Will Missouri Be The New South Dakota?

You know, 2008 just keeps getting more and more interesting. It seems like some are hoping that Missouri can succeed where South Dakota failed in 2006 and are proposing a ballot initiative that would outlaw abortion.

The proposal would require doctors to extensively review the medical literature on abortion and investigate each patient’s background and lifestyle. It would require doctors to certify that the abortion was better for the woman than a full-term pregnancy.

See, at first it just sounds like a horrid little law that will draw an arbitrary line between “good” and “bad” abortions. But it’s worse than that.

Peter Brownlie, president of Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, said Thursday that the proposal appears to interfere with the way doctors practice medicine and present information to their patients.

“It looks very clearly to be a ban on abortion, with the only exception being a threat to the life of the mother,” Brownlie said. “It’s a pretty extreme measure.”

The proposal is backed by the Elliot Institute, a group from Springfield, Ill., that has fought abortion rights and research on early stem cells.

The group, which filed the proposal Nov. 6, would have to gather a minimum of about 90,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot in November 2008.

The proposal, which is known as the “Prevention of Coerced and Unsafe Abortion Act,” would require the doctor to certify that an abortion was necessary to avert the woman’s imminent death or irreversible disability. Or the doctor would have to document that carrying the fetus to term would be more dangerous than the combination of nearly every conceivable risk associated with abortion.

Those risks include every “psychological, emotional, demographic or situational” risk that has been found associated with abortion in any study published in a peer-reviewed journal. Doctors would have to determine how every such risk applied to the patient and present the patient with an evaluation of every positive and negative determination.

Failure to do so would allow a woman who later regretted the abortion to sue the doctor and receive up to $10,000 for each risk the doctor failed to include in the determination. The woman would be allowed to sue for the wrongful death of her fetus and could bring suit up to two years “after the date the woman has recovered from any psychological complications” from the abortion.

The language reflects the viewpoint of the Elliot Institute, which endorses the idea that abortion causes long-term physical, psychological and emotional problems.

Its Web site features articles claiming abortion leads to infertility, bad parenting of future children and mental illness. Other articles are about women who regret the abortions they underwent after they were impregnated through rape and incest.

Yup. It’s yet another abortion ban bill that places all of the liability on abortion providers and portrays the women who have abortions as innocent, confused, coerced little girls. It puts on a happy “we care about women” face, while simultaneously every single word that comes out of the mouths of its supporters shows just how much they truly do hate women and the fact that they ever have the opportunity to make a single choice all on their own — especially if it’s a choice to not have a child, because every woman must want a baby, even if its father is her rapist. And if she doesn’t, well I guess that she just deserves the punishment for being such a flawed and failed female. Clearly, these people are impossible to reason with.

Of course, we can’t expect the Kansas City Star to point out the facts — that most women experience no significant physical or emotional trauma after abortion and the likelihood of postpartum depression after giving birth seems to be greater.

I would certainly like to believe that if the people of South Dakota have enough common sense to reject this kind of shit, then the people of Missouri will, too. But with other problems in Missouri regarding reproductive rights, I could be slightly more confident. Will they get the 90,000 signatures? It’s really not that many. And then, like it always does, it will become a competition of funds.

A presidential race, a Senate up for grabs, potential abortion ban bills on the ballot along with ballot measures to give Constitutional rights to fertilized eggs . . . 2008, I’m not sure that we’re ready for you, yet.

0 thoughts on “Will Missouri Be The New South Dakota?

  1. N1Nj4G1rl

    Damnit, I tried to post and it kicked me away! So if this double posts I’m sorry.

    “Prevention of Coerced and Unsafe Abortion Act”
    The worst part about this is that it sound like it could be a good thing. Especially to those who don’t know or understand that the definitions in the context of this bill for the words unsafe and coercive are not the definitons for anyone outside the anti-choice spectrum. It’s insidious and dangerous political game-playing that I’ve come to expect out of the religious right. The hatred and contempt for women and their rights is just barely hidden under the surface.
    Ugh, it’s sickening the extant of manipulation these people will go to.
    Thanks for keeping us updated on this stuff.

