Monday, February 3, 2014

A Truly Painful Abortion Ban

South Carolina's Lindsey Graham has taken up the important question of who is more willing to stand up against women's medical rights by championing the twenty-week abortion ban in the U.S. Senate.  Thankfully, in this 2014 Senate the bill won't pass.

However, here in South Carolina, legislators are rabid to get on board the Tea Party Express to hell before the primaries.  They have shown passion if not reason in their quest to control women.  But there are really only a few of these crazed fanatics in our legislature.  Others who would vote in favor of these bills opposing women's reproductive rights do so because they fear repercussions, and really don't have a grasp of the issues.

Thursday at 9 a.m. there will be a hearing in Columbia on H 4223, what is erroneously called the "Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Bill," in Room 516 of the Blatt Office Building.  The ACLU will be there giving testimony.  If you can make it there in support, if you or someone you know has testimony you can give about why passage of this bill would be wrong, please be there.

I urge you to contact your legislators in the House.  You can find out who that is, as well as contact information, at SC Statehouse.  It is important to let your legislator know that you live in their district.  Some legislators pay more attention to actual snail mail, because of the extra time and attention it takes to send a message that way.  Individually written messages are more likely to get attention as opposed to mass emails.  On the other hand, do whatever you are able; any contact at all is better than none.

That said, here are a few important points that you can make when you contact your legislator:

Twenty week abortions are rare.  They are undertaken when a problem has occurred in the pregnancy that either could not be detected or was unclear earlier in the pregnancy.  Most often these are wanted pregnancies, and the decision is extremely difficult. 
The diagnosis of the medical problem and determination of whether or not to proceed with the pregnancy requires expert analysis.  The recommendation of trained physicians is critical.  There have been instances elsewhere in which, due to an existing anti-abortion law, women have been forced to continue with a pregnancy despite medical indications of extreme trauma, only to give birth to a severely impaired infant who dies (in pain) shortly thereafter. 
The decision where there is a possible serious problem needs to be made by a woman who has been well-informed by a knowledgeable medical professional.  I would not ever want to be in the position of making this critical decision, and neither should our legislators. 
Regarding the issue of pain, solid science has determined that thalamocortical connections, which are not developed until week 29/30 at the earliest, are necessary for the experience of pain.  Until that time, although there may be reflexive movement, there is no feeling of pain. 
Whereas, and I have to emphasize this fact, if a pregnancy is continued despite evidence of severe trauma, it may well result in undue pain by mother and a child who is not capable of survival, and possibly the death of the mother. 
And again, twenty week abortions happen rarely, and in desperate circumstances, and under the advice of a medical professional. 
So H 4223 is not only unnecessary as it addresses a problem that occurs very rarely, but it prevents licensed medical professionals from making critical recommendations during the course of problems that arise during the pregnancy.
Please speak out to your legislators, and talk to family and friends and educate them about what the real issues are in this proposed twenty-week abortion ban.

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