I watched 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days again yesterday… it reminded me of why legalized abortion is important.

Yesterday’s reposts made me want to watch a Romanian movie I’ve seen a couple of times already. I have discovered that Romania has put out some truly excellent films, even though I have to watch them with subtitles. But I’ve seen several now, and have even purchased a few for my library. The first time I had ever seen the film I saw yesterday, entitled 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, it was a random Netflix DVD I rented some years ago. The first time I saw it, I was astonished by the movie, which was made in 2007.

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days is set in an unnamed university town in Romania during the year 1987. Communism is still alive and well in Eastern Europe. Nicolae Ceaușescu is the president of the country, and rules it with an iron fist. In 1987 era Romania, Ceaușescu has forbidden abortions in almost every case. Contraception is also forbidden, and women are forced to visit gynecologists regularly to check for pregnancies. Viewers hear that rule referred to as Otilia talks about when she had her last period. However, even though abortion is punishable by years in a prison cell, women still access it by way of enlisting the services of illegal abortionists. Otherwise, they may find themselves raising children they can’t afford. In the 1990s, Romania was notorious for the number of babies it had in orphanages. Many of those babies grew up to be unable to assimilate in society because they were never properly socialized or cared for when they were infants. And some were born with diseases like AIDS. Women in Ceausescu’s era were expected to have children– at times, up to four or five of them– so that Ceausescu’s regime would always be supplied with fresh souls. It didn’t matter that there wasn’t enough available to support all of those babies being born into his regime.

A trailer for Four Months, Three Weeks, and Two Days…

Gabita (Laura Vasiliu) and Otilia (Anamaria Marinca) are roommates at the university in the unnamed Romanian town. They share a drab dormitory room on a co-ed hall. Gabita is pregnant. She’s shy, and seems to need looking after by Otilia, who seems to be more of a motherly type. Otilia takes care of her roommate, buying her soap and cigarettes from the campus shop, and bringing milk powder to a friend who has found kittens in the dorm’s boiler room. She’d like to take one, but Gabita is allergic to cats.

Gabita complains about a toothache, while Otilia tells her she’ll survive until after Saturday, when they’ve done the deed. The abortionist, a man named Viorel Bede (Vlad Ivanov) has given explicit instructions to Gabita on booking a room at one of two hotels in town. He has also told her what to bring with her. However, Gabita fails to get a room in the right hotel. Otilia ends up booking a much more expensive room at a different hotel. She deals with the unfriendly receptionist at Bede’s preferred hotel, who tells her the rooms are completely booked. Otilia also meets Bede, in Gabita’s stead, which makes him very nervous as he explains that if the authorities ever find out what they are doing, all three of them will go to prison.

At the hotel– the one Bede didn’t prefer– they’ve all left their identification with the front desk. They are told to leave the room key when they go out. The decor is strictly 1987, complete with primitive looking rotary dial phones. I had one in my first Armenian apartment that looked just like the one used in this film. Bede examines Gabita, realizing that she’s much further along in her pregnancy than she had told him. He explains that he will have to do a different procedure that will cost more. Since the women don’t have enough money to pay Bede, he says both women must have sex with him to make up the difference. When they balk at that idea, Bede reminds them that he’s not the one who needs help.

Otilia goes first, and we see her come into the bathroom afterwards, naked from the waist down as she climbs into the bathtub, looking wan and sick as she hoses herself off. Gabita has neglected to bring the plastic sheet Bede told her to bring, so she must cut a plastic bag and use it to protect the bed as Bede performs the abortion. After he’s finished, Bede gives Gabita instructions. He tells her to be very careful of infection, and if one should develop and she needs to see a doctor, not to deny having been pregnant. Lying about the pregnancy is a surefire way to land in prison, while claiming she didn’t know may result in the authorities looking the other way.

While Gabita waits, lying perfectly still and waiting for the fetus to die, Otilia visits her boyfriend and his family, who are having a party. Otilia is not in a good mood and doesn’t want to visit her boyfriend or hang out with his family. She’s just been through something horrific. But she can’t tell him about it. After staying just long enough to be polite, Otilia leaves. Her boyfriend is confused and upset when Otilia goes, but Otilia must get back to her friend. She’s a motherly sort, and concerned that Gabita needs her.

