here:

Beyond the extra, needless expense of time and money, the bill treats women as though they were incapable of making their own decisions without the help of politicians. Women are already fully aware of the nature and implications of abortion, and they can already order an ultrasound if they want one. The bill likewise subjects doctors to the whims of political force.

Ironically, [State Senator David] Schultheis [the bill’s sponsor] answered yes to the following question: “Would you oppose legislation mandating a waiting period before the purchase of a firearm?” Apparently, Schultheis believes that women are responsible enough to decide to buy a gun when they want, but not to get an abortion when they want.

Just as the anti-gun lobby attempts to impose additional costs on gun owners in order to discourage gun ownership, so Schultheis wants to impose additional costs on women who want an abortion.

As women have the right to purchase tools of self-defense without political interference, so they have the right to get an abortion without political interference. Of course, Schultheis believes that women have no moral right, and should be striped of their legal right, to get an abortion. He’s wrong, but rather than address the issue head-on, he undermines his other views in calling for costly and invasive political restrictions on legally permitted actions.

Waiting Periods for Abortions?

The Colorado legislature will consider a bill to require waiting periods and ultrasound services before a woman can obtain an abortion:

Lawmaker seeking new requirements for abortions
By Mike Saccone
The Daily Sentinel
Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Women in Colorado seeking to end their pregnancies would have to be offered an ultrasound before they undergo an abortion under legislation proposed by Sen. David Schultheis, R-Colorado Springs. …

Senate Bill 95, introduced Monday, would require abortion providers to give information about receiving ultrasounds to pregnant women who are considering abortion. The bill would require doctors to administer an ultrasound if the woman requests one. Women who are informed of their ultrasound rights and still choose to have the abortion would be required to wait 24 hours before having the procedure.

This bill would violate the rights of doctors and patients by putting political force between them. Mainly the bill would increase the costs — of money and time — of obtaining an abortion. Saccone continues:

Jody Berger, spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, said women often travel long distances to obtain abortions, and making them wait 24 hours to obtain one, after being advised of the availability of ultrasounds, could be a financial burden.

She said it could, for example, force the women to stay overnight at a hotel or make a second long drive to an abortion clinic.

Beyond the extra, needless expense of time and money, the bill treats women as though they were incapable of making their own decisions without the help of politicians. Women are already fully aware of the nature and implications of abortion, and they can already order an ultrasound if they want one. The bill likewise subjects doctors to the whims of political force.

Ironically, Schultheis answered yes to the following question: “Would you oppose legislation mandating a waiting period before the purchase of a firearm?” Apparently, Schultheis believes that women are responsible enough to decide to buy a gun when they want, but not to get an abortion when they want.

Just as the anti-gun lobby attempts to impose additional costs on gun owners in order to discourage gun ownership, so Schultheis wants to impose additional costs on women who want an abortion.

As women have the right to purchase tools of self-defense without political interference, so they have the right to get an abortion without political interference. Of course, Schultheis believes that women have no moral right, and should be striped of their legal right, to get an abortion. He’s wrong, but rather than address the issue head-on, he undermines his other views in calling for costly and invasive political restrictions on legally permitted actions.

Abortion Left and Right

Thanks to a tip from Fox News, I found an article in the UK’s Daily Mail titled, “Meet the women who won’t have babies — because they’re not eco friendly,” written by Natasha Courtenay-Smith and Morag Turner. The article reports:

[W]hen Toni [Vernelli] terminated her pregnancy, she did so in the firm belief she was helping to save the planet. …

At the age of 27 this young woman at the height of her reproductive years was sterilised to “protect the planet”.

Incredibly, instead of mourning the loss of a family that never was, her boyfriend (now husband) presented her with a congratulations card. …

“Having children is selfish. It’s all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet,” says Toni, 35.

“Every person who is born uses more food, more water, more land, more fossil fuels, more trees and produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases, and adds to the problem of over-population.” …

When Sarah Irving, 31, was a teenager she… she came to the extraordinary decision never to have a child.

