DAVID ROSMAN: Women at the mercy of abortion bills before state legislature

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 | 1:00 p.m. CDT

This legislative session alone, Missouri has between 27 and 32 pieces of anti-abortion legislation, most of which will not see daylight. However, one bill has garnered national attention and is a potential embarrassment for Missouri.

The press is focused on the primary rule change in the bill — to extend the waiting period before the procedure from 24 to 72 hours.

Introduced by Rep. Kevin Elmer, R-Nixa, the bill would also require the Department of Health to produce a video that must be shown to the woman by the physician performing the procedure. Similar legislation has been brought to the Senate floor by Sen. David Sater, R-Cassville.

The first portion of the proposed legislation should have no fiscal impact; the second does but has no funding mechanism to produce the videos. Not included in either bill is an exception for rape, something the courts have frowned upon in the past.

The situation is clear from the outset. Our legislature is two-thirds Republican, and either bill could have a veto-proof majority if passed. The Democrats just do not have the political strength to force any change to the proposed law.

Our state has already made it nearly impossible for a woman to have an abortion, even in the case of rape, by placing undue requirements on women’s health clinics and requiring a 24-hour waiting period.

With as many as 32 bills introduced (27 when combined), Missouri has introduced more anti-abortion laws this year than any other state.

But is the issue also a First Amendment argument for separation of church and state?

The problem is defining when life begins — at conception, when the unborn is viable outside the womb or, as suggested by some, before conception.

Though these are both medical and philosophical arguments, the medical aspect is routinely ignored by conservatives in the state legislature in favor of the religious arguments about when life begins.

We are mostly in agreement that late-term abortions should not happen, though there could be the rare case involving the life of the mother versus the life of the unborn. We know that with modern science, a child born during this period can sometimes be viable and live a long life. Sometimes not.

Most of the women I have talked with about abortion — and I have spoken with more than a few — seem to agree that if the decision to have an abortion because of rape or incest does not change, whether the waiting period is 24 hours or 72 hours, why prolong the agony?

It is also generally agreed that any anti-abortion legislation is designed to attract support from a very specific constituency, the religious right. One needs only to drive down Providence Road past the Planned Parenthood facility to find the evidence here.

In fact, some legislators have suggested that biblical law supports the idea that life begins at conception. I am out to find the biblical passage.

Additionally, I find the term pro-life to be a misnomer. The same men and women who claim a pro-life stance are against universal health care, assisting the working poor and other socially responsible legislation and, as a group, support the death penalty.

They scream about government intervention as a violation of personal freedom, yet they want the government to interfere with a woman’s right to choose.

Pro-life or pro-choice: I wonder which would be more pro-freedom.

David Rosman is an editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics. You can read more of his commentaries at and

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Ellis Smith March 19, 2014 | 4:35 p.m.

"...the religious right."

For purposes of clarification, can the terms "religious" and "Right," the latter word used to mean a political stance, ever be used singly, rather than coupled?

I have previously stated my reasons for not wanting abortion to be made illegal. We don't need a reprise of the Eighteenth Amendment (voided by the Twenty-first Amendment). It seems patently obvious that making abortion illegal won't stop abortions, and many of them will then be performed under horrific conditions. Organized crime will no doubt take over the busness, as they largely did in the 1920s during Prohibition. Organized crime is rich enough now.

May we also assume there is a religious Left? That seems entirely possible, but the coupled words are sparsely seen in print.

Everyone apparently MUST conform to a label. Haven't we seen that pathetic and disgusting practice before? Why do we need to see it now?

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 19, 2014 | 5:22 p.m.

"But is the issue also a First Amendment argument for separation of church and state?"

Me: Uh, no. Since when is it necessary to have a religion before arguing against abortion? Is it not sufficient to simply care about our society's babies not yet born?

"The problem is defining when life begins — at conception, when the unborn is viable outside the womb or, as suggested by some, before conception."

Me: And, of course, you fail to provide any definition of your own. What's YOUR definition of "human" and when are "life" rights conferred to that "human"? Eh?

Besides, you left out several alternatives. Here's one: It has no human rights until age 2. Argue against it....or for it as your wish. Let's see what you got and how "committed" you are to your personal position.

"The same men and women who claim a pro-life stance are against universal health care, assisting the working poor and other socially responsible legislation and, as a group, support the death penalty."