When Otilia arrives at the hotel, Gabita is covered up, sound asleep in bed. Otilia wakes her and Gabita says she got “rid” of it. Otilia finds the tiny, bloody, fetus lying on the bathroom floor. I will warn that this is not an easy scene to watch, and it lasts about fifteen seconds. Otilia is horrified by the sight of the dead fetus, but Gabita just seems relieved that the abortion is over. Gabita still asks her friend to bury the fetus for her, and Otilia obliges. She comes back to find Gabita in the restaurant, “starving”. There’s a wedding going on, so the food in the restaurant is what was being served at the wedding. Otilia is completely sickened by what she and her friend have been through… and Gabita, who had been the one to have the abortion, just seems numb.

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days is an interesting film for so many reasons. First off, it’s set in a time that wasn’t that long ago, but seems like it was ages ago. I was fifteen years old in 1987, and at that time, it seemed like communism would go on forever. Ceausescu was still very much in charge of Romania, and the threat of prison for abortion was very real. No one could know that in just two years, the Ceausescu regime would suddenly fall with the bang of the guns used to execute both Ceausescu and his wife, Elena.

Although this film is set in 1987, it’s still a useful subject for the present time. Today, in 2021, there are still people trying to stop women from having abortions. Governor Greg Abbott, of Texas, just signed a “heartbeat law”, which bans abortion for any woman who is more than six weeks along in her pregnancy. I find it interesting that a man who presides over a state that is very proud of its record on executing people on death row is claiming that Texas is a “pro-life” state. I also find it interesting that when a fetus is in utero, a heartbeat is a signal of life, whereas in people who have been born already, it takes brainwaves to prove life. But I digress. Texas’s new law allows private citizens to sue abortion providers who offer services to anyone more than six weeks pregnant, in which the fetus has a detectable heartbeat. The person suing would not have to have a connection to the person who had an abortion to sue.

There was a time in the United States when women who wanted to have an abortion had to sneak around and find someone like Bede to do the job. There’s no telling how many of those women were also coerced into providing sexual favors, too. I think about all of the heartbreaking situations a pregnant person might find themselves in that would make them want to seek to terminate a pregnancy. I think of how many of those situations are simply no one else’s business at all… actually, I would say that 100% of those situations are no one else’s business. But we still have so many politicians– many of them men, who will never have to deal with the consequences of an unintended pregnancy– trying to push these laws that will victimize women and endanger their health. And so many of these same politicians don’t want to do a damned thing for those babies, once they’ve been born.

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days is not an easy film to watch. It’s entirely in Romanian, so you have to pay attention to the film if you don’t know the language. The setting is bleak; there is no musical score; and the subject matter is depressing. However, I think it’s a very powerful film. Regardless of what I think of abortion on a personal level, I believe that people who want them will be determined to get them. They will put themselves at great risk and contribute to criminal behavior. And the babies born that survive botched abortion attempts may end up being a burden to society. Perhaps most importantly, the women who have money will still be able to have safe, legal abortions and will access them. Poor women– the one’s least able to support raising a child– will be the ones who suffer the most under this legislation. They will be the ones who might find themselves in the hellish situation Otilia and Gabita were in, as a man who provides abortions demands sexual favors from them before he does the procedure in less than hygienic and safe surroundings.

A link to the full movie.

I would recommend 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days to anyone who is interested in Romanian cinema. But I would also recommend it to those who need a reminder of why it’s best to let pregnant people make decisions for themselves, whether or not they wish to continue gestating fetuses. But if you do choose to watch this film, be prepared for the heavy emotional message. It’s definitely not a cheerful film, despite its powerful and necessary message. In any case, this story is one that reminds me of why I will always be in favor of contraceptives and legalized abortion.

Incidentally, since abortion and contraception have become legal in Romania, the number of women seeking abortions has gone down exponentially.

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LDS, musings

Getting laid… a continuation.

Today’s post is going to include frank discussion of sex. Proceed with caution.

A few days ago, I wrote a post about a guy named Lafayette who has Asperger’s Syndrome and wants to know how he can get laid. The good folks on the Recovery from Mormonism site offered plenty of tips. Some of it was actually good advice. Because there was such an outpouring of advice for Lafayette, his post was eventually closed and someone opened a new thread offering even more advice. The new thread was lighthearted and joking, so someone was kind enough to let Lafayette know that the first post offering tips was joking in nature.

