Our right to choose, no longer an option?
Published: Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 16:06
This may come as a shock to many of you, but here in the United States, receiving an abortion is legal. In fact, abortions have been legal for more than three decades now, and if you don't believe me, check in your history books for the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case of Roe v. Wade. The Court's 7-2 ruling should make it very clear to you that a woman has a constitutional right to privacy — and that includes terminating her pregnancy.
And yet, every day, Republicans across the country are finding ways to attack a woman's right to choose. These attacks come in many forms: in Indiana, public funding for general health services at Planned Parenthood is now obsolete, and the Texas legislature is now attempting to do the same. Here in the Sunshine State, State Rep. Scott Randolph (D-Orlando) was chastised by Republican Speaker of the House Dean Cannon for daring to use the word "uterus" on the Florida House floor. Now, the U.S. House of Representatives has just passed a measure to ban federal funds from being used to teach medical students abortion techniques.
This ban took shape as an amendment that Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) sponsored. The amendment itself was attached to HR 1216, a bill that would restrict federal funding for a graduate-level medical training program created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148). With that said, it is obvious that Foxx is trying to attack healthcare reform and women's rights at the same time; an impressive feat, I know.
I understand the discontent of forcing people to pay for programs that they do not want. That is, after all, the main point of many Libertarians. What I do not understand is the reasoning behind stripping our future doctors of the knowledge they need to save lives. Contrary to common belief, abortions are rarely used as a form of birth control. In fact, using abortions as a form of birth control would be an extremely expensive lifestyle to sustain; one that I doubt many of us could afford. In addition, according to the National Abortion Federation, more than half of the women who receive abortions due to unintended pregnancies were using some form of contraception the month that they became pregnant; ergo, receiving an abortion was their one and only option.
This legislation is unique in a sense because it does not directly attack women. Rather, it's cleverly designed to keep doctors uneducated about the female body, which will, in turn, hurt both the medical field and the women they operate on. To give you some perspective, Medical Students for Choice, an internationally recognized non-profit organization dedicated to fostering pro-choice physicians, stated: "Despite the fact that abortion is one of the most common surgical procedures in the U.S., almost half of all graduating Ob/Gyn residents have never performed a first trimester abortion."
This statistic should scare all of you, especially since complications prior to giving birth are always a possibility, and sometimes the only option to saving a pregnant woman's life is to abort the fetus. It should also be noted that the field of surgery is extremely male-dominated. Wouldn't we want male surgeons to be more familiar with female-focused procedures? As a woman who may give birth one day, I know I would prefer having a doctor who knows what my options are and exactly how to provide them to me.
Overall, HR 1216 is a feeble attempt to stop abortions. What it actually does is put women's lives at risk. I would hope that in the future, Republicans — who constantly preach for a freedom of choice — will eventually give women their own freedom to choose.
Until then, let's just hope that the doctors of America find some means of obtaining the knowledge they need to save lives, because Congress won't be finding ways to pay for it.