parens binubus

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  • Friday, April 20, 2007
    My Optimism
    I believe that the 2006 elections, Bush's low approval ratings, and a general feeling that the conservative tide is ebbing, leads to the possibility that this Supreme Court decision restricting mid-term abortions is the peak of the movement. This is it. They got their victory - but no more.

    While the new Congress is Democratically controlled, I don't think they have enough to repeal the mid term abortion ban (nor have I heard, anywhere but in my head, that they'd be so inclined), but they do have enough to ensure that no similar and farther reaching bills make it through.

    As stated in the New York Times, even state legislatures had a large Democratic influx in 2006, and there will be huge difficulties facing the conservatives who want to enslave women to their reproductive capacities. There are states that are danger zones (including my old home, Alabama, where a bill was introduced hours after Wednesday's decision that would ban almost all abortions, according to the NYT), but it's only a handful.

    On the national level, I think the conservatives missed the boat. I think that if this decision came down 2 years ago, we'd be in a scary position. But Bush and the Republican Congress have gotten their come uppance, and lost their general momentum before they could get the final branch in line.

    I can't wait for Bush to go home.

    I am inclined to say that abortion will be a major issue in the coming election, but I don't want it to be. It's such an ugly issue, and such and ugly debate. The pro-choice people truly believe that babies are being slaughtered. If I thought that babies were being slaughtered, it would be an important thing to me, too. Their minds are not going to be changed. It makes it so that the debate isn't really a debate. They're not talking about whether a woman should be able to decide when or if she gives her body over to a pregnancy or about self-determination or about women being told by men (or religious fanatics) what they must or must not do. They're talking about dead babies. Sort of hard to have a reasonable conversation.

    I don't want an abortion-focused election. But I want a President who will ensure that Roe v. Wade is not overturned, and that this nation does not become so backward in yet another area.

    Here's the text of the bill banning the mid and late-term abortion procedure:


    The Congress finds and declares the following:

    (a) IN GENERAL. -- Title 18 United States Code, is amended by inserting after chapter 73 the following:


    "1531. Partial-birth abortions prohibited

    §1531. Partial-birth abortions prohibited

    (a) Any physician who, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, knowingly performs a partial-birth abortion and thereby kills a human fetus shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 2 years, or both. This subsection does not apply to a partial-birth abortion that is necessary to save the life of a mother whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself. This subsection takes effect 1 day after the date of enactment of this chapter.

    (b) As used in this section --

    (1) the term 'partial-birth abortion' means an abortion in which --

    (A) the person performing the abortion deliberately and intentionally vaginally delivers a living fetus until, in the case of a head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother, or, in the case of breech presentation, any part of the fetal trunk past the navel is outside the body of the mother for the purpose of performing an overt act that theperson knows will kill the partially delivered living fetus; and

    (B) performs the overt act, other than completion of delivery, that kills the partially delivered living fetus; and

    (2) the term 'physician' means a doctor of medicine or osteopathy legally authorized to practice medicine and surgery by the State in which the doctor performs such activity, or any other individual legally authorized by the State to perform abortions: Provided, however, That any individual who is not a physician or not otherwise legally authorized by the State to perform abortions, but who nevertheless directly performs a partial-birth abortion, shall be subject to the provisions of this section.

    (c)(1) The father, if married to the mother at the time she receives a partial-birth abortion procedure, and if the mother has not attained the age of 18 years at the time of the abortion, the maternal grandparents of the fetus, may in a civil action obtain appropriate relief, unless the pregnancy resulted from the plaintiff's criminal conduct or the plaintiff consented to the abortion.

    (2) Such relief shall include

    (A) money damages for all injuries, psychological and physical, occasioned by the violation of this section; and

    (B) statutory damages equal to three times the cost of the partial-birth abortion.

    (d)(1) A defendant accused of an offense under this section may seek a hearing before the State Medical Board on whether the physician's conduct was necessary to save the life of the mother whose life was endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.

    (2) The findings on that issue are admissible on that issue at the trial of the defendant. Upon a motion of the defendant, the court shall delay the beginning of the trial for not more than 30 days to permit such a hearing to take place.

    (e) A woman upon whom a partial-birth abortion is performed may not be prosecuted under this section, for a conspiracy to violate this section, or for an offense under section 2, 3, or 4 of this title based on a violation of this section.".

    (b) CLERICAL AMENDMENT. -- ÑThe table of chapters for part I of title 18, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to chapter 73 the following new item:

    "74. Partial-birth abortions ........................................................... 1531".

    (a) FINDINGS. --The Senate finds that --

    (1) abortion has been a legal and constitutionally protected medical procedure throughout the United States since the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade (410 U.S. 113 (1973)); and

    (2) the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade established constitutionally based limits on the power of States to restrict the right of a woman to choose to terminate a pregnancy.

    (b) SENSE OF THE SENATE. --It is the sense of theSenate that --

    (1) the decision of the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade (410 U.S. 113 (1973)) was appropriate and secures an important constitutional right; and

    (2) such decision should not be overturned.

    Passed the Senate March 13, 2003.

    I thought that I had heard that it did not contain an exception for the health of the mother, but it clearly does. It does not contain an exception for the well-being of the mother, which I believe Casey (1993 case upholding the right to choose) did address. Well-being extends beyond a physical disability or illness or condition, which, considering that woman are not merely incubators for the purpose of growing a man's offspring, is sort of important.

    I also find it ridiculous that the "father" has a cause of action to sue the doctor if this procedure is performed in violation of the law.

    Labels: ,

    posted by Zuska @ 9:13 AM  
    • At Friday, April 20, 2007 10:22:00 AM, Blogger LL said…

      I too am hopeful this won't go further- I find it upsetting and insulting that five (male) members of a court have control over my medical options. And I think you articulated well why the debate isn't a debate- I wish it didn't take up so much time and money in political campaigns.

      I read an article yesterday that helped to explain the "exception" in the Bill. It is an exception for the mother's life, but not her safety. So if you have two options: (a) the partial birth procedure which is safer and would have a much lower chance of permanent scarring and damage, but option (b) which was riskier and likely to lead to permanent damage to a woman's reproductive system, the woman would now have to choose option (b) as long as it doesn't truly threaten her life. (The doctor in this article said the main reason for using the partial-birth procedure is b/c if a pregnancy needs to be terminated that far along, it is much safer and there is far less chance of scarring and permanent damage done to the woman's reproductive system.) I'm not sure if I explained that clearly, but it helped me understand why this Bill was different.

    • At Friday, April 20, 2007 10:27:00 AM, Blogger Zuska said…

      Oh, thanks for that info! I didn't know that about the alternate procedure.

      What are people even thinking when they come up with these ideas? There are other options, so they're not guaranteeing that the abortion won't happen; their opening up the possibility that women cannot have more children -- but it can't be vindictiveness, because the percentage of women who undergo this procedure for health reasons is HUGE. So are we punishing them for daring to get sick, or to have a high-risk pregnancy by harming their reproductive system for evermore?


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