But then, a woman offered this comment, which I thought was very astute…

Just a thought for Aspie (or not) men who want casual sex: your desire for pleasure is reasonable, but please consider that for women, casual sex comes with a risk of becoming pregnant with a human being that will need to be cared for for the next 18 years, unless she aborts it, and making either of those choices as a single women will be loaded with a metric ton of judgment from society. Even without a pregnancy or abortion, casual sex for a woman is still loaded with a whole lot of baggage. Even more judgment for being a woman who has casual sex, for example. Please take these things into account when you wonder why it isn’t easier to get laid.

I was talking about this with Bill recently. This guy wants to get laid. I’m assuming it’s because he has a physical desire for it. Not being male, I have no idea what that feels like for a man. It must be a very strong drive, though, because it seems like most men are looking for physical affection. A lot of them want it casually, with no strings attached. Some are looking for it from other males, but most want it from females. Females have more to lose when they engage in casual sex. Most of them can get pregnant.

We now live in a society where males are actively trying to take bodily autonomy away from women. Read the news, and you’ll see that in many U.S. states, there are “heartbeat bills“, that would ban abortion for women beyond about six weeks gestation. A lot of women don’t even know that they’re pregnant at that point. Unintended pregnancy can really put a kink in a woman’s plans for her own life. She can have the baby and raise it, give it up for adoption, and at least for now, consider having an abortion. All of those choices are potentially devastating and involve costs– financial and personal– that will affect the woman for the rest of her life. Most men aren’t like my husband. They expect the woman to financially provide for herself. It’s a lot harder to do that with children.

Another thing I didn’t see addressed in the original thread is that for some women, sex is painful. I am one of those unlucky women who needs a lot of lead time before sex doesn’t physically hurt me. Fortunately, Bill is the kind of man who doesn’t mind taking his time warming me up. Not all guys are like Bill. Some of them want what they want when they want it, and they don’t consider that sex hurts sometimes. It might be easy for a guy to be ready to go at a moment’s notice. Maybe it’s like that for most other women, too. But I know that my experiences are not unique. A lot of women experience pain when they have sex. There are a lot of nerve endings down there. And frankly, I am not willing to go through that kind of pain for someone I don’t care about.

There are a lot of reasons why sex hurts for some women. Sometimes, it’s a matter of not being lubricated enough. In that case, a little more foreplay is all that is needed. Generally, that’s what works for me. Some people use commercially prepared lubricant to ease the way. Personally, I don’t care for it– it’s messy, slimy, and gross to me. But other people don’t mind it and use it with great success. I think I also suffer from a touch of vaginismus, which is when the vagina tenses up and spasms before something enters it. I know I had vaginismus when I was younger, and having sex was a nightmare. I can remember tensing up before doing the deed, knowing it was going to hurt. That’s also why I don’t use tampons.

Sometimes a woman has anatomical issues or sexually transmitted infections that make sex painful. In that case, a visit to a physician is the best way to solve the problem. But visits to the doctor cost money and time off work, and they are also potentially embarrassing. Although getting treated is probably the best thing the woman can do for herself, she may not want casual sex with you badly enough to go to the doctor. That’s her call.

I have some empathy for Lafayette. I was glad to see him come back and leave this comment on his original thread:

Top notch! Awesome feedback!

The post-start was a bit rhetorical.

It is not very likely that I will get laid but it makes it all much funnier to discuss.

Once – back in the time – I found a blog post that described how animals that are raised by humans imprint wrong behaviour. Things that will come naturally does not, so they will be lucky to learn to do natural things. I do not know if autism is just like that but it feels similar.

Being raised inside the frames of a cultural theocracy takes it toll on the imprinting.

As a naturally gullible person I must say that life has not always been easy but I should not complain today. Some things really are great!

I’m sure when he mentioned “getting laid”, it probably wouldn’t be the approach he would actually use. Or, at least I hope not. Autism is another one of those life experiences other people have that I can’t relate to at all. I don’t know how it feels. But I also liked this comment:

Announcing that you want to get laid. Jesus! Dude!

If the only thing you want to do is have sex, okay. But “How do I get laid”? I can’t even.

What you wrote translates into “Women exist for the laying of males. No mind or feelings necessary. All I want is a wet vagina.”

Christ! DUDE!

