Does the Government Have the Right to Legislate a Woman’s Choice to Abort?

February 1, 2011  |  

By Charing Ball

Two weeks ago, a story broke about a West Philadelphia abortion doctor who was charged with eight counts of murder in the deaths of a patient and seven babies that were born alive and then killed with scissors.

The late-term abortions, as they were called, were performed on these women illegally.  However, that didn’t stop this quack from doing this and similar illegal procedures for nearly 30 years.  Nor did it discourage the numerous and often nameless women, mostly from poor, brown and indigent communities, from risking their lives and subjecting themselves to those kinds of conditions—all because they really needed and/or wanted an abortion.

At some point we have to recognize that with or without government intervention, women who desire that choice will be willing to go to great lengths to terminate a pregnancy – even if it means doing it in a back alley or at the hands of doctor whose scruples are not all there. The question then becomes do we provide safe and cost-effective ways to conduct the procedure, or do we continue to jeopardize the lives of both women and children by exposing them to barbaric conditions?

It appears that House Republicans, along with some Democratics, are gunning for the latter with the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, which seeks to further erode the foundation of abortion.  Currently, the federal government denies taxpayer monies to be used to pay for abortions, except in cases when pregnancies result from rape or incest, or when the pregnancy endangers the woman’s life. However, this proposed bill seeks to disallow parents of minors from paying for pregnancy termination with tax-exempt health savings accounts, as well as prohibiting private health insurance plans from deducting tan abortion expense for tax purposes.

The bill would also modify the definition of rape to only include rapes by “forcible” nature. In other words, rape would not be rape unless violence is involved. Yeah sure, because being drugged and then sexually assaulted isn’t really all that bad like how being murdered in the 2nd degree isn’t as dead as murder in the 1st degree (sarcasm).

Rightfully so, women’s groups are up in arms about the proposed legislation. The same folks who are working hard to strip seniors of their social security benefits, spouting off about abolishing the Department of Education and fighting tooth and nail to repeal the healthcare reform act, now want to force women, even if they are raped, to have babies that they might not be able to financial afford or emotionally take care of.

But these issues are political of course, dredge up every two or three years to deflect away from more relevant issues that Congress is neglecting to work on (i.e. jobs).  Certainly, it should be noted that the rate of abortions in the U.S. has fallen to its lowest level since 1976.  But national unemployment remains steady above 9 %.  I wonder how these bill sponsors plan on feeding all these new babies when their mothers and fathers are out of work?

What makes this bill indeed troublesome is because if passed, then it would make it next to impossible for people to use their own money to pay for the procedure, even if it was medically necessary.  That means that more and more pregnant women in desperate situations will be pinching every penny, sometime into their 8th or 9th month of pregnancy, to go to clinics for late-term abortions like the one in West Philadelphia.

So much for the Republican mantra of the government being too big and intrusive into our lives.

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