Thursday, February 01, 2007

More Anti-Choice Machinations in Arizona

A Republican state senator from the Phoenix area (Thayer Verschoor, R-Gilbert) has introduced a bill that would greatly expand the personal information doctors are required to collect from women obtaining abortions.
But in addition to a woman's age, race and marital status — which the state health department already collects — it would mandate that doctors collect and report information such as the reason for the abortion, who referred the woman to the clinic, the weight of the aborted fetus and other intimate personal information about the woman.
Funny, but when I had two invasive surgical procedures over the past four years, I don't recall the state being interested in why I was choosing to have tissue excised from my body, who referred me to the surgeon, or how much the removed shreds of meniscus weighed. Lucky for me that the kneecap isn't subject to the same level of scrutiny as the uterus, despite my knees' much greater potential for long-reaching health effects (a year after the second surgery I'm still not walking right).

But wait, it gets better:
A potentially bigger effect of SB 1550 is that it would require doctors to report the same information not just for surgical abortions but when a pregnancy is terminated with drugs such as RU-486 — something state health officials say they don't track now.

Verschoor acknowledged that it might even require reports to be filed when a woman uses the "morning-after" pill. That's because the legislation would define a fetus as any organism beginning at fertilization, and there is some medical evidence that the pill prevents a fertilized egg from implanting.
At least they're being upfront about throwing science completely out of the room. Hell, science is being slammed face-down on the cement and frisked before it can even get close to the building. Setting aside the "life begins at conception" argument for a few seconds, whatever spriritual investment you want to ascribe to that diploid cell, it ain't a fetus. "Fetus" applies only to developing offspring that have acquired the major structural characteristics of the adult animal, and that doesn't happen in humans until after week 8. Hell, even calling the blastocyst or embryo an organism is a bit of a stretch, given its inability to function independently of the gestating woman. And finally, of course, given our species' shoddy successful implantation rate of roughly 50%, pregnancy does not begin until the fertilized egg implants in the uterine lining. Under this bill's logic, sexually active women might as well be required to wring out their tampons into a cup on a scale, because about half the time there very well may be a Verschoor-style "fetus" in there.

Clearly, this bit of legislation from a recognized "long term abortion foe" is designed to throw up even more roadblocks in the path of a still-legal medical procedure, this one by raising the paperwork bar in the hopes that at least a few doctors will throw up their hands and stop providing abortions altogether.
Verschoor acknowledged half that point. He said any new information obtained by the state about who has abortions, even in aggregate form, could be used to create programs targeted at certain groups.

"The hope here is that we can find alternatives to abortion where they choose the life of the child instead of abortion," he said, citing adoption as an alternative.
Here's a clue for Mr. Verschoor: women who do not wish to be pregnant in the first place have abortions. Some of them get pregnant because they're ignorant about reproductive physiology and contraception. Some get pregnant because they and their partners are careless. Some get pregnant because they're sexually abused. Adoption is certainly a wonderful choice for some of these women. For most, it isn't. And rather than expending all of your energy in creating programs intended to convince their target audience of unintentionally pregnant women to give birth, you would do far more to end abortion by advocating thorough and accurate education, as well as effective, affordable, accessible contraception.


tigrrl said...

What are we, here in Arizona, doing to defeat this legislation and repeal the law about collecting women's private medical information? No one needs to know about my decison to have an abortion, certainly not every freaking member of the government, including any individual who might be a member of a terrorist religious organization not currently recognized by our government! How come I can get an anonymous HIV test and the results remain private even if they are positive, but the fact that I had an abortion cannot be a private matter? I want the name, phone number, age, and address of every fundamentalist Christian in this state, if they're going to be able to get their hands on MY private medical information!

Homer said...

I grieve for your knee tissue, as a member of Pro-Knee America, I'm fully behind their efforts to ban the destruction of helpless, innocent knee parts!

How much more can the Repugnants destroy their party?