For some of us, achieving a wet vagina, even with someone we love and trust, isn’t all that easy. And if you’re not willing to put in the effort to get the woman there, why should she risk pregnancy, STIs, or heartbreak for you, just so you can satisfy that physical urge? I don’t know what it’s like for a man. But I think a lot of men don’t know and have never considered what it’s like for a woman, either. Too many of them want a woman who will “put out”, but then shame her for being “slutty” or getting pregnant. And too many men are unwilling to do their part to reduce the risk that the woman they’re having sex with won’t be left with any unpleasant lingering aftereffects… not that having a baby is necessarily “unpleasant”, per se. But not every woman wants to be a mother. Not every woman is cut out to be a mother. And quite a lot of women can’t afford to be a mother without help from the other party.

Personally, I wouldn’t want to have sex with someone with whom I couldn’t raise a child, but that’s just me… and fortunately, I’m about done with my childbearing years, anyway. I suspect that in a few years, it won’t matter at all for me anymore. I’m writing this for the younger women out there… and the men who might be willing to consider this perspective. You think of it as a roll in the sack, but for her, it could end up being a lot more than that. So if you really want to “get laid”, please have a little consideration for what that could lead to for the other party, and act accordingly.

Wow… even Cyndi Lauper was a Dr. Ruth fan.

On another note… sometimes I miss Dr. Ruth Westheimer’s cable show. Too bad I was too young for it when it aired on Lifetime.

politicians, rants

By golly, southern white men are so oppressed!

I could write several blog posts today. The news is positively swirling with controversial shit. Let’s see where my fingers take me, shall we?

Speaking of fingers, my injured one is somewhat better today. It’s still kind of stiff and hard to straighten, but the pain is cut by at least half of what it was yesterday. And it’s nowhere near as painful as it was on Tuesday, after I jammed the fuck out of it. So that’s good news.

Although I updated my post about Erin McCarty and her ovarian cancer battle, I want to report that she has, in fact, died. I don’t think that even she was expecting to die so soon. Just hours before she passed the bar, Erin wrote this:

This was posted not even 24 hours before she died… I am stupefied by how she was thinking of others even as death approached.

There are dozens of heartfelt tributes to her on her Facebook page. She was a woman with family members who cherished her as well as a whole lot of loving friends, many of whom she never met in person. I wish I’d had the chance to know her better. She was truly a ray of light to many people and is already missed. Here’s a link to her obituary.

And now… on with “the arts”…

Sometimes, I am just plain dumbfounded by the number of ignorant people who hold public offices, especially in the South. Warren Hurst, who sits on the Sevier County Commission in Tennessee, is definitely someone I would think of as ignorant. A friend of mine shared a Huffington Post article about Mr. Hurst’s recent homophobic, racist outburst in a meeting in Sevierville, Tennessee. The headline was definitely one that invited clicking: “County Official Rants About A ‘Queer’ Running For President, Loss Of White Men’s Rights”. Huh?

Really? What an ignorant man he is.

Warren Hurst, wagging his finger and using unrefined colloquialisms like “by golly”, laments that we have a “queer” running for president and that white men are “losing rights” every day. He thinks liberals are ruining things for bigoted old white guys like him and that if we don’t do something about “them liberals”, things are going to be ruined for his grandchildren. One lady got so irate at Hurst’s vile diatribe that she felt compelled to leave, while most everyone else in the meeting were laughing and applauding Mr. Hurst’s shamefully demeaning comments.

The crowd seemed especially amused when Hurst said, “We got a ‘queer’ runnin’ for president…” I’m assuming Mr. Hurst is referring to Mayor Pete Buttigieg who is gay, but also served honorably in the military and presents a competent, humane face to the presidential candidates who will be challenging Pussy Grabber in chief, Donald Trump.

So let me get this.. er.. “straight”– Hurst is fine with having an incompetent president who cheats on his wives and molests other women, but he’s got issues with a gay man with actual government experience and decent ethics serving as president? And then, after he rants about the “queer” running for president, Hurst complains about liberals “killing babies”? Well, who has fewer abortions than gay men?

And then he rambles about keeping his guns… even though a lot of babies that have already been born are being killed by them. Seems to me that Mr. Hurst cares more about controlling women and non-whites than he does about preserving the quality of human life and maintaining basic dignity for everyone.

