June 02, 2004

Sadly Satisfied

Ampersand of Alas a Blog (as well as many other weblogs I peruse, but i was commenting on this one.) wrote about the recent decision by Judge Hamilton to overturn the ban on dialation and extraction abortions. Some of my feelings I've expressed over there, I'd like to elaborate them on this site.

I suppose that since I'm an Israeli citizen now I should care less, but I have a daughter still in America, and family, and people I love, and like many a Jewish mom I worry.

I am, as my title said, sadly satisfied. Sad, because I think the real problem with abortion is not that it is legal, but that it is still necessary. And I wonder what the landscape would have looked like if, since Roe v. Wade, the war had been waged not on making it illegal but making it moot. All that time, all that money, all that energy invested in making it illegal, restricting it, putting barriers in the way of the womans right to a medical procedure could have been given to scientific proceses which would have presented a woman with a real choice---a procedure that is safe, or safer than an abortion that would take place, that would remove the fetus from the woman's womb without killing it.

I see several paths, not each necessarily discovered all at once, but over the years, that would allow the fetus to be grown in an artificial womb, transfered to another (willing!) woman's womb, preserved until medicine discovered a cure for the disorder, or until the mother's life was more stable and she felt she could have the child. Maybe all that would be necessary would be time to realize that she could go ahead and have this child, even if it was not going to be "perfect" or "normal".

I can imagine such a day. I can imagine, and I think such time is within our reach, of our children's children perhaps. It isn't a fast process. Till such a time I think we need to really be able to offer women help, without pressure or anger or guilt.

Such an organization does exist here in Israel, and has offices in USA. It's calld JUST ONE LIFE (I linked to their services page.

I think what they are doing is great.

I like that they aren't political, because I think laws banning abortion not only aren't likely to decrease the actual numbers of women who abort (though they may change the demographics slightly) but would increase the deaths of women.

I think they also might lead to MORE abortions.

Why?

My thinking is this, and it is more visceral than rational I suppose.

Take a woman who wants to have her child, but finds out there is or could be medical complications. Knowing that if her life were endangered she could have an abortion if necessary, anywhere down the line, she might be willing to take a "wait and see, lets try X and Y first" I know I would. But if she knew she could not make that choice later, or that choice would become more dangerous and difficult, she may very well choose abort now, because we have left her with no other choice.

Take a woman who is in the very earliest of stages of pregnancy, where no one yet knows. Faced with the ability to have a safe abortion later, again, she may wait, and she may changed her mind. At the very least she may be more open to talk with someone and discover a way out of whatever difficulty she faces in continuing the pregnancy (bad marriage, no money etc.) But faced with "no legal abortion" or strictly legislated abortion, she may very well choose to abort before anyone would know. Herbs, if she is wise enough to discover that path, as someone I know did, or other methods, most likely less safe. And while I would not be among those women, I don't think this is such an unlikely scenario.

JUST ONE LIFE is a great start. I really admire the group. But think we need to go further, because I do want abortions to stop--but I don't want to make them illegal; I want to make them moot, a dinosaur procedure, replaced by all that science has to offer.

Maybe I'm crazy. Anyone out there as nuts as I am?

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