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A New Frontier for Abortion

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There's a growing movement that may make any abortion regulation by any state moot.
Thanks to the internet and advancement of chemical abortion in the form of RU-486, women are coming closer and closer to the ability to do "do-it-yourself" abortions. And, depending on the outcome of a case currently wending through the Federal courts, there won't be anything states can do about it, no matter how many feticide laws they pass.
In a way, it will take abortion back to the days of pre-Roe V. Wade but with a twist. The internet will provide tele-medicine sites to those states that out law it, will provide the prescription and medication from states that allow it, even to those states where it's illegal, and there will be nothing those states can do about it and no coat hangers involved.
Is this safe? Not as safe as a physical doctor and clinic. But it's a helluva lot safer than a coat hanger and Kansas and other states have made it crystal clear they could care less about the safety of women in their draconian anti-abortion laws. Anti-abortion groups used to try and use "safety of women" as one of their "concerns" in passing TRAP laws but now they don't even bother to do that. One should thank them for their new and increasing honesty about their real agenda.
In the meantime, other groups are forming like The Women's Above Ground Railway, a group formed initially in Virginia but now growing nationally, who provide transportation for women in anti-abortion states to states where it's legal and provide them financial support. for the procedure. There is also Women on Waves, an international organization taking ships to countries where abortion is completely outlawed and taking women into international waters for the procedure. They are significant in the US because they are one of the "shadow providers" of RU-486 to women in states like Kansas, Texas, Alabama, Idaho and the Dakotas.
In the end, women WILL wrest control of their own bodies from others, no matter what someone's "God" tells them, no matter whether they like it or not and no matter how many laws states pass. They can drive the procedure underground but it won't disappear. It's always been there and always will be. At least we can make sure women don't die from it, even in states that prefer it that way.

Comments

katz 3 years, 4 months ago

Just this week I read proposed legislation (now in committee) indicating that Kansas politicians plan to make safe, legal abortions nearly impossible to obtain. Like their boss, Brownback, these politicians think they have the right to control women's health care decisions despite Roe V. Wade. Lawmakers with no respect for the law!

I agree Do-It-Yourself (DIY) abortions aren't as safe as those performed by medical professionals in clinics. But I'm old enough to remember what happened to women who used the only means available before Roe V. Wade--filthy clinics, caustic chemicals, sharp objects--led to severe injury and death of women. Believe I read that drugs like Viagra are riskier to men's health than DIY drugs are to women.

Thanks for your comment.

pasay63 3 years, 4 months ago

Women have the right to control their bodies, their healthcare and their life decisions. If the radical elements in the state government choose to make laws that infringe upon the constitutional rights of women, women will find a way around them until they are overturned in the courts. The citizenry has spoken many times in the past and the conclusion on this issue is that the public supports women's rights and does not find favor with radical fundamentalists regardless of their professed religion. Radical Christians have made themselves out to be oppressed, but the citizenry is beginning to see that they are actually the OPPRESSOR and they do not have the public's support.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

Cytotec, which is successful in causing an abortion in 90% of first trimester abortions using it, has a safety factor that is 5 times greater than Viagra. In other words, you are five times more likely to die from taking Viagra than you are Cytotec. The drug is over the counter in Mexico. Mexico is a Catholic country and abortion is illegal nationwide. Cytotec is sold as a "gastric medicine" in drug stores but every one knows what it's true purpose is and turns a blind eye to it.
Despite it's demonstrated safety, in Mississippi, RU-486 and Cytotec can only be used on the consultation of four (count'em, FOUR) doctors; an obvious attempt to block women from accessing it.

rrearby 3 years, 4 months ago

As a Mississippi resident, I am severely concerned for the future of women in this state. RU -486 is under attack politically right now, necessitating four doctors visits at the patient's expense since Hyde act won't allow insurance or federal funds to supplement abortion procedures. I don't remember when all abortions were coat hanger or back alley, but in Mississippi this is already our life. Most women are poor and cannot commute to the one abortion clinic in Jackson for a surgical procedure, and don't have the funds to pay if they did. Getting the public out of our private lives and family decisions is crucial to the economic impacts of poor families here. Most families have enough challenges feeding the children they already have. I see this as hope for Mississippi women, this could be the difference in women dying by the coat hanger, and living to mother their children by an over the counter do it yourself abortafacient drug..

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for correcting me. I misunderstood the "four doctors" requirement and assumed it meant four different doctors, not visits. It's purpose is still the same; to block access to a safe and effective means of abortion.
I know that Mississippi has only one clinic and that many women live hours away from it. That "four visit" provision also means that women either have to get a hotel room (something that many can ill afford) or incur huge transportation costs. it also means they must get nearly a week of daycare for children, if they have them, as well as face nearly a week of lost work time.
One of the huge things in the current federal case is lack of access causing an "undue burden" on women, which was outlawed by Roe V. Wade. I sincerely hope that this case eases that burden for Mississippi's women.