Using that charming homespun phrase, “by golly”, once again, Hurst says “I’m not prejudiced, but by golly, a white male in this country has very few rights and they’re getting took more every day…” Personally, I think anyone who holds an elected position should have to pass a grammar test. I’ve also found that anyone who says something like “I’m not prejudiced” is usually lying, although I’m sure Mr. Hurst “has black friends”. I think it’s obvious that Hurst is not only “prejudiced”, he’s a doddering old fool with dangerously xenophobic views. In my opinion, it’s high time he resigned his post, but unfortunately, it looks like many of the people of Sevier County fully support what he says.

Glad to see that not everyone in Sevierville thinks the way Hurst does, even though many people applauded his disgusting comments.
Good for Sara Thompson, the lady who stormed out of that embarrassing display of bigotry. She’s brave and wise.

Living outside of the United States for the past five years has definitely opened my eyes to how we must appear to people from other countries. I grew up among people like Warren Hurst. I’ve heard that kind of talk my whole life. That meeting could have occurred in my hometown… or my parents’ hometowns. The folks who populate “Trumpland” are “down home” people who pride themselves on being good Christians. And yet they don’t seem to embrace the basic tenets of Christ’s message.

Erin McCarty, the lady I wrote about a couple of days ago and mentioned at the beginning of this post, was a devoted Bernie Sanders fan. She was also a committed Christian. And while I didn’t know her as well as I would have liked to, it was plain to me that she exuded Christian love to everyone. She was kind, thoughtful, caring, and accepting, and she had many people in her life who loved her for exactly who she was. By contrast, we have Hurst who laments the “moral decay” promoted by “liberals” who might not be straight, white, or male and want to “take away his guns” while they “kill babies” that will never be any the wiser. I don’t see guys like Hurst rushing into schools with their guns when one of their ilk– angry white men with arms– are mass shooting the already born children who are simply trying to grow up. Why be so insistent on promoting births when we do so little to protect the babies once they’ve been born?

Ah well… all I can do is shake my head at the idiocy of people like Warren Hurst and hope that his two grandkids are brought up better than he was. He’s truly a vile, despicable, inhumane example of an elected official, and he should be ashamed of himself. But he won’t be, because he’s too stupid to realize how wrong he is.

Moving on…

I see that South Carolina is doing its best to pass a ridiculously restrictive abortion law that removes rape and incest as exceptions to a proposed ban on the procedure. South Carolina legislators are trying to pass a “heartbeat bill”, which would ban abortion if a doctor can detect a heartbeat. That usually happens when a woman is about six weeks along. Many women don’t even know they’re pregnant at that point.

I used to work as a graduate assistant for the Department of Health and Environmental Control. The first job I had at DHEC was in healthcare policy. It was my job to track healthcare bills that came up at the Statehouse. So, though I am passionate about a woman’s right to have an abortion, I am especially interested in South Carolina’s take, since I lived and worked there. I was pretty disgusted by this comment from MALE Senator Richard Cash of Anderson, South Carolina:

How nice that MEN who will never be faced with pregnancy and are members of a political party hellbent on cutting health, education, and welfare benefits presume to lecture women about “killing”…

I’m here to tell Mr. Cash that anyone who is aborted while in the womb will not be any the wiser, because developing embryos have no concept of life or death. Moreover, not everyone is delighted that they were born. I know this because I often wish I hadn’t been born. I also know I’m not the only one who feels this way. And I was not conceived in rape or incest, but I did have parents who made it plain that my birth was neither planned nor particularly wanted. It really sucks to hear your mom tell you how difficult you made her life simply because she and your father weren’t as careful as they should have been. If she had had an abortion, it probably would have spared us both a lot of pain, although I know she’s glad I’m here now.

Every child should be a wanted child, born to people who are prepared to love them and raise them in a safe, nurturing environment. Although adoption is a good thing, it also has its own significant issues. I applaud those birth moms who give up their babies to couples who wish to adopt, but I also know it’s a lot to ask and not always the ideal solution.

I am SO SICK of men and menopausal women trying to dictate that women must stay pregnant, whether or not they are prepared to deal with pregnancy. I am SO SICK of the focus being solely on women, and not the men who get them pregnant and then leave them high and dry. And I am even SICKER of people wanting to butt into the personal medical decisions made by women who contemplate abortion. The fact is, sometimes abortion is a medical necessity caused by situations that are just plain no one else’s business. It’s not always done for the sake of convenience. And women who need to have an abortion for medical reasons should not have to tolerate having their privacy invaded, particularly by people who will NEVER be pregnant.

