Kathy Petersen’s Blog

Freedom of Choice Act

Posted in abortion by Kathy on December 13, 2008

On another blog I read, someone made a comment that people who are against coerced abortions should be for the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). I asked how that would work, knowing that most cases of coersion are from the woman’s boyfriend or parents. She unwillingly walks into the abortion clinic and submits to the abortion, feeling like she has no other choice. There are cases of child molesters who bring in the children they got pregnant and make them undergo abortions so that the pregnancy does not advance and expose them as the perpetrators. So this commenter asked me if I had actually read the text of FOCA. I had not, so I found it as Senate Bill 1173.

(1) The United States was founded on core principles, such as liberty, personal privacy, and equality, which ensure that individuals are free to make their most intimate decisions without governmental interference and discrimination.

Interesting how they leave out one of the “core principles” if not the core principle of life. And, hate to break it to ya, but our government has interfered throughout its history with a person’s life, liberty and personal privacy to protect an innocent person’s life, liberty and personal privacy. For instance, the death penalty is legal; also, it is legal to kill a person who is threatening the life of another person. I do not have the liberty to drink and drive. I do not have the liberty to ingest heroin, though it is done in the privacy of my own home. So this statement is at best a half-truth.

(2) One of the most private and difficult decisions an individual makes is whether to begin, prevent, continue, or terminate a pregnancy. Those reproductive health decisions are best made by women, in consultation with their loved ones and health care providers.

Except that terminating a pregnancy takes a genetically unique human life. Who speaks for him or her, to protect that life?

(3) In 1965, in Griswold v. Connecticut (381 U.S. 479), and in 1973, in Roe v. Wade (410 U.S. 113) and Doe v. Bolton (410 U.S. 179), the Supreme Court recognized that the right to privacy protected by the Constitution encompasses the right of every woman to weigh the personal, moral, and religious considerations involved in deciding whether to begin, prevent, continue, or terminate a pregnancy.

Yet the South Dakota Task Force on abortion pointed out many problems with that decision, namely that the state of science and medicine has improved so much in that time, that some assumptions the Court made in its decision have been shown to be false.

(4) The Roe v. Wade decision carefully balances the rights of women to make important reproductive decisions with the State’s interest in potential life. Under Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the right to privacy protects a woman’s decision to choose to terminate her pregnancy prior to fetal viability, with the State permitted to ban abortion after fetal viability except when necessary to protect a woman’s life or health.

But the fetus is alive until the point of abortion. The commenter on that other blog even used the term “to kill the pregnancy”, which is not a correct use of the term, since “pregnancy” is defined as “the state of being pregnant” or “the period from conception to birth.” You can’t “kill” a state of being nor a period. When I wake up, I don’t “kill sleep.” You can, however, kill a living thing, which is exactly what abortion does. “Pregnant” basically means “to be filled with” — such as a “pregnant pause”, and it is in this way that the term came to be applied to being “with child”. Those who fight for abortion claim that it is the woman only who is to be considered, that it is her body and her right to do whatever she wants to with it. This denies the very meaning of the terms of pregnancy, of being “filled with” something. You cannot be pregnant — filled with — yourself; you can only be pregnant — filled with — something else. That something else is not your body; though vitally connected with your body, it is genetically unique.

Also, after a fetus is viable, there is no way that ensuring the baby will be born dead will protect a woman’s life or health. The same methods of terminating a pregnancy are the same after viability, whether to intentionally produce a living child or a dead child. A woman whose life or health is precarious because of a continued pregnancy can be induced or given a C-section and have a living child. Ensuring the baby is dead at birth is an extra step that carries additional risks to the mother.

(5) These decisions have protected the health and lives of women in the United States. Prior to the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, an estimated 1,200,000 women each year were forced to resort to illegal abortions, despite the risk of unsanitary conditions, incompetent treatment, infection, hemorrhage, disfiguration, and death. Before Roe, it is estimated that thousands of women died annually in the United States as a result of illegal abortions.

This is a lie, founded on an assumption, founded on a lie. There is no basis of proof for this — it was a figment of an abortion promoter’s imagination, which he later admitted. Unfortunately, no one in the abortion industry nor an abortion promoter has the guts to promote the truth; and no one in the pro-life movement is believed, because, well, they’re pro-life, so they’d say stuff like that. Even when there is proof of the truth and no proof of the lie, the lie is still believed because it makes a better story for the abortion advocates.

