Friday, April 20, 2007

Partial Birth Abortion: an outing

As many already know, the US supreme Court has upheld a federal ban of partial birth abortion.

The first time I read a description of this procedure, I was myself disgusted, and thought it should be forbidden. The article said that it was a procedure to call abortion and make legal the killing of a perfectly viable, term fetus, by extracting the body and then sucking out the brain before collapsing and extracting the skull. It does sound really bad. I couldn't imagine why any woman would want that.

I have since learned that it is a medical procedure performed when an abortion is necessary at an advanced pregnancy stage, usually because of a mother's health problem or a very sick, and sometimes already dead, fetus. The idea is that an abortion has already been ok'ed anyway, and that this particular procedure is preferred over a "natural" vaginal delivery or a cesarean because it presents less risks' for the mothers' health, particularly her ability to bear other children in the future. A typical indication are severe hydrocefalus cases, where any from of abortion that doesn't involve collapsing the skull is much more dangerous for the mothers' body.

I think that when more than one medical procedure is possible to treat a disease, mentally healthy human beings should be given an informed choice on what should be done to their body. I think money considerations should not play a role, as much as humanly possible.

I am appalled to think that in this case five men, none of whom has ever risked being pregnant with a very sick or dead fetus, much less had a direct experience of it, have decided that women who face such difficult situations will have one less choice. How many precisely will be impacted is too early to say.

I will never be in such a situation: my childbearing days are over, and I'm not in the US anyway. But my daughter? Who will take care of my daughter, and of my granddaughters, and of the generations to come? I'm scared, scared of going back to the Middle Ages. What if the Winter of Reason comes back, and engulfs the world?

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