Anti-Choice Movement Manufactures Coerced Abortion Crisis
Clearly the anti-choice movement has unlimited funding because every time I turn around there’s yet another piece of anti-choice legislation making its way through yet another state’s legislature. The latest anti-abortion bill on the dockets is the Coercive Abuse Against Mothers Prevention Act because unbeknownst to most of us, women young and old, are being forced to have abortions. Yes, they’re being clubbed into clinics at this very moment, which is why 11 states are currently considering coercion bills. As ever, the anti-choice movement argues that their policy is to protect women and that it is their overwhelming, heart-felt wish to protect women that drives their work. It has nothing to do with religion.
Of all the coercion bills South Dakota’s is the most extreme. Though the bill itself was enacted as of July, 2012, the most controversial part of the legislation is currently being challenged in the courts. If the challenge is struck down women in South Dakota will be required to submit to an interview at one of three state sanctioned pregnancy help centers to discuss the circumstances that may subject her to coercion. The counselor will inform the pregnant woman about the counseling and educational services that are available to her. She will also inform the expectant woman of assistance that is available to help her maintain her relationship with her unborn child. Pregnancy Help Centers offer free sonograms, are faith-based, and vehemently anti-choice; it is their overwhelmingly heart-felt desire to protect women that drives their work. It has nothing to do with religion.
Central to the defense of the South Dakota coercion bill is Brittany Wilson. In the months and years that have followed Brittany’s 2005 abortion she has testified in federal court that her boyfriend made her get an abortion she didn’t want and it’s all Planned Parenthood’s fault. She was bawling her eyes out you see, they should have known this was coercion. The facts are Brittany scheduled the abortion, listened to the recording of the state-mandated information about the risks of abortion and her legal rights, and arrived the day of the scheduled abortion and paid $447.00 for the procedure. The Planned Parenthood staffer, thoroughly aware of Brittany’s distress, asked her if she had considered adoption, to which Brittany replied that she didn’t “want to do that.” The doctor then offered through the staffer to perform the abortion on another day to which Brittany replied, “I’m alright,” and went out to lunch. After the abortion Brittany proceeded to have a nervous breakdown, started drinking heavily, and had to go on anti-depressants. Again, this was all Planned Parenthood’s fault for coercing her into having an abortion. Her story was successfully used in defense of a 2005 anti-choice law requiring an abortion provider to inform patients of certain state determined risks of abortion most of which are disputed by mainstream science and medical organizations. Brittany’s story has been hauled out once again in the South Dakota Case. The facts of Ms. Wilson’s story, like medical and scientific research, are superfluous and interfere with the anti-choice movement’s overwhelming and heart-felt desire to protect women. It has nothing to do with religion.
There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that coerced abortion has reached crisis levels in the United States, as anti-abortion leaders claim, anymore than there was ever legitimate evidence that Planned Parenthood was engaging in sex-selective abortions. The anti-choice movement continues to successfully concentrate its considerable resources on making access to an abortion at the state level as humiliating and difficult as possible, the point being, as per Charmaine Yoest, President and CEO of AUL, the legal wing of the anti-choice movement, to make Roe ”crumble under its own weight and become irrelevant. You don’t have to overturn Roe to actually make progress at the state level,” she said and, unfortunately for women across the United States, she’s right. Waiting periods, sonograms, specified wait times between counseling and the procedure, required information about fetal development, fetal pain, the gestational age of the fetus, building regulations so strict the clinic has to close, and the list of impossible regulations, goes on. If Romney wins the election there is no question a woman’s legal right to an abortion will be overturned, Title X monies will no longer go to Planned Parenthood, and hundreds of thousands of low-income women and children will lose access to affordable health care. The monies instead will go to Pregnancy Help Centers. At this point Alaska, Kansas, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, and Pennsylvania have enacted laws allowing state funding for Pregnancy Help Centers and it’s all about an overwhelming and heart-felt desire to help women and has nothing to do with religion.
Live loud, love fierce, and suffer no fools. Katherine Manaan (MAWT)
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