(6) In countries in which abortion remains illegal, the risk of maternal mortality is high. According to the World Health Organization, of the approximately 600,000 pregnancy-related deaths occurring annually around the world, 80,000 are associated with unsafe abortions.

This wording is deliberate verbal sleight of hand. “Legal” does not equate to “safe” — as is proved by Romania’s legal abortions which end half of all pregnancies, and also cause half of all deaths counted as “maternal mortality.” The reasons of maternal mortality in underdeveloped countries are the same as in this country in the early 1900s, including poor nutrition, poor sanitation, no clean water, little or no medical care, etc. Ireland is a “countr[y] in which abortion remains illegal,” yet it has among the lowest, if not the lowest maternal mortality in the world. In countries where conditions are such that pregnancy and birth are dangerous, abortion is also dangerous. Countries that cannot deal with complications such as postpartum hemorrhage (easily treatable in America and other developed countries by a simple, cheap injection) or infection (easily treatable by antibiotics, which are hard to obtain in third world countries), cannot deal with abortion and post-abortion dangers such as hemorrhage, infection, lacerated cervices or uteri, amniotic fluid embolism, shock, sepsis, etc.

(9) Further threatening Roe, the Supreme Court recently upheld the first-ever Federal ban on an abortion procedure, which has no exception to protect a woman’s health…

This is a reference to the extremely grisly and harsh method of partial-birth abortion. This is only performed on a fetus after viability, when, again, if the woman’s physical health requires the pregnancy to end (or in some way being pregnant is causing real mental problems — which is extremely unlikely), the pregnancy can be terminated by the live birth of the child, by induction or C-section. These happen every day in the United States, in every state, and probably nearly every hospital.

(10) Legal and practical barriers to the full range of reproductive services endanger women’s health and lives. Incremental restrictions on the right to choose imposed by Congress and State legislatures have made access to reproductive care extremely difficult, if not impossible, for many women across the country. Currently, 87 percent of the counties in the United States have no abortion provider.

Oh, waah! I’m cryin’ buckets of tears over this. Y’know what? My county doesn’t have a doctor who attends the birth of babies — the only hospital in my county does not have birth facilities. While I choose home births, were I to choose a hospital birth, I’d have to drive a minimum of a half-hour to the nearest hospital. My sisters have driven nearly two hours to go to the hospital of their choices in order to find a care provider they liked and trusted. There are certain areas of states in which there is no obstetrician for nearly two hours in any direction — because of medico-legal problems like malpractice lawsuits and premiums that have driven doctors out of business or at least out of the area. This means that women are forced to drive for hours to go to prenatal appointments (which means probably at least a dozen visits), and then have to drive a couple of hours to the hospital in labor in order to have a legal birth attendant (since many of these states also restrict midwives from attending home births). So, spare me the crocodile tears about there being no abortion mills in every neighborhood.

(15) Federal protection of a woman’s right to choose to prevent or terminate a pregnancy falls within this affirmative power of Congress, in part, because–

(A) many women cross State lines to obtain abortions and many more would be forced to do so absent a constitutional right or Federal protection;

(B) reproductive health clinics are commercial actors that regularly purchase medicine, medical equipment, and other necessary supplies from out-of-State suppliers; and

(C) reproductive health clinics employ doctors, nurses, and other personnel who travel across State lines in order to provide reproductive health services to patients.

Yeah, and my sisters both crossed state lines to give birth in the hospital of their choice, yet it is not a federal matter that midwives are legal in some states but not in others; nor that there are this set of malpractice laws in Mississippi and that set in Tennessee. Hospitals regularly purchase medicine, medical equipment, and other necessary supplies from out-of-State suppliers — big deal! Heck — the little independent pharmacy where I was employed for over five years bought almost all of its medicine, equipment, and other necessary supplies from an out-of-state company, but I sure hope it doesn’t make it a federal matter! Many people, especially those who live close to the State lines, live in one state and work in another, but that doesn’t put them nor their places of employment under Federal jurisdiction — otherwise companies in Memphis or New Orleans or New York City, and elsewhere, will be in for a big shock!

