Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Republican Party And Abortion... Or, WTF??

Abortion again, it seems to be the hot topic lately. At least it is for Washington Republicans, and others at the state level. I'm not gung-ho on handing out abortions to anyone who wants one for any reason, nor do I think they should be viewed as just another method of birth control, but I do think the choice should be left to the pregnant woman. I think most women don't treat such a decision lightly, it's not something most of them will do just because they had unprotected sex or are mad at the father, then run out to get knocked up again etc... Sometimes it is simply the right decision, the one which does the least harm to the least people.

I've already blogged about the DC Republicans' attempt to redefine what constitutes rape as a means of limiting access to abortions. Now they've gone even farther, to the point of despicable. At the local level, a married couple in Nebraska were forced to watch their very premature baby die a slow painful death. An anti-abortion law had been recently passed which flat out forbade abortion past 20 weeks if the mother's life was not at risk and the baby's heart was still beating. They left no exceptions, because they frankly don't care how much suffering results from their never ending quest to turn America into a theocracy as a means of keeping their lunatic, extreme right ultra-conservative base happy so they can continue to hold power. In this case the infant was born 23 weeks into the pregnancy. Because of complications arising from the premature loss of the mother's amniotic fluid doctors said the infant, if it went full term, had at absolute best a ten percent chance of surviving even if there were an all out medical frenzy using every available means to keep her alive. If she somehow survived she had at best a two percent chance of ever being able to perform even basic functions, like feeding herself. So even if she survived, the child’s quality of life would be nonexistent, she'd have a severely damaged body with almost guaranteed brain damage. The law forbade an abortion in their case so when the infant was born 17 weeks early she lived for fifteen minutes, unable to breath, gasping for air, with no idea what was happening, knowing only that she hurt and couldn't make it stop. All the mother could do was watch her baby die, after 3 of her 4 previous pregnancies had ended in miscarriages. Read the story here and here (also linked at the bottom of the first article).

At the federal level the Republicans are now trying to make it legal for a hospital receiving any federal funding to refuse giving a woman an emergency abortion even if her life depends on it, opting instead to simply let the pregnant woman die. Currently all hospitals in America receiving Medicaid or Medicare funding are required by a 1986 law known as EMTALA to provide emergency care to all comers, regardless of their ability to pay or other factors they have to stabilize them and provide them with emergency care without factoring in their ability to pay for it. If a hospital can’t provide the care a patient needs, it is required to transfer that patient to a hospital that can, and the receiving hospital is required to accept that patient. In the case of an anti-abortion hospital with a patient requiring an emergency abortion, ETMALA would require that hospital to perform it or transfer the patient to someone who can.

The proposed bill would free hospitals from any abortion requirement under EMTALA, meaning that medical providers who aren’t willing to terminate pregnancies wouldn't have to — nor would they have to facilitate a transfer. The hospital could literally do nothing at all, allowing both the mother and the infant to die. So much for "First do no harm." Somehow their bizarre logic considers 2 deaths better than one, as long as no abortion occurred. In any other situation this would be called negligent homicide.

You can read the story about H. R. 358 or the "Protect Life Act" here. Maybe you can figure out how murdering a mother protects life, I couldn't.

This last one is something else entirely. I had to read it twice to even believe I'd read it at all. South Dakota Representative Phil Jensen has proposed legislation to actually legalize the murder of abortion doctors. I shit you not. The proposed bill "alters the state’s legal definition of justifiable homicide by adding language stating that a homicide is permissible if committed by a person “while resisting an attempt to harm” that person’s unborn child or the unborn child of that person’s spouse, partner, parent, or child. If the bill passes, it could in theory allow a woman’s father, mother, son, daughter, or husband to kill anyone who tried to provide that woman an abortion—even if she wanted one." Most of this possibility is due to vague and nonspecific language, the Republicans' favorite tool lately when trying to limit access to abortion. You can read about the proposed bill, and several updates to the story, here.

It's sad state of affairs in the US these days when a majority political party approves so highly of murder that they seek to legalize it for the sole purpose of imposing their religious beliefs upon an entire country. Time and time again, in vote after vote, Americans have voted against banning abortion but the GOP just doesn't seem to get it. I have to ask myself a great big "WTF?" Unfortunately, I can't think of an answer to that question.

If any Republicans supporting this attitude happen to stumble across this blog please explain it because I am at a complete loss.

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