Monday, May 08, 2006

ACLU of Michigan is against a measure to prevent abortion coercion

Kary Moss, executive director of the ACLU of Michigan, has an editorial in the Detroit Free Press today in which she attacks bills in Michigan which are designed to make it illegal to coerce a woman into getting an abortion. The Coercive Abortion Prevention Act is a set of five bills (H.B. 5879-5883 and S.B. 1177-1181) which you can read by visiting the web site of the Michigan Legislature. The main bill, H.B. 5882, outlines methods of coercion and punishments for certain actions taken to coerce a pregnant woman into abortion. Read the bill and the others and try to explain to me how someone who is supposedly "pro-choice" could be so against these bills.

Some excerpts from Ms. Moss:
Supporters of this legislation laud this effort as a step to protect women who are victims of domestic violence. In reality, this bill is part of a larger agenda to deny women access to the full range of reproductive health services that they really need.

It would be nice if Moss could cite one health service which these bills would deny. She doesn't because the bills don't deny any health service including abortion. If a woman says she's being coerced into abortion, then she has to wait 24 hours.
Let's be clear: No one should be coerced into having an abortion or having a baby. However, if the Legislature really cared about protecting pregnant women, lawmakers would put more effort and money into ensuring that women have the resources they need to avoid unintended pregnancies and that those who are victims of abuse can get meaningful help.

Can anyone spell false dilemma? No one should be coerced into an abortion but I'm against a law making coercing someone into abortion illegal because lawmakers need to put more public funds into family planning? Thanks Kary, but that's complete nonsense. It's like saying, "I'm against a law to make wife-beating illegal because the state legislature hasn't put enough money into pre-marital counseling and conflict resolution seminars." Preventing unplanned pregnancies does nothing to prevent a boyfriend, husband, or parent from coercing a pregnant woman into an abortion. Passing out free condoms doesn't prevent a man from threatening to kick his girlfriend to the curb if she doesn't abort.

Plus, how is it not "meaningful help" to women who are being coerced to make it illegal to coerce women into abortion? Is it not "meaningful help" to women who are being beaten to have laws that make it illegal to beat women?

Kary then goes on to say that Michigan fares poorly in both contraception and helping victims of abuse. She lists the Alan Guttmacher Institute as contraception source, highly praises the AGI and doesn't mention the Planned Parenthood connection. She also only lists Michigan 48th ranking in law and policies and glosses over our 24th ranking in service and availability and 26th ranking in public funding.
If the Legislature wants to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies in Michigan, it should work to ensure access to birth control and medically accurate sex education.

Is it me or is the pro-choice movement starting to sound like a broken record to anyone else?

Prolifers: We should stop using tax-dollars to pay for abortions.
Pro-choicers: We should ensure access to birth control and sex education.
Prolifers: Teens should receive a parent's consent before having an abortion.
Pro-choicers: We should ensure access to birth control and sex education.
Prolifers: We should make it illegal to coerce a woman into abortion.
Pro-choicers: We should ensure access to birth control and sex education......
The bottom line is that the Legislature should stay out of private health care decisions. These bills do nothing to protect pregnant women.

But you see the problem is that if a woman is being coerced into abortion then she isn't making a private health decision. She's being coerced into a procedure she doesn't want by others. These bills do help protect pregnant women but Moss seems so blinded by her advocacy for abortion that any bill which deals with abortion is an anti-choice effort to undermine abortion.

The saddest thing about this editorial is it makes Moss come off as someone who cares more about making sure women have abortions than making sure women aren't coerced into abortion. Abortion needs to be defended, not the women who are being coerced into them. Instead of standing with pregnant women in crisis, the ACLU of Michigan has decided to stand with the abusive boyfriend, coercive parents and abortion providers.

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