Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Pamela Merritt isn't being honest about Missouri's legislation to prevent coerced abortions

Pamela Merritt has an intentionally deceptive scenario which she claims Missouri bills attempting to prevent coerced abortions could prevent a woman from obtaining an abortion (my emphasis).
Consider a woman who is pregnant as the result of rape who, with her doctor, decides that an abortion is the best course of action. Imagine that rape survivor also mentions to her doctor that her boyfriend agrees with her decision, but has been aggressive with her about it. With HB46, now the doctor must turn the situation over to the government which mandates that the doctor label that rape survivor a "victim of coerced abortion" who "lacks the consent required by law."

Except that the bills specifically define the crime of coercion by saying:
1. A person commits the crime of coercing an abortion if the person knowingly coerces a woman to seek or obtain an abortion by:

(1) Committing, attempting to commit, or conspiring to commit:

(a) An offense defined by any other statute of this state against the woman or her family or household member;

(b) Assault as defined in section 565.050, 565.060, or 565.070;

(c) Domestic assault as defined in section 565.072, 565.073, or 565.074; or

(d) Stalking or aggravated stalking as defined in section 565.225;

(2) Forcibly or without her knowledge administering to or causing the woman to ingest any poison, drug, or other substance intended to cause an abortion, or attempting or threatening to do so;

(3) Discharging, attempting to discharge, or threatening to discharge the female employee; or changing, attempting to change, or threatening to change her compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment; or

(4) Revoking, attempting to revoke, or threatening to revoke a scholarship awarded to the woman by a public or private institution of higher education.
To me committing assault is a little more than "being aggressive."

Merritt's scenario also falsely claims the abortionist "must turn the situation over to the government" because the woman in her scenario "lacks the consent required by law" according to the legislation. Except the legislation (at the very end) also describes when an abortionist would have to believe a "woman lacks the consent required by law" (my emphasis).
"Under the provisions of chapter 188, RSMo, or any other provision of law requiring that a woman give her consent freely and without coercion prior to an abortion, whenever a physician knows that the predominant reason the woman is seeking or obtaining an abortion is that the woman is a victim of coerced abortion, the physician shall certify that the woman lacks the consent required by law."
It seems quite clear from Merritt's scenario that the predominant reason for the abortion wouldn't be coercion.

So the real question is: Why does Pamela Merritt feel the need to create scenarios which clearly wouldn't be applicable under this legislation and then claim they would?

Maybe because she has trouble coming up with good arguments to be opposed to this legislation.

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