Allow me comment briefly on the Ohio “heartbeat” bill, anti-abortion legislation.
First, I would like to note that opposing abortion seems to have become a requisite for would-be Republican representatives. There comes a point when moral correctness must be ascertained and the test is opposition to abortion. This anti-abortion statement has been effective in areas where intolerance to everything, including “classical” music, is widespread.
I hope no Republican political candidate ever has to approve the Ohio “heartbeat” test.
The Ohio “heartbeat” bill
For instance, the Ohio ‘heartbeat’ bill (Wikipedia) seems a disguised anti-abortion bill. If a heartbeat can be detected at six or seven weeks during a pregnancy, it may be detected at nearly the same time a woman learns that she is pregnant or very soon thereafter. It may therefore preclude an abortion on any grounds. At such an early stage in a pregnancy it may be difficult to determine that a woman is fit to carry a baby and give birth. It may also be difficult to determine the condition of the fetus. In fact, at that stage in pregnancy, a woman may not have had the time to see a doctor. The bill is therefore unrealistic.
But, let us first clear the deck. The author of this post has never had an abortion and would not encourage a woman to undergo an abortion unless circumstances dictated such a procedure. For the record, the author’s mother lost a large number of babies to a congenital blood disease. These babies were born after a normal pregnancy, but died a few days or a few weeks after birth. The author’s mother was forbidden the use of contraceptives under pain of excommunication. She was a devout Roman Catholic. (See Religion and birth control, Wikipedia.)
Opposing abortion can earn a Republican candidate many votes and has done so. But are we about to coerce women into a pregnancy? Not only is the “heartbeat” bill unrealistic, but it does not accommodate most of the conditions that justify or dictate an abortion. Many factors militate against a pregnancy. Age is a factor. A woman may be too old or she may still be a child. Moreover, if at the time of conception the woman was medicated, that medication may have seriously jeopardized the health of the fetus. There are pregnancies that must be terminated, which most politicians know little about.
If the “heartbeat” bill is voted into law and a pregnancy proves inadvisable, a doctor may no longer be able to intervene, in which case a woman would have no recourse. Despair may lead her to commit suicide. If a desperate woman commits suicide, I should think she was not fit to be pregnant to begin with and two lives would be lost. Having no safe medical recourse may also lead women to seek the services of backstreet abortionists who do not know what they are doing and may cause irreparable harm. Moreover, in the case of a life-threatening pregnancy, a woman could die and a pregnancy would have caused her death.
Genocidal Rape & Human Rights
We should perhaps look at genocidal rape. This discussion began primarily as a result of the Armenian Genocide. Several studies conducted following massive genocidal rape have led to the recognition that forced pregnancies are “crimes against humanity if part of a widespread or systematic practice.” (See Forced pregnancy, Wikipedia.)
“Rape, sexual slavery, and related actions including forced pregnancy and sexual slavery, are now recognized under the Geneva Convention as crimes against humanity and war crimes; in particular from 1949, Article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and later also the 1977 Additional Protocols to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, explicitly prohibit wartime rape and enforced prostitution. The Rome Statute Explanatory Memorandum, which defines the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court, recognises rape, sexual slavery, forced prostitution, and forced pregnancy as crimes against humanity if part of a widespread or systematic practice.” (See Forced pregnancy, Wikipedia.)
In the case of the Ohio “heartbeat” bill, forced pregnancies would not be “part of a widespread or systematic practice,” but forced pregnancies would remain forced pregnancies. Several years ago, an eminent professor of psychiatry and the author of several books told me that most women never recover from rape. If such is the case, can we expect rape victims to recover from the forced pregnancy that ensues.
It would be my opinion that, in the area of sexuality, coercion is particularly unacceptable. For all practical purposes, the Ohio heartbeat bill is an anti-abortion bill and, as such, coercive. No condition would warrant an abortion. A woman would therefore be subjected to a forced pregnancy and that forced pregnancy may harm and perhaps destroy her.
We do not know precisely when life begins, but we do know that the “heartbeat” of a pregnant woman, or female child, is detectable, that her brain is fully developed, and that she is conscious.
Ironically, people who oppose abortion are also advocates of the death penalty and may have no respect for the environment. There seems to be a profile to these individuals. For one thing, they would be punitive but they also sorely lack any form of compassion.
I doubt very much that respect for life guided Ohio lawmakers. The welfare of women was not taken into consideration, which is disrespect for the life of a woman. In an earlier post, I wrote that we could not let women suffer and die because of a pregnancy. Savita Halappanavar had the right to live.
In Ireland abortion is banned upon implantation. Savita Halappanavar was denied an abortion while the hospital could still detect a heartbeat, leading to her eventual death. (Fetal hearbeat bill, Wikipedia.)
Love to everyone ♥
Don McLean sings Vincent
© Micheline Walker
10 December 2016