The post below was my comment to the petition to repeal Amendment 1 (with some adjustments for this blog post). Amendment 1 is the recent addition to the Tennessee Constitution that allows legislators to insert whatever laws they can get passed into women in Tennessee's lives and uteri.
If you'd like to sign the petition, please go here: Bill Haslam: Repeal Amendment One.
Women are intelligent beings. We are capable of making medical decisions that affect our lives. The decision to terminate a pregnancy should only be affected by the woman seeking the termination and the doctor performing it, and if the woman is married or with the father, perhaps her mate. No one should be forced to carry a fetus to term if that isn't what is best for their life.
Women are human beings. In this day and age, balls of cells are given more rights than a living, breathing, functioning, working person. Nowadays, deceased bodies have more rights than a pregnant woman. If a person has not signed the organ donor card, his/her organs may not be removed from his/her body, but legislators and politicians (people without medical degrees or with medical degrees but no longer practicing medicine because they are politicians) have no right to tell a woman what she can/cannot do with her body when no one--doctor, legislator or otherwise--can dictate what can/cannot happen with a dead body.
Women sometimes seek terminations. Terminations have existed as long as pregnancies have existed. There will never be a world in which terminations don't exist unless in that world, pregnancies also cease to exist. Banning terminations only increases the likelihood that women will die seeking terminations. Roe v. Wade did not create the world of abortions; it created the world in which women no longer had to rely on self-abortions via wire hangers, had to drive to Mexico or fly to another country if you could afford it, had to rely on illegal doctors in questionable and/or unsavory locations. When safe, legal terminations are inaccessible, women turn to knitting needles, questionable drug mixtures, throwing themselves down stairs, paying people to beat them in the stomach, clinics like those run by Kermit Gosnell, etc. THAT is NOT a world I want to return to.
Women seek medical treatment wherever they deem necessary. And if the concern is that women come from other states to seek terminations here in TN, I suppose we should just close Tennessee's borders to all people seeking medical treatment so that only Tennesseans benefit from hospitals such as St. Jude, Erlanger, Vanderbilt, LeBonheur and the other hospitals in this state that do amazing work. And by that same token, I suppose Tennesseans should no longer have access to world class hospitals, such as Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, etc. because they aren't in TN. This line of thinking that Tennessee medical care is only for Tennesseans is cruel and illogical.
Women are intelligent human beings who live in Tennessee in 2014. The passage of Amendment 1 makes me feel as if we've gone back to an era when women had to seek permission from her husband or father just to see a doctor and then seek permission from the husband/father and doctor before receiving treatment. And then the husband/father and doctor would meet in secret to determine what was the best course for the woman. Women are NOT children. Functioning, productive, intelligent women do not need to be protected from ourselves. We do not need to be shielded, and we don't need to be gaslighted into making decisions that are counterproductive to OUR lives.
Terminations are not ended by banning them. Terminations will never end as long as pregnancies exist because there will ALWAYS be some situation (rape, incest, poor health, domestic abuse, being poor, etc.) wherein it is a much better option for everyone involved that the fetus never grows beyond a ball of cells. Our society is not perfect to the point that every fetus that is conceived was done so in love and will grow up in a loving home and family.
The "great" Republican himself Ronald Reagan signed abortion legislation into CA law (The Therapeutic Abortion Act in 1967) because there were far too many women dying seeking abortions. The Volstead Act was repealed because prohibiting alcohol increased crime, murder, and the growth of crime families. I suppose it will take an increase in women dying from seeking abortions for people to care enough to realize that prohibiting it will not make it go away.
Terminations won't go away. They can only be reduced and mitigated with comprehensive sexual education, access to contraception, and access to safe and legal terminations.
Please repeal Amendment One.