Well, the Ass. Press is at it again. In reporting on the Valdosta, Georgia case (see yesterday's entry) they say the abortionist's license has been suspended. They mention that abortion is "heavily" regulated in Georgia and say third trimester abortions are only allowed when there is a "health risk" to the mother. However, the author of this article defines "health risk" for readers in this statement:
"The 23-year-old woman was more than 30 weeks pregnant, meaning an abortion would be illegal if her life was not in danger."
BUZZZT! Wrong answer! When it comes to abortion the term "health exception" is broadly defined and virtually meaningless. While it can refer to a life-threatening illness (or or any physical illness), it can also refer to mental health such as depression that is or is not life-threatening.
Let's look at the language of Roe v. Wade. The Court defined the word "health" as meaning:
..."The medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors - physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age - relevant to the well-being of the patient. All these factors may relate to health." (Doe v. Bolton)
The "health exception" includes a pregnancy that would:
* "Force upon a woman a distressful life and future."
* Cause "psychological harm."
* "Will tax mental and physical health by child care."
* Will cause distress "associated with the unwanted child."
* Will "bring a child into a family already unable psychologically or otherwise to care for it."
* Will bring the "continuing difficulties and stigma of unwed motherhood."
(Roe v. Wade)
Yesterday's entry contains an excerpt of Georgia's law on third trimester abortion. The key sentence here is:
"No abortion is authorized or shall be performed after the second trimester unless... the abortion is necessary... to preserve the life or health of the woman."
So the author of the Ass. Press article defines "health exception" to mean "life-threatening illness" which it most certainly does not mean. However, the myriad readers who don't know what the law says on abortion will take the suggestion and run with it all the way to the voting booth. They'll read another Ass. Press article on how the compassionless right-wing conservatives are trying to outlaw Partial Birth Abortion altogether without allowing a "health exception." Readers will be horrified at Republican "heartlessness" imagining that the conservative attitude is: "Look, I'm sorry you're dying of cancer, lady, but you're not killing your baby." That's how it works. When ignorant voters aren't casting their ballot for the guy with the coolest name, they're (incorrectly) punching out chads based on what they read in the funny papers. Isn't that encouraging.
I tried to go on Ass. Press's website to dig up the name of the author of this May 20th article ("Doctor in Botched Abortion Case Has License Suspended") so we could all write her/him and school her/him on abortion laws (which s/he may already know), but alas, I couldn't find it on their online pages. However, an article on who will win the American Idol contest was in plain view. Ahhh, the Ass. Press and their priorities...