When I first worked in an abortion clinic a quarter century ago the conventional wisdom was that a 'fetus' was not 'human' and that "life' did not occur until 3 to 6 months later. The idea was that in removing a 'fetus' one was really simply taking out a 'growth' or a 'tumor'. At that time I was screening pregnant women and making the referrals for abortion even before I later did abortions.
At that time I was probably considered 'pro choice' and there was clearly some sad but few cases in terms of maternal care and unavailability of contraception. That was a quarter century ago.
Since then ultrasound and other advanced technologies have indicated that life is present at a much earlier stage. Morning after abortion pills and contraceptive advances have been astounding, providing all manner of scientific information. There is even a resurgence of abstinence as a contraceptive approach, something as strange as yoga or vegetarianism was when I was a young doctor. As important sexual behaviour has been influenced by a whole range of sexually transmitted diseases previously unheard of. Along side this is a pornography industry geared to both men and women with some of the greatest stake holders being todays business women.
Politics commonly lags far behind scientific advances and businesses are simpy entrenched in what is most lucrative. I was doing 'street medicine' and volunteering my services in those old days whereas today abortion is truly Big Business and highly lucrative. Canadians who went across the US border were routinely 'scalped' by the 'curettage cowboys' keen on making a fast buck. Here abortions are scheduled and run like a factory compared to all the messiness of obstetrical practices.
Then abortion clinics advised patients to avoid obtaining ultrasound. This was because once people had ultrasound which amounted to truly 'informed consent' the benchmark of standard medical practice and truly transparent clinical delivery, the business clinics found that many who had ultrasounds decided against 'abortion'. Patients still go on to have abortions fully informed and as increasingly evidence showed that those who had abortions had subsequent psychiatric problems with increased depression risks, this transparency may well change that. In surgical practices, being informed for loss was found to improve post operative results. Hence no surgeon today would consider an amputation without fully advising the patient of the procedure and likely pros and cons of outcome using the latest media to assist in this informational session..
So here was where abortion shifted from science to politics and business. The book "Aborting America' certainly raised all manner of concerns. The scientific work of Dr. Philip Ney and colleagues further raised concerns about the ultimate 'costs' of abortion societies.
Now in British Columbia doctors are advised not to tell parents of the gender of the child for fear that women will abort the female fetuses. China is accused of using abortion to indeed build one of the largest male armies in the world. The anti feminist campaign there is said to start in the womb.
In Canada it turned out for radical feminists that when boy babies were aborted it was okay but when parents were preferentially aborting female babies that was not part of the grand plan. Subsequently all parents are denied the information that could help them make and 'informed choice." In this case 'pro choice' becomes decided 'anti choice' and 'discriminatory'.
Why all parents should be penalized and not allowed to know the gender of their child because a minority of individuals are using abortion for what radical feminists call 'frivolous' reasons is uncertain. Apparently pro life folk long ago contended that many of the 'reasons' supported by pro choice folk for 'abortion' were often 'frivolous' and 'uninformed'.
At this same time as Rush Limbaugh is roundly condemned for questioning why he should pay for others contraception when a girl wants her contraception paid for by the health care program at a religious school. Obama even steps into this providing a shoulder for the poor girl, a law student, to cry on. We have long come to expect drama from Russ Limbaugh but this bit with Obama harkens back to the medieval religio political plays done for the masses of the day. The jokesters meanwhile have a hayday making fun of the need for Post Clinton Democrats to support the broadest appeal for abortion and contraception. In the end it seems that abortion is something that non abortion folk will be encouraged, if not forced, to collectively pay for so long as only boy babies are aborted perhaps.
Politically there is a desire with the advances in scientific knowledge, the evidence of 25 years of practice, the pros and cons of that process, the ready available, even publicly funded contraception choices and now abortion to review this whole subject again. Politicians, judges and lawyers all either tremble or salivate at the thought whereas science plods on. By the time the politicians catch up science may well be working on immaculate conception much to the terror of religious groups. Only last year a transexual man had a child and extra uterine conception and delivery isn't the thing of science fiction. Bio ethicists are meanwhile doing push ups mentally with the idea that life may be as close as thought even as scientists have developped the first trans-matter delivery systems physically confirming.
It reminds me of the great joke where scientists inform God that they are now ready to make a human, and just as they pick up some dirt to complete their experiment, God says , get your own dirt.
The critical factor of public funding in these economically challenged times is not whether funding something is good, it's always good to spend somebody else's money on any good cause. The trouble is that if we fund one thing another doesn't get funded.
Radical feminists argued 'my body my own' and that might have been true but the courts held that men who believed women were using contraception but lied were still accountable for child support. As a male, I am biased. I simply don't agree that I am excluded from all discussions relevant to the future generations of society especially when radical feminists want only boy babies to be aborted.
Finally when did a 'tumor' or a 'mass of tissue' become a 'gender' Gender is implication of life and humanity so denying parents the right to know the 'gender' of their children is a somewhat draconian measure of a group claiming 'pro -choice' while denying just that. Knowing the gender of children, for those who are having children, can help them in planning the future of their children, those that live of course.
Pro Life has to date been more scientific and indeed increasing supportive of all 'rights' in the community, not just those of a privileged few.
That said, there is a real need for ongoing support of children whose parents are not traditionally motivated towards parenting. The courts have had an abysmally costly and punitive record regarding children suggesting that if we collectively took the billions of dollars that have historically funded 'court fights' and put that 'war chest' money into the 'peaceful' raising of children supporting primary care givers especially in formative years the whole issue of 'abortion' might well itself be viewed differently.
In the area today there are many questions of bio ethics, and much of today's debate simply couldn't have occurred 25 years ago because the knowledge wasn't there. Despite the abortion lobby being happy with the present lucrative business deal it seems reasonable for society at large to consider that review may well be indicated.