Abortion ban adds dangers for women

Watching Representative Kathy Rapp chortling with glee over the prospect of banning abortions in Pennsylvania, I must speak up, and not for the first time on this issue. Ms. Rapp: if these measures go through, women will die, as they did before we saw the passage of Roe vs. Wade almost 50 years ago. That was why so many of us marched and sweated back then, and as someone else in the movement said tiredly, I can’t believe we have this (expletive) to do all over again. I’m glad we have a governor who is going to oppose any such reversals.

Indivisible Warren PA, since the formation of our group in 2017, has shown up, often accompanied by other like-minded groups, on the Courthouse corner in Warren in support of various causes: Don’t throw children in cages on the southern border; Stop tampering with the US Postal Service, Let’s have sensible gun legislation. You get our drift. We have an unofficial “honk meter” by which we judge response. And all participants will support me when I say that we never got such enthusiastic blasts of support and thumbs up as recently at our Pro-Choice rallies. There is no doubt whatever that the Warren public (old, young, male and female) supports personal choice in the matter of seeing through, or ending, pregnancies.

So let’s consider the Supreme Court, which was packed by the previous administration largely in favor of the religious right. That administration was headed by the most religiously oblivious president in the history of the Republic, but he knew a dog whistle when he saw one and managed to whip all too many into the feeling that we must all fall into line with their version of God’s will. Well, folks, there’s some variation in that, and this is the time to remember that our earliest settlers came here largely because they were tired of the church telling them what to do.

One of our founding principles is the separation of church and state, and now is the time to defend it.

There are some creepy groups out there who are actually saying the U.S. must be ruled by God and everyone must be Christian; those who aren’t may be allowed to live but can apparently expect to be badly treated. (Seriously!)

This is absolutely contrary to our founding principles about freedom of religion.

Previous Justices have no doubt had their own opinions as to religion, but have generally kept them apart from their adjudications. And the doctrine of Stare Decisis “Let the Decision Stand” has favored letting established decisions alone. But for the first time we see a settled decision reversed and an accepted right taken away. And from those states which have leaped to slam the door on abortions, we see the horror stories starting to tumble out: Doctors who are afraid to terminate pregnancies hazardous to the mother’s life because they’re afraid of losing their licenses; the pregnant 10-year-old raped by a relative who had to go to another state (can you imagine what a full-term pregnancy would do to the body of a child?)– and that’s just a few of the disturbing items so far.

Quite a few ideas seem to be propounded by old white guys with little understanding of females or pregnancy: Restore a tubal pregnancy to the uterus? Are they crazy?

A tubal pregnancy can easily become lethal to the mother if not terminated immediately. I understand that and I’m not a gynecologist.

The anti-Choice Justices have taken the position that, as the Constitution doesn’t mention abortion, there’s not necessarily any right to have one. It also doesn’t mention any right to drive a car, own a cell phone, get a tattoo, or part your hair in the middle. So what? The Founders were wise enough to know that they could not foresee the lives or technology of the future.

Moreover, if anything not mentioned in the Constitution needn’t be allowed, Amy Coney Barrett could never have made it to the Supreme Court. She should reflect on that.

Religions have quibbled since religion began over when life begins. It is an unsolvable question and anyone may have an opinion, but no group is entitled to force its own on others. Opposed to abortion? Fine; don’t have one. Adopt unwanted babies?

Great! But pregnancies happen, and not everyone can see one through or wants to. Little good and much harm comes from forced-pregnancy laws.

Warren and Pennsylvania will see heavy opposition to any such legislation.

Dr. Karen L. Black is a Warren resident.


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