Monday, January 10, 2005

Holy shades of Margaret Atwood, there's more to reproductive rights than abortion?!

Women's reproductive rights also include not being subjected to requirements of routine pregnancy testing (for non clinical reasons) and requirement to get pregnant and the ability to take precautionary measures to avoid pregnancy. Granting the government excessive latitude to demand additional, unwarranted access to our bodies via legislation regarding reproduction could open the door to a multitude of possibilities depending on those in power.Are you reallysure the religious right will stop at "abortion on demand" or will the next step be to make contraception illegal? Consider the possible ramifications. . .
Scenario I
Laws could be changed to restrict access to contraception and limit abortion to: pregnancy that is imminently life-threatening to the mother; pregnancy resulting from rape or incest; one parent suffered from a serious hereditary disease or a disease likely to cause serious congenital malformations; the pregnant woman suffered from a serious physical, mental, or sensory disorder; advanced maternal over age 45; or the pregnant woman had given birth to at least four children that were under her care. Except in the case of a life-threatening situation, abortions will have to be approved by a medical board and be performed in the first trimester in a specialized unit. Women who obtain illegal abortions, and those who perform them, will be subject to fines and imprisonment.

Additionally all women of reproductive age will be required to undergo regular gynecological examinations at their place of employment. Pregnant women will be monitored until delivery, doctors were required to report all women who became pregnant and gynecological wards were under continuous surveillance. Investigations will be carried out to determine the cause of all miscarriages.
Scenario II
Laws could be changed to require all pregnant women to submit to having their medical records scrutinized by an objective panel of experts (not their personal doctor) through-out their pregnancy:
  • ALL pregnant women will be required to have the same battery of pre-natal testing with continuous follow-up and testing for fetal defects (genetic and developmental), as well as testing of their own health (including dietary evaluation to ensure they are eating and drinking exactly as prescribed by nutritionist).
  • At any point in time, the panel of experts following their pregnancy can order them to terminate said pregnancy due to meeting standardized termination criteria
    • Only pregnancies that meet this standardized abortion criteria may be terminated
      • anyone obtaining or performing a non-eligible (illegal) abortion will be subjected to criminal charges
    • All pregnancies that meet criteria must be terminated
To ensure no women intentionally defy medical protocol requirements in order facilitate meeting abortion criteria; a woman will be held criminally negligent if it is determined she has any culpability in the health issues leading to the pregnancy meeting abortion requirements.

The only "opt-out" policy for those who object to abortion is voluntary sterilization (to avoid being forced to undergo a procedure they find morally objectionable).

Additionally, to ensure no unsafe and illegal abortions are attempted, all females biologically capable of reproduction will have to submit to monthly pregnancy tests (Tanner staging will be done routinely on pre-pubescent females to determine when they are capable of reproduction and avoid missing accidental pregnancies in this population) to ensure all pregnancies are followed from as soon after conception as possible through to resolution regardless of outcome.
Scenario I is not conjecture, it is Romanian history between 1966 - 1984 under the leadership of Nicolae Ceacescu. Remove the information in color and you have legislative changes as requested by the "Pro-Life" Movement (subject to change, of course).

Am I being a typical, hysterically paranoid, liberal female?

Recently, John Cosgrove (R-78) proposed and amendment to VA HB-1677 as follows (italicized language was added to the bill; bold emphasis is mine):

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia:

1. That § 32.1-264 of the Code of Virginia is amended and reenacted as follows:

§ 32.1-264. Reports of fetal deaths; medical certification; investigation by medical examiner; confidentiality of information concerning abortions; penalty.

A. A fetal death report for each fetal death which occurs in this the Commonwealth shall be filed, on a form furnished by the State Registrar, with the registrar of the district in which the delivery occurred or the abortion was performed within three days after such delivery or abortion and shall be registered with such registrar if it has been completed and filed in accordance with this section; provided that:

1. If the place of fetal death is unknown, a fetal death report shall be filed in the registration district in which a dead fetus was found within three days after discovery of such fetus; and

2. If a fetal death occurs in a moving conveyance, a fetal death report shall be filed in the registration district in which the fetus was first removed from such conveyance.

B. The funeral director or person who first assumes custody of a dead fetus or, in the absence of a funeral director or such person, the hospital representative who first assumes custody of a fetus shall file the fetal death report; in the absence of such a person, the physician or other person in attendance at or after the delivery or abortion shall file the report of fetal death. The person completing the forms shall obtain the personal data from the next of kin or the best qualified person or source available, and he shall obtain the medical certification of cause of death from the person responsible for preparing the same as provided in this section. In the case of induced abortion, such forms shall not identify the patient by name.

C. The medical certification portion of the fetal death report shall be completed and signed within twenty-four 24 hours after delivery or abortion by the physician in attendance at or after delivery or abortion except when inquiry or investigation by a medical examiner is required.

D. When a fetal death occurs without medical attendance upon the mother woman at or after the delivery or abortion or when inquiry or investigation by a medical examiner is required, the medical examiner shall investigate the cause of fetal death and shall complete and sign the medical certification portion of the fetal death report within twenty-four 24 hours after being notified of a fetal death.

When a fetal death occurs without medical attendance, it shall be the woman's responsibility to report the death to the law-enforcement agency in the jurisdiction of which the delivery occurs within 12 hours after the delivery. A violation of this section shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

E. The reports required pursuant to this section are statistical reports to be used only for medical and health purposes and shall not be incorporated into the permanent official records of the system of vital records. A schedule for the disposition of these reports may be provided by regulation.

F. The physician or facility attending an individual who has delivered a dead fetus shall maintain a copy of the fetal death report for one year and, upon written request by the individual and payment of an appropriate fee, shall furnish the individual a copy of such report.
It's extrememely important to note that the state of VA defines "fetus" as the "product(s) of conception" regardless of age (that is from the moment of conception). After receiving a multitude of e-mails, Cosgrove stated that the intent of the proposed revision was to aid Chesapeake police in the investigation of full-term babies abandoned shortly after birth and reported still-births (3rd trimester) not attended by a physician; he has stated he will now revise the proposed amendment to state just that. Why this wasn't clearly delineated from the outset is beyond me, especially considering how the word "fetus" is defined by the VA legislature; had the language been accepted as originally submitted, it would have opened the doors wide open for additional intrusion into the private lives of female citizens.


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