Mississippi is poised to become the only state with no abortion clinic, if the latest effort to curb reproductive rights in that state succeeds. That latest effort would be the newly passed law requiring physicians associated with abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals, which is set to go into effect July 1. This regulation will join the laws requiring waiting periods, multiple visits, parental consent and a long list of other measures designed to limit a woman’s right to choose an abortion.
None of these laws have anything to do with protecting women. They have to do with politics, power and the infliction of one person’s belief (Life begins at conception? A fetus’ rights trump those of the woman in whose body it resides?) upon another. The informed consent provision, whereby a woman must know and understand her decision to have an abortion, is law across the U.S. It is rational and right.
But those — predominately white males — who presume to know better than women with unwanted pregnancies, are slowly wiping out reproductive rights: restriction by restriction, state by state, law by law. A lot of them presume not only to know best, but to speak for God. Prof. Matt Friedeman for instance, who spends his days (at least one per week of them) harassing women entering the Jackson Women’s Health Organization abortion facility for reasons only those women understand, tells them, “the Lord wants you to love that baby.” Friedeman knows this? In all the conversations with God I have had, and I am a believer in personal prayer, She has never suggested to me that Matt Friedeman is Her spokesman.
All else aside, in the battle for women’s wombs, here is who loses: the poor woman, the powerless, the disenfranchised, the overburdened. If you’ve got money and resources in Mississippi, or anywhere else, and you’re faced with an unintended pregnancy, you go somewhere else and have a safe abortion. If you don’t, you risk potential tragedy trying to self-abort, or you simply bring one more unwanted child into the world.
What an infinitely better world it would be if those who presume to know women’s bodies better than women themselves would focus their considerable time and energies instead on improving the lives of the already-born.