Friday, May 28, 2010

Rally for Reproductive Justice

Oklahoma has passed some of the most restrictive laws in the nation in regard to abortion. I participated in a rally opposing the legislation at the state capitol today. The rally was sponsored by a new organization that calls itself the Coalition for Reproductive Justice. Here's what I said at the press conference:
The laws enacted by the Oklahoma legislature this session were deliberately designed to harass and intimidate women making one of the most intimate, personal, and painful decisions of their lives.

Such decisions should be made conscientiously and under the private counsel of their own doctors, ministers and family members.

The government has no business inserting themselves into these matters. In doing so it is infringing on one of the most basic and inalienable of human rights -- the right of fully conscious and sentient persons to make decisions about their own life and health under the liberty of a conscience formed by their own religious beliefs and convictions.

This legislation cannot stand. It will not stand. And, the ladies behind me are going to see that it does not stand.


linda said...

Thank you for the strong, coherent, and just statement.

grandma1 said...

Good looking guy. Better looking than the one on the heading.

I am proud of you stand on this issue.


John King said...

I generally agree with your position of keeping government out of regulating the decision for or against abortion. My confusion comes when personal advice is sought by one faced with the decision.

James praker said...

Well that is true...

Right to have abortion or not only lies with the women and no one can force her to take a particular decision

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Fred Smith said...

Wrong on every point here. 1) The OK Legislature was not out to "intimidate women." It is irresponsible to accuse the other side of the worst possible motive for their decisions. Rarely do people make decisions with a bad motives. Decency demands that one assume the best motive on the part of the other person. We cannot get along in an atmosphere of toleration and mutual respect when we "demonize the other" in the way your statement has done. Attacks to "whip up the crowd" for one's cause are unworthy of thoughtful Christians.
2) Having a baby--or not--is not a "private matter" for the woman. Babies are part of the community and the decision to abort changes the future for the community in which that baby would have grown up. It affects all of us. The decision to kill another human being should not be made privately by any individual. (Consider the fact that capital punishment, in the Bible, could only be carried out on the testimony of at least two witnesses; and the method, stoning, required participation by the total community, implying that there had to be general agreement on the part of the community that the person was guilty. So today, the death sentence is given only after evidence has been carefully sifted, and even then, carrying out the sentence is a long and difficult process. Killing someone, in the Bible, or today, is never properly anyone's private decision, except now in the case of abortion. No one has the right, by themselves, to determine who does or doesn't deserve to live in the community. We should welcome everyone, including all babies. Abortion allows one person to determine that another person has no right to live in the community. Often that decision is made on the basis of the convenience of the one who makes the decision, not on the basis of the good of the community.
3) To say that the decision should be made in consultation with the woman's minister, family members and "her own doctors" is idealistic. Most women make this decision under pressure from her boyfriend, from her parents, and often from the abortion facility that stands to profit from her decision. Her minister is often the last one to know (and many of these women are not church members, and have no relationship with a minister, though some do). Rarely does a woman in this situation seek wise council from people who care about her. To assume that the issue pits the OK legislature against wise counselors in the girl's life is foolish at best. It is puzzling that you painted such a rosy picture of how the decision should be made vs how the OK Legislature wants to "intrude." Could it be that the members of the OK legislature know what really happens and want to protect young girls from being pushed into a traumatic decision that creates psychological problems for them that often go on for decades? That is the best possible motive for their action on this issue. How do you argue against that?

Dr. Bruce Prescott said...


The OK legislature was indeed out to intimidate women. Regarding the requirement that women have a vaginal sonogram before terminating a pregnancy, as C.S. Hamilton wrote in the Norman Transcript on May 30th:

"I'm wondering if people think this is one of those gentle sonograms where a woman lies on a table and, easily preserving her modesty, exposes her tummy and has a flat piece of medical equipment wiped back and forth across it. This law has nothing to do with that benign medical procedure.

In the vaginal type of sonogram required by this law, a woman assumes the feet-in-the-stirrup position with no ability to maintain any modesty or dignity or personal protection. A stranger, not necessarily a woman, forces a wand that is about a foot long and an inch in diameter into her vagina as far as it will go. After that, the wand is shoved and prodded in her vagina to get acceptable images of the uterus.

The procedure can be painful but always is unpleasant, intrusive and in this case not medically necessary -- or even recommended!"

You're wrong on your other points as well, but I think this is adequate to inform you that you should do more research on this issue.