    Reply
  2. Hops

    I’m completely and utterly disgusted, and yet not at all surprised. We all knew abortion was going to be trotted out as another election year issue and we can complain endlessly about the closed-minded misogynists in this country. Or we can relax and be happy that there’s no way this bogus initiative is going to hold any water. Crazy people can keep forcing the issue, but they will continue to be struck down by the few of us left with 2 brain cells to rub together.

    Reply
  3. Cara Post author

    I’d like to believe that you’re right, Hops. I have to admit that the victory in SD did briefly galvanize my hope in the people of this country. But the whole debacle only served to further decrease my belief in our elected officials. And far too many anti-abortion victories have been won all over this country both before and since for me to have anywhere near your level of confidence. I think that to underestimate anti-choicers, illogical and laughable though they may be, is a huge mistake and one that will only serve them well.

    Reply
  4. Mary Tracy9

    “Crazy people can keep forcing the issue, but they will continue to be struck down by the few of us left with 2 brain cells to rub together.”

    That is precisely the problem, Hops, that “WE” are “A FEW”. And shrinking.

    Reply
  5. zombie z

    Yeah, I’m not sure that anyone in this area actually expects the Star to report on, um, ANYTHING in a sensible manner. I live in the KCK area, and none of this surpises me one bit: the Star’s inability to be intelligent, MO’s urgent need to take all rights away from anyone they can, etc. I’m just surprised it’s taken so long.

    Reply
  6. Jim Freund

    Abortion is an elective medical procedure with attendant risks and benefits. In any other area of medicine, a practitioner is required to evaluate the patient and inform him / her of the possible consequences of going through with the proposed treatment. Why should it be any different with abortion?

    Reply
  7. Cara Post author

    Well, it shouldn’t be any different, Jim. In fact, it isn’t! I know, it’s shocking. But, doctors are actually required by law to inform patients of real risks of abortion just like they’re required by law to inform patients of real risks of any other surgery.

    Interestingly enough, there is no law saying that doctors have to counsel women about every medical risk regarding continuing a pregnancy and giving birth. But that’s a whole other story.

    The point here is that you either have no read the post to understand what the law is about, or simply don’t care what the law is about. The law is not about informing women of risks. The law is about legally removing the right of women to choose abortion in all but an extremely small number of cases.

    Nice try, though.

    Reply
  8. Jim Freund

    There is, at this point, no law, only a proposed law.

    I read the proposal on
    http://www.stopforcedabortions.com/initiative.htm

    I don’t see why you write that it is about legally removing the right of women to choose abortion in all but an extremely small number of cases.

    To my reading, as I said, it simply requires the physician to practice medicine – that is, to exercise his or her medical judgement and behave prudently in the patient’s interest. Again, I think that standard of care is required generally in the practice of medicine.

    If the physician determines that the abortion is likely in the woman’s best interests, he/she is free to go ahead with it. The same standard of care would be applied to a mastectomy, for instance.

    Reply
  9. Cara Post author

    Yeah, maybe instead of reading anti-choice propaganda, you should try reading the news:

    The proposal, which is known as the “Prevention of Coerced and Unsafe Abortion Act,” would require the doctor to certify that an abortion was necessary to avert the woman’s imminent death or irreversible disability. Or the doctor would have to document that carrying the fetus to term would be more dangerous than the combination of nearly every conceivable risk associated with abortion.

    By your logic, it is a doctor’s job to make medical decisions for a patient. Therefore, doctors should also be able to forcibly abort a pregnancy if he or she deems that the woman is better off without a baby. And in either case, women are too stupid to know what’s best for them. How the hell is it a doctor’s job to determine whether or not a woman is better off with or without a child? Even if it were someone else’s choice besides the woman’s (and it never should be), doctors aren’t social workers.

    And for the record, if a woman only needed to have a tumor removed but requested a full mastectomy, the doctor would perform one. If a doctor thought that a woman needed a mastectomy but she refused for whatever reason, the doctor would not perform it. It’s called “autonomy” and the legal right to make our own medical decisions.

    Reply
  10. Jim Freund

    I don’t know what you’re referring to by “the news”, but see that the
    quote you posted, “The proposal, which is known…associated with
    abortion”, also appears above, beginning “Peter Brownlie, president of
    Planned Parenthood of Kansas…” and ending “…after they were impregnated
    through rape or incest.” Certainly if a source is to be indicted on
    the basis of its bias (as you did in referring to my source as
    “anti-choice” propaganda), then this article is suspect by virtue of
    its clear pro-choice rhetoric. Who wrote this, anyway?