Katara 3 years, 4 months ago

Well, it is obvious that the GOP, in particular Paul Ryan, just did not learn any lessons from the most recent election.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/09/paul-ryan-personhood-bill_n_2440365.html?rape

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

Katara, if you haven't seen it, take a look at this:
http://amandaching.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/67/
It's a dystopian short story of life for women under a total abortion ban.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

All of this is personally invasive TRAP legislation.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

It's not a Federal offense to prescribe legal medications and sell them over the internet. I get all of my medications via mail order now from a pharmacy website approved by my insurance provider.. RU-486 and Cytotec are FDA approved medications, not "poisons". Heck, they aren't even narcotics so they aren't subject to DEA laws. Good luck with that excuse because it won't fly.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

By the way, who said anything about "illegal websites" and "hackers"? I don't recall anything like that in my post. Just because a website may advocate for something illegal in a specific state doesn't mean that it's illegal at the Federal level. Geez.

katz 3 years, 4 months ago

All the GOP is doing is changing the way they talk about women at the national level. As if women are stupid enough not to notice that the message hasn't changed. Their work to limit access to abortion is going full speed in the states. Action speaks volumes. As rrearby said the poorest women among us are being hurt the most.

katz 3 years, 4 months ago

Lifeforall, Not all Christians believe abortion is murder. Nor do all people of other world religions consider it murder. Stop forcing your religious believes on the rest of us.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

Your belief that a one inch fetus the size of a grape is a "human being" is not shared by everyone and has just as much impact on the human rights of the woman whose body is being used to carry it. Forced reproduction was one of the definitions of slavery during the Civil War. If slavery of women isn't a human rights issue, I don't know what is.

sojourner333 3 years, 4 months ago

Cait, while no one agrees about that - or much of anything in the debate - when would you grant the status "human being" to a fetus? At birth? Another time prior to that?

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

That's something that is highly individual. The Federal government grants it at "viability" which is, itself, up for debate, going anywhere from 21 to 24 weeks. Personally, given that the definition of death is lack of brain activity, I would set it at the time the neocortex develops, about the 28th week at the earliest.

sojourner333 3 years, 4 months ago

I'm sorry, "individual" in the sense of the individual fetus on the basis of viability and/or brain activity? Or "individual" in the sense of the individual mother bestowing such a status as "human being"?

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

Individual in the sense that everyone has their own opinion of when life begins (and thus when a fetus becomes a "human being").

sojourner333 3 years, 4 months ago

Given that is the case for a fetus, would you feel uncomfortable with the argument made by two ethicists in the Journal of Medical Ethics: "After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?" Abstract below, you can find the original link easily on Google if you want to read the whole thing.

"Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus’ health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call ‘after-birth abortion’ (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all the cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled."

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

Our current state government already practices a form of "post birth abortion" by forcing women to give birth to babies they can't support then refusing to feed them, house them, educate them or protect their health. I don't see a whole lot of difference.

sojourner333 3 years, 4 months ago

Mania, I gave the title of the article and the journal, and invited anyone to look it up. Their credentials are legitimate. Here is the original document that was published: http://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2012/03/01/medethics-2011-100411.full.pdf+html

Cait, so "post birth abortion" (so titled) would be acceptable if the mother perceived she could not support the baby?

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

As MM stated above, birth is pretty definitive and I've already stated my personal views. This is argument for the sake of argument and I find it pointless. Go find someone else that's willing to shadow box.

sojourner333 3 years, 4 months ago

You mistake me if you think I'm trying to bait-and-switch. Nor is this an "argument" by any accepted definition of the term; I've not asserted anything, and only given you the opportunity to speak your mind. Both you and Mania seem to know my motives all too well.

Your view has not been made clear either regarding my above question (agreement or disagreement with "post-birth abortion") unless you've made it clear elsewhere that I'm not aware of - are you stating your agreement with Mania? Do you mean that either the sign of neuroactivity or viability is the point at which such a status gets conferred? Is it the common opinion of society that confers the status of "human" on the newborn and thus offers it protection? The value ascribed to it by the mother? Something inherent at birth?

All cards on the table: I want to understand why the death of a newborn would be inconsistant with a woman's right to choose.

There's numerous legal examples I can cite if that would help the question be more tangible.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

Gee, when did Tertullian write? Hmmm sometime between the 2nd and 3rd centuries. Now refresh my memory, what was the state of medicine at that point in time? Weren't physicians still believing in "humors" then?
Oh and by the way, I thought you said this wasn't "religion based". Tertullian was a Christian apologist (although he was considered a heretic by the RC church and never canonized).
it's not the grape sized "something" that threatens women. It's people like you that would force them to make it grow like they're a human petri dish.

