Thursday, March 02, 2006

MISSISSIPPI IS GETTING READY to copy South Dakota and pass legislation that would ban all abortions, no exception for rape, no exception for incest, no exception to protect the health of the pregnant girl or woman. The bill does state one exception: for the life of the pregnant woman; in other words, if pregnancy and childbirth would kill a woman, she can end the pregnancy.

Let's be clear here: There is no meaningful difference between a woman's health and a woman's life when it comes to pregnancy. Pregnancy can worsen preexisting health problems, like high blood pressure, kidney disease, or diabetes. Pregnancy can also trigger all of these conditions and more in a previously healthy woman. What kind of a society allows a woman to have an abortion if it is certain the pregnancy will kill her; yet forbids a woman to have an abortion if pregnancy will "only" require her to be on treatment for renal disease or hypertension or chronic depression for the rest of her life? The idea that a girl or woman can be "permitted" by law to keep her life but be denied permission to keep her health is repugnant beyond words. Can anyone imagine a comparable law for men?

It's immoral, inhumane, and insupportable to tease apart a person's consciousness and a person's body and posit an inherent human right to the first but not to the second. Life and health cannot be teased apart. They are inseparable. That is why an "exception" to a ban on abortion for a woman's life but not for her health is really not an exception at all. And I'm not going to accept the premise anymore that such complete bans on abortion include any exception at all.

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