There’s a lot of truth in this. Maybe we should start paying more attention to the men who knock up women and abandon them.

We really are living in strange times. It’s hard to watch America backsliding in the Dark Ages as people like Warren Hurst and his ilk occupy elected positions. I guess if there is anything to learn from his rant, it’s that public offices are important. Not just anyone should be in these positions. It’s interesting that Warren Hurst laments losing rights as a white man, but he and his Republican buddies, like John McCravy and Richard Cash, seem fine with restricting women’s rights to bodily autonomy and privacy. I guess they miss the days when they could keep their women barefoot and pregnant and smack ’em around if they got too sassy.

I think of the loved ones I’ve lost recently and I think maybe they are the lucky ones. They don’t have to worry about this crap anymore. But I know it’s not cool to say that out loud.

Well… it’s Thursday, which means I have the dreaded chore of vacuuming ahead of me. Guess I’ll log off and tend to the housewife part of my day.

healthcare, politicians

“Whatever you think is best, doctor.”

I was kind of hoping this morning I’d find something amusing to write about. My last few posts have been downers. Maybe later, once I’ve had a little more time to wake up and cheer up, I’ll find something funny about the world today. Right now, I’m compelled to write about an opinion piece I read in The New York Times.

Dr. Jen Gunter is an OB-GYN who has recently written a number of pieces about her experiences as a doctor who provides abortions. I usually like what she writes about this subject, since she is very knowledgable and reasonable. This morning, I read her piece entitled “Medical School Doesn’t Teach the ‘Woman’s Life Is In Danger’ Curriculum“. As usual, Gunter made a lot of sense. She also brought up some issues with these new abortion bills that I don’t think a lot of people have considered.

In her op-ed, Dr. Gunter wrote about a case she had in 1998. She was called in to perform an abortion on a woman who was very sick and in her first trimester of pregnancy. The woman’s condition was rapidly deteriorating and the pregnancy was making her situation worse. Although her life was not in immediate danger, her caregivers feared that if she continued her pregnancy, her condition would quickly decompensate and she would need dialysis due to kidney failure.

The problem was, this was happening in Kansas, where a new restrictive abortion law was enacted that forbade abortions from being done on state government property, unless the mother’s life was in danger. The medical center where Dr. Gunter worked was on state property. While it’s very possible to manage kidney failure on dialysis, it’s not the ideal course of action. It’s better to prevent kidney damage, which would then prevent a host of other serious medical problems that would put the patient’s life in danger. The patient was not about to die, but her condition might eventually cause death if the doctor didn’t act. On the other hand, thanks to the law, if Dr. Gunter made the “wrong” decision, she could be fired or wind up in legal trouble. She could even be arrested, which would be a real problem, since malpractice insurance does not cover criminal prosecution.

The law was vague regarding what Dr. Gunter should do. She spoke to the hospital’s attorneys, who advised her to call the legislator who had written the law. So, instead of prepping her patient for surgery and taking care of her patient’s private medical issues, Dr. Gunter was forced to call up a legislator who had absolutely no clue about this wrinkle in the law because he wasn’t a medical professional. Moreover, Dr. Gunter was about to talk about this lady’s private medical situation with a man who was completely uninvolved, except for the fact that he’d written the law that was holding up Gunter’s ability to take action. To add insult to injury, he didn’t even seem to care! As Gunter launched into a description of the woman’s medical issues necessitating an abortion, the legislator interrupted her and said, “Whatever you think is best, doctor.”

The woman got her abortion and her medical condition improved. But Dr. Gunter was left fuming, since she’d had to waste precious time calling up a legislator who obviously didn’t actually care that much about this law. He hadn’t even listened to her speak for more than a minute before he basically said “whatever”. Meanwhile, this lady’s health– her very life– was in danger. What would have happened if Dr. Gunter had not taken the time to cover her ass by calling the lawmaker? What if she’d simply done the abortion and gotten arrested for breaking the law, even though she’d made the correct medical decision? What if she’d not done the abortion and her patient died? Then she might be on the hook for medical malpractice. She’d also have to deal with the guilt of knowing that she has the training to help women in these dire medical situations, but can’t act due to restrictive, misguided legislation like the “heartbeat” bills being considered and passed in places like Georgia, Ohio, and Alabama.