Me: Apples/oranges or red herrings, I don't know which. Except in your own mind.

And, especially, if you can't distinguish between the death of an individual too young to have done anything right OR wrong versus the death of an individual who has seriously harmed society, then I feel sorry for you and your mind.


(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 19, 2014 | 6:43 p.m.


Why stop at age 2, or advanced childhood, or adolescence? If they're grown up and they disagree with "correct" political philosophy, just liquidate them - at any age. Sometimes it's impossible to tell for sure until they're grown up, so why set any maximum age?

Obviously that is not classed as abortion, but it ends the same.

I didn't mention in my above post that while I don't favor making abortion illegal, I'm not thrilled about it. However, our country and the world are not centered around what I like or don't like, and that's a good thing.

Also, without getting into any religious or philosophical discussions, it seems rather inconsistent that some people agonize and demonstrate over execution of adults who have been tried and convicted of murder, with appeals, but seem to have no problem with "terminating" unborn humans. As you know, that's a favorite subject with me: the inconsistency.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 19, 2014 | 8:14 p.m.

Ellis: I agree on the "inconsistency" part.

Folks of Dave's ilk can't make up their mind about when "rights" are conferred upon a human being. On one side of the birth canal (the inner side), fetuses are "its" and can be terminated at will. However, if a person not the mother kills the mother AND the fetus, it's a double homicide. What? By definition, a homicide is the death of a HUMAN. How can our legal system say a fetus is not a human on the one hand, but IS a human on the other? Make up your damned mind!

Dave complains that "pro-life" is a misnomer. Well, is "pro choice" any better? Who's choice? Is this the choice of the mother, but not the fetus? We make all sorts of laws protecting innocent children (safety seats, etc.), but if you can find an "innocent child" more innocent than a fetus, you've looked harder than me.

The fact is that pro-choicers pretzel their thinking on this topic, no matter how crude or illogical, by making whatever argument they can to center around the mother.

I'm complaining more about the inconsistency of it all from folks like Dave. I've given up advocating one way or the other; if a man and woman don't want to see their child's 1st birthday or come home happy after the first day of school because they erred and got pregnant, then let them abort.

So, for me as a citizen, pro-choicers can have my permission.....but they will NEVER have my approval.

And that is what angers them most of all.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 19, 2014 | 9:02 p.m.


Of course inconsistencies involving enforced death aren't new. Stories gathered from survivors suggest that Schutzstaffeln (better known by their initials, SS) officers could become downright maudlin over the death of a pet dog, then go out and order or actually supervise the deaths large numbers of human beings.

Misplaced priorities?

Then there was Philipp (not a misspelling) Bouhler, a model National Socialist and SS member who terminated the lives of physically and mentally defective German children. Hitler approved. Great way to assure a Master Race! Maybe that's the next step forward from terminating fetuses. I have a photo of Philipp; he looks like a nice guy. Well educated too.

(Report Comment)
Joanne Schrader March 20, 2014 | 1:39 p.m.

As one of the many people who stands on Providence, I invite Mr. Rosman et. al. to come out and speak with me on Thursdays between noon and 2:00 pm before passing judgment on us. I'm up for a civil discussion on the topic.

Mr. Rosman tries to put pro-lifers in a very narrow ideological and stereotypical box as though millions of us are all the same. Perhaps, he has never heard of Atheists for Life, Secular Pro-Life, Bikers for Life, and so on.

The headline reads "Women at the Mercy of Abortion Bills ..." I suggest one should read about Women at the Mercy of Abortion Mills. They give the legislators the impetus to right past wrongs and write these bills.

As far as when a new human life begins, let's go with scientific consensus and the one found in over 14 embryology textbooks -- conception. You can't deny that the offspring of two human parents is human. You can analyze the DNA of the zygote, embryo, fetus, (just names for stages of development like infant, toddler, teenager, adult, and senior) and determine he or she is uniquely human. Furthermore, the simple fact that this human organism has cells which are dividing and organizing themselves into different parts, is growing, maturing, etc. points to the fact that he or she is very much alive.

By virtue of the fact that this is a human being, he or she has an inherent dignity and right to life. This is not a right conferred onto the child by the mother, father, or government, It does not come from being wanted, able-bodied, useful, or some other artificial construct.

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