Memo to Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock: Rape is a crime.
It is not God's will. Anyone with common sense knows that.
What still concerns me more are the comments last week by Congressman Joe Walsh, who said that abortions never save women's lives. People who don't have the decades of experience that I do -- heading a women's reproductive rights clinic -- might just believe him.
Here's one story out of many:
This happened in 1989. Very publicly.
Nancy Klein, a pregnant Long Island woman rendered comatose by a car accident, was finally given an abortion, woke up, and once again was able to recognize her husband Martin and her daughter Arielle, 4.
I, along with another abortion rights activist, Bill Baird, joined forces with Nancy Klein's husband to make this happen.
Klein's husband wanted her to have an abortion because, based on medical advice, he firmly believed that continuing the pregnancy would kill her. The people I call the "antis" (they are not pro anything except controlling women's bodies) took Martin Klein to three courts and the state Supreme Court to stop the abortion by fighting his petition for guardianship of his wife.
I can still see the pain in this accountant-husband's eyes as he fought for his wife's life against strangers who placed themselves as "guardian at litem" for the fetus.
So here we are in 2012, and people like Joe Walsh are still spewing dangerous misinformation about women's bodies. If Mitt Romney is elected, it won't be 1989 in this country. It will be 1971, before Roe v. Wade made abortion legal nationally. It will be very much like the year I opened one of the first abortion clinics in the country, in Queens, N.Y. -- a state ahead of the curve in reproductive rights. The first patient who came to Choices, my clinic, came from New Jersey because abortion was illegal in that state. If Mitt Romney gets his Personhood Amendment passed, abortion will be illegal in every state.
Women are not cats. They do not have nine lives. And the one life a woman does have could very easily be lost if she does not have an abortion when she needs one. Cancer, severe renal and heart disease, and severe diabetes are all pre-pregnancy conditions that can threaten a woman's life, requiring her to have an abortion if she becomes pregnant. Now, that decision is a hard choice. Under President Romney, there would be no choice.
Since the nuance of medical literature is clearly beyond Walsh and his ilk, I'll describe another situation in which, indeed, women do die when abortion is unavailable to them.
Even with the "modern technology" to which Walsh alludes.
Ectopic pregnancy is a complicated condition in which the embryo implants outside the uterus. With rare exceptions, ectopic pregnancies are not viable. They are also very dangerous for a woman, since internal hemorrhaging, a life-threatening complication, can occur. Ectopic pregnancy is a potential medical emergency and, if not treated properly, can lead to death.
I hope these facts help women see the truth. I saw it October 20 -- when anti-choice religious fanatics were outside my clinic bullying, harassing and intimidating patients on their way inside. It felt like 1971 all over again to me.
So remember your family values, Walsh, Todd Akin -- and now Mourdock -- and friends: The life and health of women is the fulcrum around which the family and society turn. A woman's life is a human life and one that must be honored. A woman's choice is hers alone and one that must be protected.
See this article and more at On The Issues Magazine.
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