Health Policy

February 22, 2023: Abortion Rights Are Not Just About Babies

Posted on February 22, 2023 at 12:00 AM

By Karen Pataky, Director, Public Policy & Political Action Committee; Chair, Health Policy Task Force

When the Supreme Court reversed the Roe v Wade decision on June 24, 2022, the court went further than just eliminating the right of privacy in (women’s) health care decisions, which included the RIGHT to have a confidential, safe abortion provided by credentialed medical professionals.

SCOTUS further provided detailed templates with broader definitions of the term “abortion” that include all of today’s hormonal methods of contraception plus IUC’s (intrauterine contraceptive devices).

SCOTUS also now allows intrusion into the pregnant woman’s medical history re: possible allowances for abortion in case of life-threatening medical diagnoses such as cancers, malignant hypertension, congestive heart failure, toxemia, eclampsia, and ectopic pregnancies.

The new layers of intruders are politicians and religious leaders, none of whom are required to be medically trained. They are, in effect, equivalent to Morality Police. Their basic philosophy is that of far right theology, that, virtually without exception, the life of the pregnancy at all stages is always superior to that of the pregnant woman. This superiority of pregnancy over the life of the woman is not a widely held belief by most religious leaders today.

In Florida, Governor Santos is encouraging schools to demand negative pregnancy tests before they allow woman athletes to compete in sports. This is frightening in its scope. There is no medical reason that menses interferes with athletic performance. This sounds like the“menstrual charts” forced on families by Hitler and Mussolini to identify possible impending births to facilitate raising more children as good little Fascists. But Florida’s governmental menstrual charts will also identify every woman who is pregnant so the Morality Police can oversee the progress of the pregnancy. This would be the framework for a total ban on all abortions, regardless of the circumstances of impregnation or the survival of the pregnant woman.

We must return to our recent era of confidential medical records with only credentialed physicians, midwives, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants being involved in the totality of women’s health care.

Morality Police have also been reported going through the Inventories of pharmacies and over-the-counter medications to check for OTC preparations that might be available to prevent pregnancy.

And we are already seeing Morality Police aiming to interfere in the health care decisions of our trans fellow Americans. We know that far right religious doctrine does not recognize the legitimacy of gay relationships and that some religious leaders envision a time when medications that support the lives of our gay neighbors might not be widely available.

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