Friday, April 22, 2005

ECHIDNE OF THE SNAKES asks: Why is George W. Bush trying to prevent the World Health Organization from saving the lives of up to 68,000 women by putting two pills that induce early abortions on its essential medicines list? These pills would be suggested for use in countries where abortion is already legal; their purpose would be to provide doctors with an alternative to surgical abortion, which is much riskier to women in third-world countries because of unsafe practices.

My conclusion: It must be because the Bush administration prefers that abortions be performed surgically at 8 weeks or at 12 weeks of pregnancy rather than immediately or within a few days after unprotected sex. It must be because he doesn't care if 68,000 women a year die from abortions that were not done properly because of substandard medical conditions.

The Bush administration calculus of values is clear: The loss of fetuses counts for more than the loss of already existing lives.

Echidne goes on to quote from an article in The New Republic Online that notes much of the objection to emergency contraception among "pro-lifers" is that it "encourages promiscuity." But since Plan B also is a safe and highly effective way to prevent pregnancy without abortion, and since abortion opponents are so concerned about having a "culture of life," then shouldn't a method that "reduces the approximately 1.3 million abortions that take place yearly in this country by half...trump the issue of premarital sex?"

Echidne's answer:

There are specifications to the "culture of life" in wingnuttia and these exclude most anything that promotes better lives for already existing people. "Life" in the wingnut jargon usually refers to fetuses and to people who are brain-dead. Some already existing lives (such as those of Iraqis or Afghanis) don't matter much. Women's lives are valued as equipment for making future wingnuts but don't seem to possess much intrinsic worth. And in general wingnuts lose all interest in the saving of any lives if it costs them something. Hence the eagerness to ban abortions and the reluctance to fund anything that would make bringing up children easier.

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