Sunday, May 31, 2009

Simply Unconscionable

As many have probably heard by now, Dr. George Tiller has been murdered in his own church today, most likely by a right-wing extremist. Dr. Tiller happened to perform abortions, including some of the extremely rare late-term abortions in the U.S. Though abortion is legal, there are clearly many in America that would rather scare women and their doctors back into the dark ages in terms of reproductive care. Gruesome images of aborted fetuses, 24-hour surveillance of clinics, and websites dedicated to outing anyone who visit those clinics are only some of the scare tactics these nouveau-fascists use to intimidate and harass. Their callous disregard for human life around the world and laser-focus on abortion smacks of hypocrisy at best and mindless, savage hatred at worst. Their "pro-life" stance extends only to abortion, not to real issues that would save lives around the world or improve the lives of people suffering here in the U.S. 

Anti-choice activists lack of nuance and understanding is most clearly shown in their disdain for sex education and attempts to block any sort of abortion rights or access. There will always be the need for abortions. While the number will fluctuate over time, it has overall decreased significantly since the 1980s even as the U.S. population has increased rapidly. With better sex education and improved birth control methods, that curve is likely to keep declining. Women would much rather be able to use the variety of birth control methods to keep from getting pregnant rather than have to resort to abortion. Abortion is often the last resort of people who simple had no other option. Those with any empathy at all can imagine an infinite number of situations where a woman would not be able to access or utilize birth control. Lack of affordable birth control is one of the major reasons that the vast majority of abortions are received by poor and low-income women. Other countries handle this better by providing free access to birth control and training on how to use out. However, even the most effective birth control isn't fool-proof and accidents will happen. Women and their doctors should have all the tools available to make the right decision for them. This is not simply a matter of morality and common sense, this is a matter of women's basic human rights. 

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