Saturday, March 28, 2009

Womb Wranglers

US President Obama's pro-choice support is being attacked by the Roman Catholic Church and ultra-Right activists. These 'womb wranglers' are concerned about contraception and / or terminated pregnancy: they claim to be supporting a right-to-life.

It is sufficiently clear that almost nobody in the pro-choice population is truly "supportive" of abortion: most deplore & deeply regret the practice. The opposite camp nonetheless demonizes their opponents as killers.

Many might simply wish to avoid the topic. But taking a stand can become urgent. The Roman Catholic Church, for example, has been rigid, dogmatic and punishing. In a recent case. "A nine-year-old Brazilian girl was raped by her stepfather and pregnant with twins. The doctors judged that the small and undeveloped body of the girl did not have the ability to carry the one child let alone two and thus decided to perform an abortion. The nine-year-olds’ mother gave her consent to the procedure, which was made the 4th of March 2009. The Archbishop Jose Cardoso Sobrinho decided to excommunicate the mother and the doctors the 6th of March. Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, said that the twins the girl was carrying had the right to live: "It is a sad case but the real problem is that the twins conceived were two innocent persons, who had the right to live and could not be eliminated. Life must always be protected...""

A parallel band of zealots were responsible for the Bush administration allowing doctors and health professionals to choose to refuse treatment to people whose opinions or lifestyles they disagree with. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt claimed it was the "right of a physician to practice medicine according to his or her moral compass" -- but is it proper to refuse access to health care or medicines? I think it is wrong that licensed professionals (enjoying a protected profession with high barriers-to-entry and enforced scarcity) can thus withhold treatment. Their vision of right-to-life thus only applies to those who agree with them (or to the angelically pure preborn) but for others: "fuck 'em - let them die."