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DAVID ROSMAN: Someone else's religious beliefs have no place in a woman's health decision

Tuesday, July 8, 2014 | 5:08 p.m. CDT; updated 8:35 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Gov. Jay Nixon made national news last week, as well as praise by many and scorn by others. Nixon vetoed the “controversial” HB 1307 that extended the waiting period for a woman to have an abortion to 72 hours, even in the case of incest or rape.

David RosmanOf course liberal organizations believe Nixon's veto is a victory for women’s rights, while conservative groups, more specifically the religious right, believe that this is a blow against “life.”

The major reason Nixon gave for his veto was the removal of provisions for rape and incest, not that it tripled the mandatory waiting period before having an abortion. The threat of loss of the mother’s life would have been exempt under the new law.

The major problem, at least in my eyes, is that legislators are pushing their beliefs onto a woman’s medical decision.

Attempts have been made in the past to define the beginning of a pregnancy as the end of the last menstrual period, a full two-weeks before a mature egg is produced.

Attempts have been made to redefine women’s clinics as “hospitals” with expensive retrofitting of procedure areas. Some regulations mandate that doctors who perform abortions must be connected to a hospital or that hospitals are a specific distance from a clinic.

What many do not understand is that women’s clinics provide services well beyond abortion procedures — well-woman examinations, prenatal and post-natal examinations and services, and parenthood training, not only for the mother, but for the father as well.

One of the most important activities is the distribution and administration of contraceptives, which has reduced the number of abortions more than restrictions imposed by legislators.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Chuck Gatschenberger, R-Lake St. Louis, compared the purchase of an automobile to the decision to have an abortion. He argued that a woman needs more time to consider an abortion to prevent buyer’s remorse.

Yet, women have probably spent days or even weeks pondering the ramifications of the procedure prior to going to the doctor.

If the veto is overridden in a September session, it could lead to a slippery-slope for restrictions on other matters, including birth control. The Supreme Court has already permitted restrictions by private and “closely held” corporations.

My argument against such restrictions is that they are often based on religion, not science or medicine. When I visit my pharmacy on Providence Road, I watch protesters holding signs asking us to “pray” for women entering the Planned Parenthood clinic to change their minds about seeking an abortion.

Yet, not everyone, even if religious, believes an abortion is wrong, especially if incest or rape is involved. Many may want abortions to be the very last option, but an option nonetheless.

This bill came from the same legislature that wishes to make gun ownership an unalienable right. They have determined that the right to own a firearm is more important than allowing a woman to make an independent, informed decision about her health.

These are the same legislators who demand that government get out of their lives in most other circumstances. The religious right, those who make no distinction between abortion and murder, are often (but not always) the same men and women who support capital punishment.

HB 1307 needs to stay off the books in Missouri. There are enough restrictions on a woman’s health decisions. We don't need another one.

David Rosman is an editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics. You can read more commentaries at ColumbiaMissourian.com and InkandVoice.com and New York Journal of Books.com.


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Comments

Joanne Schrader July 9, 2014 | 1:36 a.m.

The belief that legislators are pushing is that unborn human life has value and is worth protecting. As a woman, I see nothing wrong with that. Furthermore, there is no difference between a child conceived by rape and one who wasn't. Women have described the abortion like a second rape and others haven't regret one minute of giving birth. Why define the child by the crime of his or her father?

Every one knows that pregnancy is dated back to the mother's last menstrual period, which typically occurs two weeks before ovulation. That is how the medical establishment sets it.

So women who are having a surgical procedure don't deserve to be in a clean safe facility that is properly equipped to handle emergencies? It seems like that is what Mr. Rosman is saying. Heck, the Governor of Minnesota thinks that dog & cat breeders ought to be licensed but not abortion facilities. The hundreds who have died and the thousands injured from legal abortion would beg to differ. Are you content with the Gosnell like conditions?

Contraception and abortion are fruits of the same tree. According to the Guttmacher Institute, most abortions are committed on women who were using contraception. There is more contraception out there than ever before and yet there are still over a million abortions in the US every year.

It abortion supporters who deny science. One look at any textbook on embryology would tell you that pro-lifers are right.

Next time you visit your pharmacy on Providence Road Mr. Rosman have some courage and stop by the other side of the road and talk to me.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith July 10, 2014 | 5:55 a.m.

@ Joanne Schrader:

1- You concluded your post as follows: "Next time you visit your pharmacy on Providence Road, Mr. Rosman, have some courage and stop by the other side of the road and talk to me." In the unlikely event that should happen, Joanne, I'd encourage you to post here that it DID.

2- Tons of words have been written and no doubt will continue to be written on the subject of "womens' reproductive rights," but maybe my sister-in-law (who lives in Fulton, Missouri) has the correct slant on such matters. She notes that if MEN were required to at least once during their adult lifetimes undergo preganacy and childbirth they might be far better qualified to pontificate on those subjects. :)

[And I continue to find it odd that certain of those who today agonize over the state taking the lives of convicted murderers, whose convictions are by law given full means of appeal, have apparently no problem with "terminating" the continued existence of a fetus. That stance is as nonsensical as some of the other trash they're peddling.]

(Report Comment)
Joanne Schrader July 19, 2014 | 2:08 p.m.

Ellis Smith, I don't see this as a women vs men issue as your sister-in-law does. I see this as a human right's issue since abortion destroys the life of a human being in the womb as well as having risks for the mother. As a human right's issue, men and women are equally qualified to pontificate on that. If an injustice is being perpetrated upon anyone regardless of his or sex, we should speak up about it. Mothers and fathers have a natural obligation to protect, support, and nurture their families. To turn this solely into a woman's issue, denies men that role.

(Report Comment)
Joanne Schrader July 19, 2014 | 2:31 p.m.

Mr. Rosman, writes "What many do not understand is that women’s clinics provide services well beyond abortion procedures — well-woman examinations, prenatal and post-natal examinations and services, and parenthood training, not only for the mother, but for the father as well."

When was the last time that Planned Parenthood provided peri-natal (that is the term for pre and post-natal) examinations, services, and parenthood training? Have you seen their annual reports? They show that nationally PP performs 149 abortions for every pre-natal service or referral provided. Ninety-two percent of their pregnant clients get an abortion. Annual reports also show that their non-abortion services e.g. cancer screenings are down. People do not go there for parenting classes. It is not even advertised. Perhaps, you confused this with pregnancy resource centers.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith July 19, 2014 | 3:33 p.m.

Joanne:

Your suggestion that this should be viewed as a human rights issue makes good sense, still, while perhaps being sarcastic, my sister-in-law's observation may not be entirely without merit.

Maybe we need to look again at a quote I left earlier this week on Rosman's latest weekly polemic (which did not concern abortion):

"It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong." - Thomas Sowell

Sowell's observation can obviously be applied to a range of subjects, not just one.

(Report Comment)

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