Friday, September 5, 2008

Palin and Abortion: A Part of the Debate I Just Don't Get

I don't understand Sarah Palin. I really don't. Because she claims she is pro-woman, and yet, she wishes to deny women the right to defend themselves from an attacker.

What am I talking about? Of course, she supports gun ownership. Anyone who can shoot a person attacking them, they can defend themselves.

And yet, she says: "I am pro-life. With the exception of a doctor's determination that the mother's life would end if the pregnancy continued."

Yes. If the mother's life would end. If it would END. Not, mind you, if she would wind up brain-dead or on a ventilator. Not, mind you, if she was left permanently and debilitatingly physically injured. No, the woman's life has to END.

Which means that if a man stabs me in the arm, well, I can shoot him, because he's threatening my health and safety. But if I'm pregnant and I discover I have cancer, and if I wait nine months, I'll live but I will have to get a double masectomy that I could avoid by earlier treatment, I can't be rid of the being that is threatening my health and safety. In fact, I could kill a man-- or even a child, really, it's still self defense-- because he cut off my breasts but I can't kill the child inside me that is preventing me from being able to get treatment.

Or if I have a condition that means I can't go under anesthesia or that I am allergic to an epidural, and I have placenta previa and need a C-section, well, I would survive a C-section without anesthesia, but at what cost?

Or maybe I am severely bipolar, and I wind up hurting myself or someone else because to take my medications would result in the death of my fetus?

I do understand when people argue that Roe vs. Wade should not include social and economic concerns to the woman's well-being. I get that, I really do. I don't agree with it because I believe the baby's soul enters the baby much later in pregnancy, but I do understand the concern, and would probably feel the same way if I believed the baby got their soul earlier.

But you can't limit it to life or death. There are so many things that are actual, real, physical or mental concerns (and by mental I mean psychiatric) that would mean a woman's safety and sometimes the safety of those around her would be in danger if she continued the pregnancy. Even if her life wouldn't end, she could suffer permanent disability, or kill someone else.

As long as there is a self-defense charge, a woman must have the right to abort if her health is in danger, even if her life is not. To do otherwise is to deny women the right to protect themselves from harm. We allow people to use the self-defense charge when they kill someone even if the person was psychotic, not aware they were harming someone, or did so on accident, so the argument that a baby is not being malevolent does not hold up. If the woman's health or safety is in any danger, it is self defense and must be legal. And if you think otherwise, you really can't call yourself pro-woman.

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