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Baby Death Panels

Posted by Rob Mania on

All the discussion about overturning Roe V. Wade has taken place without the pro-birth side really giving an answer for what a woman should do when she wants to terminate a pregnancy, but can’t do it legally. Presumably, she would just…not? Would she go to jail for murder if she tried to find one anyway? Would this, in turn, give rise to an underground railroad of pregnant women from pro-birth to pro-choice states? They don’t have an answer. There’s a difference between having a personal belief system, and putting the force of law behind that system.

In the pro-choice/pro-birth debate, I believe that the pro-birth side is arguing in bad faith, and here’s why: We can have all the lofty philosophical debates we want about when life starts, or why a human fetus deserves protection but we’ll drop a lobster into boiling water alive and eat it. But inevitably, someone brings up the question, if you/your daughter/your mother are raped, or there is a major health risk, do you think the woman should be allowed to get an abortion? In trying to pretend that they have some compassion, the pro-birth person will usually agree to this exception.

Now, I want to be clear: My belief system is completely consistent: It’s not my business, it’s not my body. Their belief system has all these exceptions and special pleading. And I want to take a moment to move beyond chin stroking and lofty declarations, and imagine what would happen if the rubber met the road and we had to make abortion illegal—except in certain cases.

We have reached a point in our medical technology that terminating a pregnancy is as safe or perhaps even safer than giving birth. Most people don’t even realize that most abortions are done by taking a pill rather than using a medical device. So, let’s assume that if a doctor has not performed an abortion in a long time, there will be no drop off in skill level. We can also assume that the tools or pills needed can be accessed quickly and easily by a select few, and not at all by the rest of us. The only thing, in this hypothetical situation, keeping a woman from a safe abortion is permission from the government.

How, then, will we determine that a pregnant woman is a candidate for a legal abortion? The only way to do it, if you follow the conservative logic to its natural conclusion, is a baby death panel.

It will be the burden of the woman (or young girl)—who has either been very recently raped, or is dying at that exact minute—to set up an appointment, wait for the panel to convene at typical business hours, and then plead her case that she should not be forced to die or go to jail so that she can abort her baby. I want you to imagine this, and I want you to focus not on the picture in your head of the judges sitting twenty feet above a confused female standing in a harsh 6500K light, but to imagine how desperate that person will feel when she needs to schedule her baby death panel on a federal holiday like Columbus Day.

This is the world conservatives want. They couldn’t handle it if they got it, but they don’t need to. They need the illusion that they are somehow the victim or an oppressed minority when they are told that their right to swing their religious “beliefs” ends at my nose. They don’t need to think things through as long as they aren’t in power. But I urge you, with this and any belief, to think about what would happen if everyone was forced, by law, to follow yours.

Other commentaries by Rob Mania:

The Adults in the Room have Been Sent to the Cornfield
John McCain: A Republican for the 20th Century
Trump’s Perfect Lie
Who is to Blame for our Cruel Immigration Policy?
Sean Hannity Did Not Borrow Your Dishes! (Also, They Were Broken When He Took Them)
Calling Bullshit (on my own side)
Why Is there no MPAA for the NRA? 

Robert has followed business technology for nearly ten years, and consumer tech for many before that. He has done extensive work for growing small businesses, shaping the voice that others will follow. Rob Mania has been waiting by the door for opportunity to knock, killing time by playing video games. So far it has not.



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