RussellCrawford 3 years, 4 months ago

The pro life movement has a severe problem that it cannot overcome. There are scientific laws that show that pro life actions do not save life, they cause death. For example there are 1.8 born people dying each second and 1.4 abortions per second. Therefore one cannot save all life. One must choose whom they will save. They may choose to save born babies or they may choose to let the born babies die and instead save fetuses. It is scientifically impossible to save both. Therefore pro lifers that choose to save fetuses are not saving life, they are simply choosing to save fetuses and to let born babies die. http://www.naturalabortionlaws.com http://www.facebook.com/naturalaborti...

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

According to the NIH and the CDC, a woman is FOURTEEN TIMES more likely to die from pregnancy than an abortion. Yet just one woman that died hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away is screamed over, cried about and memorialized by anti-abortion groups, while the woman that died in childbirth in a hospital mere minutes away goes unknown, unnoticed and unmourned.
There were 24 maternal deaths in the state in 2011 alone. There were no deaths in the state due to abortion. Where are the memorials for these women? Where is the grief? How many of them left behind orphaned children? And here is the kicker question; how many of them died because of state laws that denied them access to procedures that would have saved their lives?

verity 3 years, 4 months ago

Actually, Cait, we don't necessarily know that no women died from abortions in Kansas in 2011 due to the fact that there may have been "coat hanger" abortions and the deaths not reported as such. I know from personal experience that death from an illegal abortion happens. The one I know about happened before Roe v Wade and left a family of six children without any parent. The young woman was 23, had her first child at the age of 12 or 13 after being impregnated by a stepfather. This did not have to happen but will if the TRAP etc. laws keep being passed.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

I, too, know that death happens from illegal abortion. My father lost his half sister to an illegal abortion at the height of the Depression. Her husband had been out of work for months and they already had two children. He found out she was pregnant and told her to "get rid of it" or he was abandoning the family because he couldn't support them. She took him at his word. Being poor, she couldn't exactly access the best of care and within a week she was dead, leaving behind two orphans.
My own mother faced a similar dilemma with a better outcome. Early in 1962 she found out she was pregnant.. There was just one problem. She had been prescribed thalidomide as a sleeping pill. She attempted to get an abortion and was refused. She was in the process of researching how to get an illegal abortion when she miscarried naturally. The fetus was severely malformed and had no arms and one leg was only half there. It was a direct result of this experience that turned my own mother (born in 1926) into a radical pro-choice advocate.

lunacydetector 3 years, 4 months ago

i just wanted to interject, we've come a long way, baby......not

Abortion but mostly Infanticide was common in all well studied ancient cultures, including those of ancient Greece, Rome, India, China, and Japan.

The Twelve Tables of Roman Law held: "Deformed infants shall be killed" De Legibus, 3.8. Of course, deformed was broadly construed and often meant no more than the baby appeared "weakly." The Twelve Tables also explicitly permitted a father to expose any female infant. Stark, op. cit., page 118.

Leading pagan leaders and philosophers also encouraged the practice. Cicero defended infanticide by referring to the Twelve Tables. Plato and Aristotle recommended infanticide as legitimate state policy. Cornelius Tacitus went so far as to condemn the Jews for their opposition to infanticide. He stated that the Jewish view that "it was a deadly sin to kill an unwanted child" was just another of the many "sinister and revolting practices" of the Jews. Histories 5.5. Even Seneca, otherwise known for his relatively high moral standards, stated, "we drown children at birth who are weakly and abnormal." De Ira 1.15.

Druids were cannibals http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/03/090320-druids-sacrifice-cannibalism.html

Jews and Christians were against the killing of innocents, so it is understandable that you would include religion or God in your argument why people do not believe your way of thinking.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

This has nothing to do with the legal implications of the original post. You can believe as you wish and I will believe as I wish.We have this thing in the US Constitution called the "establishment clause". So toddle along and go light your candles or fiddle with your beads or do whatever it is you do. I don't care. Neither you nor anyone else can impose your "God" or religion on me or abridge my rights because of what you believe.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

My religion (or lack thereof) is not your business. Never has been and never will be. Go play somewhere else.

verity 3 years, 4 months ago

"In the end, women WILL wrest control of their own bodies from others . . ."

Just had to repeat that. The argument about abortion will no doubt go on for a very long time with very few if any being persuaded, but women WILL find a way---we always do.