(b) Prohibition of Interference- A government may not–

(1) deny or interfere with a woman’s right to choose–

(A) to bear a child;

(B) to terminate a pregnancy prior to viability; or

(C) to terminate a pregnancy after viability where termination is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman; or

(2) discriminate against the exercise of the rights set forth in paragraph (1) in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information.

Since one of the things that was under consideration in the blog I referred to previously was that of “coerced abortion”, this is the thing that is particularly of interest. It says “a government may not” — nothing about the boyfriends, husbands, families, or friends of women or adolescents who may force or coerce them into an abortion against their wishes. And these happen all the time. About 60% of all abortions, I believe it has been said, were entered into unwillingly by the woman, and done only at the behest of those around them, or because they felt like they had no other alternative. Even if the number is only 6%, that is still too many coerced abortions. And this bill doesn’t say anything about non-government coersion.

And there is also a big, huge problem with the tiny, little phrase in (2) of “a government may not… discriminate against the exercise of the rights set forthin paragraph (1) in the regulation or provision of… information.” This says to me that this bill would prohibit the government from requiring that honest and factual information be given to women who may have an abortion. Considering also the many, many lies I have heard from abortion advocates on fetal development, as well as stories from women who have had a prior abortion but were given inaccurate or misleading information from the abortion provider, this is absolutely untenable. Women who make the choice to have an abortion because of lies told them are not having an abortion of their own free will, and may even be having a coerced abortion. Women who are told that their fetuses are “a clump of cells” and “mostly just tissue” or “just blood and tissue”, and get an abortion because they think that is factual, when in fact the baby is very well-developed and obviously identifiable as a human, are having abortions under false reasons, and if they were told the truth, would not have an abortion. Why is it that abortion advocates fight tooth and nail against providing women with honest, factual information regarding fetal development, and showing women an ultrasound picture of the baby, and other similar things? It is because when women know these things, they choose not to have an abortion. But these hypocrites still call themselves “pro-choice.”


4 Responses

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  1. Kathy said, on December 14, 2008 at 3:05 pm


    Re: Founding Fathers, “life” and abortion — care to back that up w/some facts? here is a link to an article discussing a book which pretty well repudiates the abortion advocates’ myths on abortion in previous times.

    And there is more than “one possible explanation” for their silence — that fetuses were considered living and therefore protected, and there were laws on the books regarding abortions.

    I did read the whole text of FOCA — it only says the government may not force abortions (such as happens in China). There are already laws against performing medical procedures without one’s consent. The point, though, is that these women are forced or coerced into consenting. I’m a childbirth educator and “birth junkie” so I read a lot of birth stories in which women are forced or coerced into agreeing to a lot of interventions they do not want; yet they sign the paper because they cannot stand up against the people who have united against them. It’s the same thing with abortions. Technically, legally, they have consented to the procedure, but it was not what they willingly consented to do. Not exactly holding a gun to her head, but coercion nonetheless. You may be legally correct but morally wrong. “Choosing to yield to pressure” — if it was the woman’s willing choice, there would be no pressure for her to yield to. You contradict your own argument. When I feed my children their lunch, it is not because I yield to pressure from them clamoring to be fed, but because I’m a good mother and I don’t want my children to go hungry much less to starve. It is willing, not yielding unwillingly.

    Who opposes having ultrasounds shown to the woman before she consents to an abortion?? How about every abortion provider who makes sure the screen is turned away from the woman before and during the procedure? How about every abortion advocate who tries to kill any such bill? How about every representative who votes against bills that require ultrasound to be made available before a woman allows a stranger to suck the life right out of her uterus?

    And you may oppose requiring women to be shown the ultrasound screen, but why? It is a part of informed consent — they need to understand what is going on in their bodies, and what the fetus looks like and at what stage of development it is. When so many people are convinced that abortion only removes a “blob of tissue” and don’t understand how highly organized and alive it is — what with the heart beating and the baby moving and all — they are having an abortion under false information. You should be a champion of making sure women get the best and most accurate information, which is sadly not often the case.

    Well, of course you wouldn’t hear of women changing their minds after viewing an ultrasound from doctors who perform abortions — they have a vested, monetary interest in being pro-abortion, and in performing as many abortions as possible, so they have every reason to fight against the truth that there is a genetically unique human being that they are about to kill (along with the placenta). But how many pro-abortion doctors can you come up with who try to get legislation passed requiring that ultrasounds be made available to women prior to having an abortion done? How many abortion doctors can you come up with who have of their own free will shown the woman an ultrasound of her baby before giving her an abortion? Even though it happens, abortion advocates have a vested interest in not letting that word get out.