“I realised then that a baby would pollute the planet — and that never having a child was the most environmentally friendly thing I could do.”

The Daily Mail article was published on November 21. Three days later, the Rocky Mountain News published Lisa Ryckman’s article, “Prayer as teen led to campaign for unborn.” Ryckman reports:

Kristi Burton was just 13 when she asked God for guidance and got it.

“I was praying, what could I do to help people?” Burton said, thinking back on that December day, sick in bed and looking through library books about community service.

“And I really think God brought that to my mind and said, ‘Save these people.’ “

Unborn people, she means.

Seven years later, that’s what Burton hopes to do, by amending the Colorado Constitution to define a fertilized egg as a person entitled to legal protection — a concept that has the potential to outlaw abortion.

(See also Ryckman’s article about the debate over the proposal and about voter demographics.)

At first glance, the positions of Vernelli and Burton seem to be diametrically opposed.

But the similarities of the women’s positions are more revealing. Neither activist holds that a woman should choose to have a baby based on what the woman deems best for her own life. Both activists believe that the choice over having a baby should be made self-sacrificially, with the sacrifice directed either to the planet or to God.

The environmentalist case against having babies rests on a view of man as a blight on the planet. The fewer the people, the better, according to this view. The religious case against having abortions rests on the belief that God infuses a fertilized egg with a soul. (Of course, many Christians also believe that the use of birth control is wrong, because it thwarts God’s control over the fertilization of eggs.) Neither view holds as significant the values, choices, and interests of the potential parents.

The religious and environmental movements seem to be converging, as Diana Hsieh reviews, though of course the basic motivations differ. However, while the Daily Mail finds “nothing in Toni’s safe, middle-class upbringing” to offer “any clues as to the views which would shape her adult life,” the article points out that Vernelli “excelled at her Roman Catholic school.” The transition is unsurprising, because environmentalism is a form of secularized religion. Nor is Baptist Pastor Mike Huckabee’s environmentalism surprising, given that the self-sacrifice demanded by environmentalism is so easily sublimated to the purported will of God.

False Definition of ‘Personhood’

Electa Draper writes for The Denver Post today:

The Colorado Supreme Court on Tuesday gave the go-ahead to proponents of a ballot initiative seeking to amend the state constitution in 2008 to define personhood as a fertilized egg. …

The amendment, if approved by voters, would extend constitutional protections from the moment of conception, guaranteeing every fertilized egg the right to life, liberty, equality of justice and due process of law.

Kathryn Wittenben, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado, argued that the measure is misleading, reports Draper: “Proponents of this initiative have publicly stated that the goal is to make all abortion illegal, but nothing in the language of the initiative or its title even mentions abortion.”

But the “initiative’s 20-year-old proponent, Kristi Burton, founder of Colorado for Equal Rights,” was undeterred: “This is a very simple petition. That’s all we need… The people of Colorado will support protecting human life at every stage. More than that, we have God. And he is enough.”

And Dinesh D’Souza wonders why atheists bother to criticize Christianity and its politics?

Diana Hsieh points out the inevitable consequences, should the measure pass (which is highly unlikely). Hsieh mentions a “horrifying story of a woman allowed to die of a totally non-viable ectopic pregnancy due to Nigaragua’s strict anti-abortion law.”

Here is a summary from the original article:

Two weeks after Olga Reyes danced at her wedding, her bloated and disfigured body was laid to rest in an open coffin — the victim, her husband and some experts say, of Nicaragua’s new no-exceptions ban on abortion.

Reyes, a 22-year-old law student, suffered an ectopic pregnancy. The fetus develops outside the uterus, cannot survive and causes bleeding that endangers the mother. But doctors seemed afraid to treat her because of the anti-abortion law, said husband Agustin Perez. By the time they took action, it was too late.

And this is what is called the “culture of life.”