published Saturday, March 24th, 2012

Another abortion battle

Anti-abortion forces and Republican legislators who pander to them have repeatedly proposed stricter and harsher laws in state legislatures in recent years. Their purpose is always to make it increasingly difficult for women to get abortions and for physicians to provide them. The bill presently promoted by state Rep. Matthew Hill, R-Jonesborough, in the House reflects more insidious tactics to hamper the legal abortions that are mainly sought by women in desperate straits.

Rep. Hill's bill, to be sure, was more extreme earlier this week than it is now, but that's really just a question of degree. Following rising controversy, a House panel has stripped two highly controversial provisions.

One would have targeted physicians by requiring them to be publicly listed online as doctors in Tennessee who perform abortions. The other would have required state health officials to publicly provide detailed information about women who receive abortions -- including their age, race and the county in which they reside, plus information about the "gestational" age of the fetus and personal information about a woman's educational level and past pregnancies and abortions.

The first of these provisions would have exposed doctors to the potential violence of anti-abortion extremists, who in several instances around the country have stalked and killed doctors who have performed abortions, and have wounded or terrorized others. Rep. Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald, a physician, further argued that it would have identified and endangered physicians and obstetricians who might have to use procedures for miscarriages that could wrongly be classified as abortions.

Similarly, the high degree of personal information about women having abortions that would have been made public could have been easily used in many rural counties to identify and harass individual women.

These were essentially punitive measures. They obviously were meant to intimidate both physicians and women. They never should have put before the Legislature, and they were properly stripped amid rising controversy.

The major remaining provision in the bill also should be withdrawn. It seeks simply to hinder physicians from performing abortions and to hinder access by women to their services. It has nothing to do, as Rep. Hill claims, with "addressing the real concerns of women's health ...(and) safety." In fact, it likely would do the opposite.

This provision would require physicians who perform abortions at out-patient clinics to obtain and hold admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Rep. JoAnne Favors, D-Chattanooga, a registered nurse and member of the Health and Human Resources Committee, noted that there's no need for such a rule because "any physician, as part of their protocol, would have a referral process in place if a person needed a referral to a hospital." Indeed, most out-patient surgical clinics routinely instruct their patients to see emergency care at a hospital if the need arises.

Hill's proposal to require physicians to obtain admitting privileges ignores the fact that gaining such status is time-consuming and requires an on-going relationship with a local hospital. Hill simply means to use the provision as a tool to prevent clinics that provide abortions from using the services of visiting doctors. That need has arisen because local doctors in many locales have been intimidated by local anti-abortion forces from providing abortions at out-patient clinics.

Such anti-abortion measures have forced clinics in many states to shut their doors. That's what Hill and his cohorts want to happen in Tennessee. Problem is, such measures do not eliminate the demand for abortion by women -- and never did when abortions were illegal before the Roe v. Wade ruling of 1973. They just force more women to take more risks to get one.

The most effective antidote to abortions, by far, has been proven to be family planning centers, and contraceptive services. If the Legislature really wants to prevent abortions, it will focus on enhancing those services.

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How about we have a law detailing the men who take Viagra, who get arrested in prostitution busts, and who beat their wives?

But yeah, if they wanted to prevent Abortions, they could do it more effectively with contraceptives.

March 24, 2012 at 1:08 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

It seems like each and every day now some new law is being proposed by the Regressives that turns the screws ever tighter on pregnant women. The idiocy, insanity, and downright cruelty that these savages are able to come up with in order to try to force their self-righteous agenda on women is mind-boggling. As a man and having "no dog in the hunt," so to speak, it makes me spittin' mad nonetheless. If I were a woman, I'd be fightin' mad, good and ready to kick some butt.

I really cannot understand why women are not taking to the streets and marching on Washington. You ought to mobilize yourselves and have a million-woman march (no, it should be a 10 million woman march!) Every woman should yell out, like in the movie "Network".... "I'M MAD AS HELL AND I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANY MORE!" But don't just yell it out your window; march on the Capitol and yell it so loud that you make those idiots in the White House quake from your roar. Of course, we men should also join in because these draconian laws that these a@# holes are proposing would ultimately affect men as well and of course entire families. The many absurd laws on the books now have already had a deleterious effect.

As for you women who placidly go along with these morons in office, as you say nothing, do nothing, and even continue to vote Republican, all I can say is, you are beyond comprehension. You must be so devoid of self-respect and so deluded by their BS that you believe that you deserve to be shoved back into the early 1900s and beyond and treated like second-class citizens. I pity you, and at the same time, I am disgusted by you. THINK! GROW A PAIR! STAND UP TO THIS LUNACY AND THIS TYRANNY!

March 24, 2012 at 12:21 p.m.

Yes, JonRoss, blame the liberals for all of your own proposals.

You've learned a lot from Rush Limbaugh, about ducking personal responsibility.

March 24, 2012 at 12:29 p.m.

Great, why don't you call Sheriff Joe Arpaio and get him on it.

Do you know who also appeared on Letterman? Mitt Romney. Herman Cain. Ron and Rand Paul too. Newt Gingrich as well.

I guess they're all evil.

But hey, what's any of this got to do with the editorial here?

March 24, 2012 at 1:23 p.m.
shifarobe said...

That's right, Jon, it is all a diversion. A BIG, BIG diversion from B. HUSSEIN OBAMA, the squatter in chief. Oh, you poor dears, it's just so tough getting that free protection so you can bang like a ho. Now what, you want free abortions too?????? Ahhhh, feminism, it's all just so confusing. You want act a a slob, but you want to be treated with respect. So confusing.

March 24, 2012 at 1:26 p.m.
Rtazmann said...

WHAT IS THE ALTERNATIVE,,,,FOR WOMEN BEYOND THIS?? ARE WE GOING TO CALL OURSELVES A MODERN SOCIETY AND LET WOMEN SEEK ABORTIONS IN BACK ALLEYS AND SUCH,,,LIKE,,,THEY HAD TO DO BACK IN THE 30'S AND BEFORE WWII?? OF COURSE NO ONE WOULD EVEN ASK ABOUT THAT. YOU CAN'T PROPOSE SOMETHING LIKE THIS WITHOUT HAVING AN ALTERNATIVE ON THE TABLE..

March 26, 2012 at 8:40 p.m.
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