Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Since We're On The Topic...

"Life After Roe" by William Saleton of Slate Magazine is a must-read.

He discusses (much more eloquently than I have been able to) the need for the pro-choice faction to change its focus from defending the status quo to promoting birth control, sex-education, and early termination (i.e. morning-after pill) in order to prevent abortions. He explains how science has exposed the moral qualms of 2nd-trimester abortions while at the same time preventing the need for them.

Below are excerpts of the article...but I highly encourage reading the entire thing.

Politically, legally and technologically the 33-year-old court decision is increasingly obsolete as a framework for managing decisions about reproduction...

Roe established a right to abortion through the end of the second trimester. The latter part of that time frame has always been the most controversial. Improvements in neonatal care have made fetuses viable--capable of surviving delivery--earlier than was possible in 1973. We even do surgery on fetuses now, which makes aborting them seem that much more perverse. These developments may explain, in part, why two-thirds of Americans think abortion should be illegal in the second trimester. But if medical technology has helped to expose this moral problem, it can also help us solve it...

Second-trimester abortions are becoming not just harder to stomach, but easier to avoid. In 1993, only 7 percent of abortion providers could end a pregnancy at four weeks or earlier; by 2001, 37 percent could do it. And by 2002, two-thirds of clinics belonging to the National Abortion Federation were offering pills that abort pregnancies in the first seven weeks...Better yet, technology is helping many women avoid unwanted pregnancies altogether. According to the Centers for Disease Control, "emergency contraception"--high-dose birth control pills taken after sex to block ovulation, fertilization or implantation--was almost unheard of a decade ago. By 2002, however, about 10 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 24 had used such pills...

The weak link in contraception is the human being who's too excited, impatient or forgetful to take it or use it carefully. But technology can also help circumvent that weak link...The maker of Implanon, for instance, says that this implant takes barely a minute to insert, begins working within 24 hours, prevents pregnancy for up to three years and can be removed in less than three minutes with a 90 percent probability that a woman will resume ovulating the next month. In clinical trials, says the company, "no pregnancies occurred during use over approximately 73,000 monthly cycles," largely because the "user cannot forget to take the product"...

The road out of Roe won't be easy. Conservatives are already fighting early abortion pills, morning-after pills, sex education and birth control. But that's a different fight from the one we've been stuck in since 1973. It's a more winnable fight, and a more righteous one.

This truly encapsulates my viewpoint on abortion. I am pro-choice because I believe women should never be mothers until they are ready, willing and able. And I oppose banning abortion because at this time, some women are without tools and knowledge to perfectly prevent pregnancy.

In a perfect world, both men and women would have free and easy access to birth control and would understand the importance of using it. Birth control would be fail-safe, not susceptible to 'operator errors'. Then abortions would be reduced to less than 1% - which is the failure rate for most contraception. Women would not be prematurely forced into motherhood and abortion would be almost entirely obsolete.

Science has given us the fail-safe technology. The rest we must do ourselves.

The new objective of the pro-choice faction must be to fight for this perfect world. It must fight for easy, private, and low-cost access to such early prevention measures. It must fight for extensive family planning education for both genders which takes a neutral, scientific approach and leaves out moral judgments and gender stereotypes.

And it must do so by building a consensus in the middle ground consisting of both the pro-choice and pro-lifers, while ostracizing the far-right activists who claim abstinence or motherhood are the only options and the far-left activists who fight for a woman's right to terminate a baby that is partially born.

This new objective is the only solution that protects women and viable fetuses at the same time. It is the only solution that can permanently solve the issue and relieve this country of the perpetual turmoil and fury that the abortion debate has caused.


Blogger Jason266 said...

I like the way you think...

One thing that you have mentioned I think is worth stressing again...and again...and again...is the need for better sex-education. Too often well-meaning adults believe that the only way to prevent young adults and children from getting pregnant is by preaching abstinence. But human nature and hormones get the better of all of us at some point. Ignoring sex isn't going to make it go away.

3:17 PM  
Blogger Jezebella said...

When the same god who wants you to stay abstinent until marriage also gives you a sex drive at 13, it creates a very confusing message for children and young adults.

10:12 PM  

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