One of the most potent political fights for women is anger at governments or courts making medical decisions for them. The centerpiece of this issue for decades has been abortion rights, usually known as the Pro-Choice movement. The counterweight to Pro-Choice, of course, is the energy against abortion, commonly labeled as Pro-Life.
Interestingly, women are the leaders on both sides of the conflict. Even more surprising is the fact that leaders of both viewpoints are bi-partisan. Many Republican women favor the Pro-Choice side, and many Democrat women advocate Pro-life views.
This fight, sincerely heartfelt on both sides, took center stage as far back as the 1960s. In 1973, the US Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision that legalized abortion rights and rendered any abortion laws of individual states null and void.
More than 40 years have passed, and there has been no serious legal change to this issue. Some states have passed laws dealing with abortion, even though they have no chance of execution. These impotent legal tests would theoretically come into play if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe vs. Wade. While legal scholars love that kind of thing, it’s little more than a joke. After more than 40 years of argument, pro-life zealots have no chance of changing reality.
Nevertheless, Democrats persist in creating fears among women that Republican will somehow make abortion illegal. Equally disingenuous Republicans continue to fight against abortion, knowing full-well that they will never change anything.
Memo to Democrats: Stop embarrassing yourselves. You have too many other opportunities to affect positive changes.
Memo to Republicans: Stop embarrassing yourselves. You have too many significant opportunities to fight realistically against wrong-headed changes.
Memo to Washington: Stop this unseemly abortion battle. It’s only hot air. Instead, work together on: defeating ISIS; protecting the homeland from terrorism; countering Putin; lowering the ruinous national debt; reforming our ridiculous tax system; restructuring Social Security and Medicare; revitalizing education; rebuilding our roads and bridges; controlling the border; managing immigration; restructuring tuition loans; creating new jobs; and promoting economic growth. The preceding are the jobs we sent you to perform.
Regardless of the futility of the abortion battle, both sides deserve respect. Personally, I have always sided with pro-choice advocates. My reason is simple. I don’t believe that courts or governments should decide matters of personal medical care.
Nevertheless, a personal story that began 35 years ago tempered my pro-choice support. During a business trip to Los Angeles, I visited an old Army buddy who was distressed regarding his wife’s pregnancy. The couple was delighted at the prospect of their first child, but the woman suffered unrelenting back pain caused by the pregnancy. My friend agonized over her distress but was helpless. Her condition was so debilitating that doctors suggested aborting the pregnancy.
Both husband and wife struggled to make a decision. Abortion violated their personal beliefs, but the pain continued to worsen. I said nothing to my friend, just listening and supporting.
A week or two later, we spoke on the phone, and my friend happily announced an improvement in his wife’s condition, that would enable her to give birth naturally. I congratulated him, promising to visit again after the baby was born.
I visited them once or twice a year after that and watched the baby—a little girl—develop. She was pretty, smart, and friendly during the toddler years, and developed into an academic powerhouse through high school and college. After graduation from UCLA, she spent two years in Africa, teaching poverty-stricken people how to avoid and treat malaria.
She later entered medical school, where she met and eventually married another young doc. The couple is currently part of Doctors Without Borders.
Viewing this young woman from afar, I am amazed to see the incredible person I watched grow up. When I think that a hasty medical decision might have ended her life before birth, I’m awed by the importance of the Pro-Choice, Pro-life conflict.
My book “The Victory that Wasn’t” offers a fictional alternate history with a different kind of Military, and better outcomes for all Americans. It’s available on Amazon at http://amzn.to/1GUL8oX