Whoa, Whoa, Back the Hell Up!

Missouri Governor Convenes Abortion “Taskforce”:

The group’s members are examining “the physical, emotional, social and economic effects of abortion,” reports the Associated Press. Blunt has said that he will begin the taskforce with the “presumption that abortion has a negative impact on Missouri children, Missouri women, Missouri men, because it’s harmful to society.”

According to the Associated Press, the Governor’s taskforce is made up only of abortion opponents. John McCastle, president of Alliance for Life-Missouri and one of the main recruiters for the taskforce, said he plans to investigate whether abortion leads to crime and claims that he has read “unspecified studies” suggesting that a significant majority of female prisoners have had abortions, reports the Kaiser Daily Women’s Health Policy Report.

The warrant that abortion is “harmful to society” is based on what beliefs? That abortion is the murder of babies? That “life” begins when a sperm touches an egg? That abortion is criminal behavior because women are involved?

When I taught argument, students hated when I called them out for stacking their support, often in opposition to accepted or scientific fact and findings. If you only look for what already supports your opinion or religious faith, you are not investigating, doing research or analyzing. The anti-abortion groups who got a grand jury convened in Kansas also feel that the only way to find The Truth is to stack the deck:

Kansans for Life and Operation Rescue are upset that the prosecutor in charge of guiding the grand jury works for Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston, a Democrat.

On Tuesday, they asked Buchanan to dismiss Foulston’s office and appoint special counsel.

Ann Swegle, a deputy district attorney under Foulston, is the prosecutor of record for the grand jury, according to the instructions given to the panel Tuesday.

The leader for Operation Rescue said he hoped for an aggressive prosecutor for this grand jury. That’s why Troy Newman said his group and Kansans for Life sought to disqualify Foulston’s office.

“We have a serious situation of the appearance of impropriety,” Newman said Tuesday.

Anti-abortion groups see Foulston as aligned with abortion rights supporters. Foulston has said the duty of her office is to follow the law.

Anti-abortion groups empaneled a grand jury in the spring of 2006 to look into the death of a woman who had visited Tiller’s clinic. The grand jury brought no charges in the woman’s death, echoing the findings of state medical authorities. The groups publicly blamed Swegle for not pushing the charges.

That fall, then-Attorney General Phill Kline tried to file criminal charges against Tiller in Wichita. Foulston pointed to a state law that said Kline needed her permission to file a case in her district. A district judge sided with Foulston and dismissed the charges.

Though Dr. George Tiller is facing 19 misdemeanor charges from his dealings with another doctor, the grand jury was not convened for that but to find out if/that Dr. Tiller is performing illegal late-term abortions. Here, too, the anti-abortion side wants people who agree with them to investigate in spite or because of the blinding bias that can only be found in a true anti-abortion bark eater.

Disclosure: I’ve got my own bias on this issue. One, I’m a woman. Two, I’ve had an abortion. Three, I cannot think of many other medical procedures or medical decisions that are legislated like abortion. Four, I think there can be inherent problems with men deciding this issue since there is no male corollary—abortion is nothing like an angioplasty or a prostate exam. Five, I’m an atheist. Six, I do not believe that life as I see it begins at conception. I see life involving a certain degree of independence, and the embryo/fetus is not independent. Even after birth, the first 3 months of a baby’s life is a transition from fetus to baby. Scientists cannot agree when life begins and I’m not qualified to question or condemn the science available. Seven, as someone who has been pregnant, carried to term and given birth (without an epidural or morphine or anything, thank you very much), I find Susan Sontag’s analogy fitting—that pregnancy is like having another person connected to you via life support equipment—and agree with Adrienne Rich’s assertion that the fetus is not the same as the woman, as myself, and that even though it occupies part (and then much) of my body, it is also “Not-Me.” And eight, I know all too damn well that the anti-abortion warrant that women blithely enter clinics and rejoice at the “death of a child”‘ is hateful bullshit. It is not an easy decision, regardless of religion, political stance, law, medicine, etc.

And “When mothers don’t plan to get pregnant, adult children think less of themselves.” I know more about that than I’d like to.

Additional reading:

Both sides protest as Tiller grand jury empaneled

Operation Rescue Files 11th Hour Motions to Remove District Attorney, AG from Abortion Grand Jury

Grand Jury Set to Convene on Dr Tiller

Analysis: Blunt task force examining how abortions affect women

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One Response to Whoa, Whoa, Back the Hell Up!

  1. Maitri says:

    The definition of a fetus as a child has harmful implications for more important people than women, NARAL, Planned Parenthood and pro-choicers: children. Happily bantering about the politics of Those Murdering Liberals, these folks completely neglect the realities of life. While politicians latch onto the very specific interests of “Focus on the Family” groups, they leave out the best interest of children living in disease, poverty, squalor, neglect, abuse and every conceivable situation outside an environment within which children can thrive and be loved. I’d like for each of these vote-mongering pro-life politicians to step into a dwelling in an inner city, trailer park, even a home in an affluent neighborhood in which a child’s quality of life is deeply diminished because their parent(s) do not have the requirements, especially the emotional ones, to deal with that child.

    Where is the love for that child when he or she is abused, beaten, hungry, homeless, unloved, in counseling, not in counseling and left for dead? Where is the Beauty Of Life then? Unfortunately, by then, those poor kids have joined the ranks of us living schmucks and are not worth air and time any longer.

    Focus on the Family – whose family? How is family defined? Until these idiots realize that the entire country doesn’t consist of well-adjusted families living within their emotional and financial means and that LIFE HAS CONSEQUENCES, useless money-wasting taskforces such as this will pass without scrutiny and their contents will become law. The kicker is that these same morons will then ask why their taxes have to pay for homeless shelters, orphanages and mental health facilities and, in so doing, will cause many deaths in their attempt to “protect life.”

Comments welcomed. Really.