Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Ultrasound, Ultrashmound

First of all, I would like to thank J. James Mooney for attempting to find middle ground on the horribly devisive issue of abortion. Read what he has to say here. His main point: if we view abortion as “tragic but necessary” we can accept some innocent deaths for the greater good (as in war) while trying to reduce the necessity of those deaths.

Preventing the necessity of abortion is a wonderful answer to the problem. While Mr. Mooney suggests showing ultrasounds to pregnant women in abortion clinics, I contend that the ultrasound solution is not a real solution. Every abortion performed results from an unwanted pregnancy. The real solution is to reduce unwanted pregnancies, rather than coerce or force accidentally pregnant women to have unwanted children. If there were no unwanted pregnancies, both sides would be happy because there would be no abortions and no activists telling women what to do with their bodies.

Here is my list of ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies (and therefore abortions):

  • Increase access to the birth control pill. A woman must see her doctor and often pay a prescription co-pay of up to $50/month to be on the birth control pill. The price can be even higher if an insurance plan does not cover the pill. And even with that, pharmacists can legally refuse to sell the pill to women if the pharmacist has “moral objections.” Can we have another hurdle, please?

  • Approve the over-the-counter morning-after pill. The FDA advisory panel found it to be safe and effective and recommended its approval. Yet Plan B remains unapproved. The morning-after-pill allows rape victims and oops-the-condom-broke couples an alternative solution to abortion.

  • Teach teenagers that condoms and/or other contraceptive devices greatly reduce the chance of unplanned pregnancy. Abstinence-only methods of sexual education leave teenagers ignorant and cause them to engage in irresponsible behavior that can lead to unwanted pregnancies.

  • Increase contraceptive education in MEN. Yes, MEN. I have never had a girlfriend tell me that her boyfriend wanted to wear a condom, but she thought it felt better without. Men gripe about condoms, not women. Men think that the pullout method works, not women. If the rhetoric would just once reference “irresponsible women AND MEN” as a cause of abortion, perhaps women would not be constantly fighting an uphill battle to keep themselves fetus-free.

  • As a woman who has been fighting for years against increasing obstacles to birth control access, I find the Ultrasound Solution just plain insulting. Women are not heartless killers. Often times we are simply up a creek without a diaphragm.


    Blogger J. James Mooney said...

    Let me first start off saying that I applogize for insulting you and calling you a heartless killer . . . it was not my intent.

    I think my post was more than fair to both sides of the issue, and I think you misunderstood the nature of the ultrasound suggestion. (The ultrasound was an example and not the end all be all of my arguement as you made it sound, later in the comments I spoke to many of the same issues you did)

    The ultrasound donations may convince some couples that they genuinely want the child. Not manipulating them (as I suspect you believe the far right wants to do, I may suspect it myself). But genuinely want the child. However, the ultrasound is a last resort and should never be forced on anyone.

    Now on to your suggestions.

    1. Birth control. This suggestion is really a health care/economic issue that is a whole different can of worms. (BTW I was under the impression that the moral objection thing only applied to plan B, but you may be correct)

    2. Plan b. No complaints. Although I am wary of it become in itself a type of birth control, although from what I hear taking it is sometimes very unpleasant which would deter that practice.

    3. Both contraceptive and abstinence should be taught it school. An image of cool with abstinence wouldn't hurt.

    4. I don't think this really was a suggestion, but rather a pissed off rant. Don't get me wrong, you have a right to be pissed off (fyi so am I, see my response comment on my post). I think education is a good thing for both genders. However, I think we need to foster an environment of sexual responsibilty for men that is currently lacking. This is no doubt a problem.

    Here are my solutions:

    1. Education
    2. Better Parenting

    Plain and simple, give kids the facts and foster an environment that encourages good decisions, rather than discourages bad ones.

    PS Sorry about the creek . . . I'm working on it.

    2:36 PM  
    Blogger Jezebella said...

    I thought your post was fair...I was just trying to offer a woman's perspective. If it sounds like a pissed off rant, well, it kind of is. I am angry about all the double-standards and impossible situations that women and their bodies are put in...not angry with your post in the least. I get irritated that it is mostly men who rail on "personal responsibility" and also mostly men who (at least in my experience) do not feel it is their job to contribute to contraceptive efforts.

    For more on the "Conscience Clause" of pharmacists with real stories of women's struggles, read this piece. It is a real eye-opener.

    I do not mind abstinence being taught as "the best" birth control. I object to it being taught as "the only legitimate" birth control, particularly when that curriculum contains incorrect scientific information.

    I guess the ultrasound thing would be insulting to me personally because it would imply that I had not already made a thoughtful, informed decision. But maybe it would affect other women differently.

    I hope to keep this dialog open...I enjoy your perspective on things.

    4:33 PM  

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