I wonder if the untrained politicians who are making these laws have considered the second and third order effects of forcing women to birth. One thing I think will happen, right off the bat, is that malpractice coverage will have to be expanded. Perhaps another type of insurance will be created to help physicians who are criminally charged in situations like the one Dr. Gunter describes. That will mean higher healthcare costs for everyone, since everyone practicing in a healthcare setting will need coverage.

Next, legislators will start getting phone calls at all hours from medical professionals who need clarification of the laws. Senator So and So might be enjoying a night out with his wife and have to answer a frantic phone call from a doctor who is trying to treat a pregnant woman whose pregnancy is making her health worse. And the doctor will have to listen to an untrained legislator offering his opinion.

Patient privacy will go out the window. It will have to, since physicians will have to seek advice from legal people on what they should or shouldn’t do for a patient like the one Dr. Gunter describes. Moreover, doctors, who already have a lot to do and huge loans to repay, will have to waste time with legal red tape and possibly money trying to defend themselves from legal action. A lot of them will have to go to court and may even risk being arrested simply for trying to do their jobs.

I haven’t even touched upon what will happen when sick women with health problems are forced to give birth. They will probably need more healthcare, since the pregnancy has made their condition worse. And their babies will probably need more healthcare, too– if they survive. That will mean more work for healthcare providers and higher costs for both insurance companies and uninsured people. Uninsured people will likely have more bad debt, which could ruin their ability to make major purchases like cars, education, or homes. That will affect business… well, maybe not for undertakers, who will probably get more business as more people die.

The legal system will get more business as more cases regarding abortion wind up in court. More people will go to prison, which is already a shameful big business in the United States, where in 2016, 2.2 million people were already behind bars. Maybe it’s not such a bad thing for the people who profit off of incarcerating others– privately run prisons are a thing in the United States. However, it will not be a good thing for families and individuals directly affected by having a loved one in prison. A lot of the “babies” legislators were so keen to see born could wind up with parents in prison, if they’re lucky– the cemetery if they’re not.

I can see why people are “pro-life”. A lot of folks believe it’s a matter of personal responsibility to prevent pregnancy. I happen to agree that, at least for me, it wasn’t hard to avoid getting pregnant. But I don’t represent everyone. Sometimes even when a person uses birth control– or even after they get a procedure like a vasectomy or a tubal ligation– pregnancy can still happen at the worst possible time. Sometimes birth control methods fail. Sometimes even vasectomies and tubal ligations can fail, though that is admittedly a rare situation.

And so many of them think that because they more often pay child support, they should have the right to enslave a woman by forcing her to give birth.

I’ve been paying attention to a lot of rhetoric spouted by “pro-lifers”, many of whom are men. I’ve seen a lot of men equating their duty to pay child support to a woman’s duty to give birth. First off, men aren’t the only ones who pay child support. Sometimes women pay child support. Secondly, having to pay child support is really no comparison to having your health on the line while gestating a baby. And before the baby is born, the name on the hospital’s and doctor’s bills is not that of the father’s.

I’ve seen other people, again mostly men, tossing out the statistics of when an abortion is “medically necessary”. One guy claimed it was about 4%. He did not provide the source of his statistic, but even if he had, I would be skeptical about its veracity. I don’t see how it’s possible to really know how many abortions are simply done for convenience. Everyone who seeks one has a story. Besides that, I can’t imagine any woman having an abortion for “fun” or even convenience.

I’m as big on personal responsibility as anyone is. I just think that abortion, just like any other medical procedure, should be entirely private. We don’t force people to donate organs to others, even when doing so would save another person’s life. We don’t begrudge people who defend themselves against intruders by using deadly force– one could argue that when a pregnancy threatens a woman’s life, that person has the right to use deadly force for her own self-protection. We have a big, complicated law called HIPAA that is supposed to protect our right to privacy in a medical setting. There is no reason why Dr. Gunter, an eminently qualified physician with excellent medical judgment, should have to call some legislator for permission to take care of her patients, particularly when the legislator isn’t even trained in medicine.

I’ll close with a direct quote from Dr. Gunter’s opinion piece. “Abortion is sometimes medically necessary, and women will have abortions whether they are safe and legal or not. Creating legislation that suggests otherwise does not change that truth.” Not allowing physicians to make medical decisions for their patients is a terrible idea.