    You need a bit more understanding of fetal development and childbirth before you can refer to a baby as spaghetti and meatballs. When a fetus is a candidate for being pulled by the feet, living, out of her mother’s body to the base of the skull, and then have a sharp object rammed into her skull, and then have her brain sucked out, and her skull collapses, the cervix is already quite dilated to allow the birth of the baby’s feet, legs, buttocks, abdomen, spine, shoulders, and arms. The baby can be given a shot of digoxin to stop its heart before the abortion procedure is done, and if given a few days prior to the abortion, the body macerates or softens in the amniotic fluid, making it easier to dismember and pull the pieces through an even less dilated cervix; the skull can be crushed with forceps and similarly pulled out. Grisly either way you look at it, but a partial-birth abortion gets the baby out in one piece (minus the brain, and with the skull crushed), though the baby is still living until her brain is sucked out.

    The world’s population is actually between 6 and 7 billion. But just because something is inside you does not mean it is a part of you. My husband was shot and left for dead; he still has fragments of shrapnel in his arm, but they are no more a part of him than the bullet was when it was still in the chamber of the gun. It is foreign matter to his body. There is a reason why organ recipients have to take anti-rejection drugs — it’s because their bodies recognize the new organs as being not their body, and they try to fight against it as much as if it were a pathogen. There is a reason why fetuses are not rejected by the body in such a pathological way, and it is not because they are the woman’s body, but because of a hormone, or some chemical or substance secreted by the fetus that not only keeps the woman’s body from recognizing the fetus as foreign, but actually draws on the mother to feed and nourish the fetus.

    Moving on to the 2nd comment — abortion doctors should have ultrasounds, and do abortions under ultrasound for 2 reasons — to make sure first that it is not an ectopic pregnancy, and second to make sure that they get all of the “products of conception” out without puncturing the uterus. Is “pretty safe” good enough for you? What about the thousands of women for whom “pretty safe” wasn’t good enough. You’ve looked at the RealChoice blog — go browse it and you’ll find a lot of women who were injured or killed by “safe and legal” abortions — the blog focuses on those women who died, but she also sometimes tells the stories of those who lived with great injuries. Women who died from sepsis, either because the doctor left part of the fetus in the uterus to rot, or from some aspect of the unnatural procedure of abortion leaving an infection; from hemorrhage due to cervical lacerations, or punctured uterus; from bowel lacerations; from shock; from amniotic fluid embolism, etc.

    But let’s try to keep to the task at hand. I have passing knowledge of “Tiller the Killer”; this really has no bearing on my blog post nor on FOCA. But “if everybody already does it anyway”, what’s the problem with mandating that it be done? The law is then empty, so you shouldn’t be worried about it.

    Ah, you’ve brought up “separate” again — you seem not to understand that one of the many definitions for “separate” is “individual and distinct.” A fetus is definitely individual and distinct from its mother Again, the shrapnel that is currently embedded in my husband’s humerus is *not* my husband. Parasites that are in my body are *not* my body. Bacteria that are in my body — as good as they may be, as necessary as they may be to help digest food — are *not* my body. Steak that is choking me is not my body; steak that is safely swallowed into my stomach is not my body; steak that is being digested and is in my intestines is not my body; and steak that is finally defecated out of my body is not my body. Now, the nutrients that are absorbed by my body from that steak are used my body to live and grow; but the steak itself is not my body. Nor is an artificial heart valve, a transplanted organ, digestive parasites, nor ascaris worms. The fact that they are called *parasites* shows that they are living off of a host creature, but are not the host creature. Mistletoe is a parasite living off of trees — it is not a tree!

  2. yeah right said, on January 26, 2010 at 10:18 am

    Um, Ireland has a low maternal mortality rate because they’ve got a national health service. Also, if an Irish woman has an abortion, all she has to do is go to the UK, where it’s legal.

    One need only look at Latin America to understand that outlawing contraception and abortion do nothing for women’s health.

  3. yeah right said, on January 26, 2010 at 10:18 am

    if an Irish woman *wants* an abortion, I mean. Anyway.

  4. Kathy said, on January 30, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    Britain also has a national health service, but it has a higher maternal mortality than Ireland.

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