Thank you for doing the research for the blog---some very interesting things that I didn't know.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/02/11/1570161/five-facts-telemedical-abortion/

"Most of the states that are restricting telemedical abortions don’t offer those services in the first place. At least ten states have banned the use of telehealth services to provide abortion care over the past several years, and another five are considering passing legislation to do so this year. But Bloomberg points out that telemedical abortions weren’t even being offered in the majority of those states in the first place; Iowa is the sole state where lawmakers are considering a ban that would restrict a procedure that is already in place. The anti-choice community — led by Americans United for Life, the anti-abortion group that drafted the language for the telemedicine bans — is working proactively to prevent the expansion of telemedical abortion services, particularly through indirect abortion restrictions that would require doctors to show women an ultrasound in person."

Understand that if the case currently in the Federal courts ends up declaring "lack of access" an "undue burden" under the provisions of Roe V.Wade, all of AUL's cookie cutter legislation re: telemedicine won't be worth the paper it's printed out on. Women in states that have outlawed telemedicine can access it in states where it's legal via webcam. receive their prescription and have the medication mailed to them from the state where it's legal and the state that has outlawed it can't do anything. Basically, it's no different from a woman actually traveling to another state to have the procedure done (and there will always be states where it's legal). Or, to put it in another perspective, it's no different from someone travelling to the Mayo Clinic or MD Anderson for cancer treatment and having their checkups done via webcam in their home state.

James Nelson 3 years, 4 months ago

What all this boils down to is a group of perhaps well intentioned people believing in pro-life to a fault, and generally from a religious standpoint, simply wishing to cram their religious beliefs down anyone else's throat who disagrees with them and prevent them from obtaining lawful medical procedures ruled on by the U.S. Supreme Court years ago.

They enjoy making the water murky by claiming that their freedom of religion constitutional rights are violated if their health insurance covers birth control or abortions. It seems more than a little funny to me that they can believe that to protect their constitutional rights they must take everyone else's constitutional rights away. Its like their rights trump everyone else's. That's simply shoving their religious beliefs upon others. NOW THAT IS WHAT IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

Have you noticed that most pro-lifers are older white guys. They must be worried their wives and daughters might get some BC pills, as if they haven't already. I would be willing to bet that most of the most vocal pro-life women have been on the pill. Even if we make the ridiculous assumption that no pro-life woman has ever had an abortion or been on the pill the knowledge that their health insurance coverage would pay for either should not represent a threat to them. They just do not go get the pills or seek an abortion. Problem solved. Its simple.

verity 3 years, 4 months ago

If it wasn't sex that caused pregnancy, I wonder if there would be such a furor over it. I've always thought that was the main reason so many "religious" people are against it. They want the people having fun and being immoral to suffer for it. Their general idea of a woman who has an abortion is that she is pregnant out of wedlock and shouldn't have been fooling around.

And, yes, topekaj, I have noticed the age, sex and color of most of the pro-lifers that one sees in the media. One suspects abortion is one of the symbols of their loss of ultimate power.

verity 3 years, 4 months ago

Furthermore, the argument that people's taxes shouldn't pay for what they don't approve of doesn't seem to go any further than birth control and abortions. My taxes pay for a lot of things that I think are immoral---our vast and overreaching military being one of them. My health insurance is probably paying for Viagra. My opinion is that we really don't need anymore horny guys getting woman pregnant---

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for the heads up, Autie. I'll look up the bill. Nothing these yahoos do surprises me anymore.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

Just took a look at the bill and I think I know what's going on. This puts all county health departments under the direct control of the legislature. I think they're gearing up to go after birth control.
Yep, I'd say that's exactly what they're doing. Take a look at this.
http://www.khi.org/news/2013/feb/11/bill-introduced-prohibit-health-departments-seekin/
Buried in this article is this little gem:
"Accreditation through the non-profit Public Health Accreditation Board, a national organization, is voluntary, though most local health officials expect that in the near future departments that want federal funding will need to be accredited to receive the aid." Sammie wants to go the way of Texas; bring all birth control funding under the state's control and cut out the Feds (and their money) entirely. I sometimes think I've stepped back 1000 years straight into the Dark Ages.

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

LOL! Look at my edited post above. Great minds think alike ;)

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 4 months ago

The thing is, this threatens a lot more than just family planning. I don't know about other counties, but I know the Douglas and Wyandotte County departments also do pre and post natal care, infant and child well checks and immunizations, WIC (which is a Federal program under USDA), STD testing and treatment, cancer screening and probably a lot more I'm not remembering.

verity 3 years, 4 months ago

Our biggest problem seems to be that most people are occupied with other things and don't have the time and/or inclination to follow what is going on politically. The unthinking can be motivated with lies, half-truths and fear while the majority go blithely about their way and don't realize what's happening until it affects them directly and even then they're likely only to complain rather than get involved.

So we have laws being passed that the majority don't support. I don't know the answer to that.

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