    In any event, the wording of the initiative, as found on
    http://www.stopforcedabortions.com/initiative.htm
    is just that, the wording of the initiative. Referring to it as
    “anti-choice” propaganda is not accurate, since the initiative must
    stand or fall on its own merits. It can be read in its entirety at the
    above site and the reader can judge its merits or demerits for him or
    herself.

    I note, however, that your characterization of the initiative is
    inaccurate, in that NO abortion is banned by its wording. It simply
    requires that the physician exercise prudence in his or her behavior,
    as should be done by all physicians in every circumstance in their
    practice. To include the relevant parts which illustrate this,
    consider the following excerpted from the initiative:

    “The physician recommending or performing the abortion has in good
    faith formed a reasonable medical judgment that the abortion is
    medically advisable to prevent:…
    “…other health risks…that the physician has reasonably determined and
    documented…demonstrate that the continuance of the pregnancy…is likely
    to involve more risks to the health of the pregnant woman…that
    significantly exceed the combined physical, psychological, familial and
    behavioral risks associated with abortion.”

    If, as you assure us, Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers
    are already providing quality screening and counseling, the initiative,
    if it becomes law, will have no effect on abortion rates.

    In your first response to me, you do in fact acknowledge the
    requirement that physicians exercise prudence in their practice. You
    wrote:
    “… doctors are actually required by law to inform patients of real
    risks of abortion just like they’re required by law to inform patients
    of real risks of any other surgery.”

    So in this, we apparently agree. We might disagree about what
    constitutes real risks in the case of abortion, but I would again refer
    to the initiative which attempts to define real risks by first defining
    that a “(c)omplication associated with abortion” means any adverse
    physical, emotional or psychological reaction that is statistically
    associated with abortion as defined by P

    Reply
  11. Cara Post author

    Seriously fuckwad, can you read?

    that the physician has reasonably determined and documented…demonstrate that the continuance of the pregnancy…is likely to involve more risks to the health of the pregnant woman…that significantly exceed the combined physical, psychological, familial and behavioral risks associated with abortion.”

    Despite the fact that you did the worst paste job in the entire universe, it is abundantly clear: That is an abortion ban. Go. Away.

    For everyone else, we will resume your scheduled programming.

    Reply
  12. Ran

    Logically speaking, the proposed text doesn’t seem to make sense; it would forbid a doctor from performing an abortion unless it’s his/her opinion that the risks of pregnancy outweigh the risks of abortion, but a violation of that criterion doesn’t seem to be remediable in any way under the “civil remedies” portion. (Unless the statement “it is an act of medical negligence” mean that normal medical-negligence remedies, not addressed in the initiative, could be applied?)

    Certainly, despite its masquerade as defending women, the proposal is trying to be anti-abortion bullshit; but I’m not sure how well it succeeds. (Of course, that’s taking the text at face value, which is risky. The text of the Texas Constitution clearly forbids the State from recognizing marriage, except that people prefer to pretend it doesn’t, so for all intents and purposes, it doesn’t.)

    Reply
  13. Cara Post author

    Yeah, except you’re never going to find a prosecutor willing to open up a case against the state for recognizing marriage, but you’ll find dozens if not hundreds clamoring to put some “abortion doctors” in jail. Also, whether or not a government enforces antiquated laws is clearly different from whether it enforces newly passed legislation. No, newly passed legislation doesn’t always get fully enforced. But it’s very rare that it’s completely ignored. And whether or not it’s actually enforced isn’t really the issue — doctors aren’t going to take the risk. Planned Parenthood isn’t going to take the risk.

    Reply
  14. Ran

    Also, whether or not a government enforces antiquated laws is clearly different from whether it enforces newly passed legislation.

    Who said anything about antiquated laws? I’m talking about the 2005 amendment, discussed in Language Log and elsewhere. (By the way, you might be interested more generally in Language Log; they’ve discussed very thoroughly various myths about ways that men and women supposedly talk differently, such as the myth that women talk more than men do.) But of course, you’re right that any broad anti-abortion bill, even a poorly written one, could have dire consequences.

    Reply

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