Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bush Admin Equates "The Pill" with Abortion

There has always been an anti-contraceptive movement in America, but this little bit of news may surprise you. It seems that the Bush administration has recently asked the HHS (Dept. of Health and Human Services) to define contraceptives as abortion. For those of you why may not be grasping the significance of this, it is at least two-fold:
  1. It "legislates" the idea that taking "the pill" is tantamount to abortion after a pregnancy (which is a far, far more serious kind of act).
  2. It might even jeopardize reproductive rights were Roe v. Wade to be overturned (thus nullifying the right for a woman to choose abortion as a legal alternative to birth).
The first facet of this case is the most important and pressing. According to RH Reality Check, the HHS recently issued a proposal "to redefine many forms of contraception, the birth control 40% of Americans use, as abortion." This is based on the HHS's decision to toss out accepted medical opinions and instead assume pregnancy happens at "a biologically unknowable moment." As a person who might be called a scientist some day, I can say their reasoning is so muddled and full of polling data that it doesn't really stand up to even a brisk assessment. Check out the full article for a very detailed explanation.

Image courtesy of Violet Blue (I thought it was clever)

Even if the Bush administration's reasoning doesn't make any sense, the implications are quite powerful. Contraceptives are a fundamental right in our modern society. The ability to control one's own reproductive choices and still be able to engage in a full and healthy family life are tied to that pesky "pursuit of happiness" clause. It's also arguable that since this decision is based on public opinion and religion instead of science, those rights are being undermined by the government imposing the beliefs of others on free citizens. There are certainly exceptions to every rule, but I don't want to live in a country where religion trumps biology and humanity.

The second facet I listed is more of my own design, but it seems like a possible future. The right for a woman to have an abortion is largely protected by a single, tenuous Supreme Court ruling about privacy. If enough of the right Justices retired or passed away, so too would the current ruling. While the loss of abortion would be tremendous, imagine if contraceptives were sufficiently tied to that Evangelical windfall. I'm not saying it would happen, but I think I would feel more comfortable if there were a firewall between the two.

I am certainly not an expert of any kind and I might have even gotten some of the HHS's reasoning wrong. Bush's message to the rest of us is clear, though: reproductive rights are un-American.

[Image and Story via Open Source Sex]

1 comment:

  1. Thank you very much for writing this; this is something everyone should be angry about (even the 49% who apparently believe life begins when two cells fuse - what a huge number of people!). This is an outrageous and, more surprisingly, blatantly sexist move. A pill that keeps eggs from being released is abortion, but a condom that keeps sperm already released from nearing an egg is fine? Ridiculous.


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