I sent it to Tom, among others, and got a quick response:
This one I can't get with you bub! I support the ban...I have read a good bit about this "procedure" and the occurrence of its legitimate use is rare - the occurrence of its use as an after-the-fact abortion of an inconvenient child is a dirty little secret. I am more ambivalent about abortion in general, perhaps because I have a kid, than I was in my youth. Could also be the 2 abortions that occurred where I would have been a father... One done with my consent, the other done without my knowledge (and a different relationship).
I really am big on the RU486 approach and wish america would "get with it" as the only ethical after-the-fact birth control method. I do not want to see a wholesale overturning of Roe v. Wade, and personally doubt this will happen. Too many rich republican women getting abortions just like po' demmicrat ones!
Your pal, Tom
Some thoughts on the subject:
- I'm pretty sure that the courts are going to strike it down, because as usual there isn't an exception for legitimate medical emergencies, thus rendering all the shouting moot. This was just an exercise in appeasing the religious right, nothing more. Sometimes I think they leave that exception out on purpose knowing it won't pass muster in the courts.
- There is another 3rd trimester abortion procedure which is never mentioned in any of the P.B.A. bills. I forget the clinical name but it consists of killing the baby in the uterus, cutting it up, and extracting the pieces through the cervix. To me this one is a lot worse than P.B.A. It's also harder and more dangerous, but if the ban isn't struck down in the courts then that's the procedure they're going to start using. Since legislatures consistently leave this procedure out of those bills (and Dr Bill Frist oughta know) this to me is further evidence that conservative politicians aren't serious about banning 3rd trimester abortions.
- Partial-birth abortion may be rare but that doesn't mean it's never necessary (as opposed to voluntary). As far as I'm concerned banning the procedure is wrong when what you're trying to do is ban the behavior of choosing to have such an abortion when there is no medical reason to.
- Although I too believe the fetus in the 3rd trimester is pretty much a human being and shouldn't be aborted if it can be helped, I'm also not the one who's pregnant. In my humble opinion (and with all due respect to your feelings & experiences on this subject) when, where, & how a woman has an abortion is nobody's business but her own. If men were the ones who got pregnant these bills would never pass muster must less both houses of congress.
I've become very cynical lately. Education is the key. Education would empower women and allow them to take the necessary preventive steps so that P.B.A. will someday be the rare procedure it should be. Education to empower women has been shown to work in 3rd world countries, but something like that for sex education will never happen here. I'd like to see RU486 dispensed by school nurses along with honest sexual advice. I'd like to see condom dispensers in high school bathrooms. I'd like to see health education nationwide realize that teaching abstinence is silly because Pandora's box on this subject was opened almost 40 years ago. I'd like to see the Catholic Church take its collective head out of its collective ass on condom use to fight AIDS. I'd like to live in a society that doesn't think kissing a woman's breast requires an "NC-17" rating while cutting it off gets an "R". There are so many preventive & educational steps we as a society could take, but they're never going to happen.