08 November 2005

Does Roe v. Wade Still Matter?

Check out the excellent PBS Frontline documentary, The Last Abortion Clinic (Tuesday - 8 November 2005 - 9:00 PM EST/8:00 PM CST - check your local listings for confirmation).

Here's a quote from the PBS Frontline web site:
"Recent news coverage has focused on the new Roberts Supreme Court and how its decisions might affect abortion -- an issue that has divided the country for decades. Later this month, the Court will take up its first major abortion case in five years: Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.

But while the spotlight has been on Washington, there is an equally significant story playing out in local communities. Pro-life advocates have been successfully spearheading campaigns in states throughout the country to pass laws that regulate and limit access to abortion.

According to one abortion provider in the South, who prefers to remain anonymous: 'The assault on abortion rights is very clever. It's very smart. And we are losing.'"
This documentary is freely available as streaming video on the PBS web site tomorrow afternoon at 5:00 PM EST.

It's also available for purchase on VHS or DVD as well.


Bill Baar said...

Technology makes life outside the womb viable at earlier and earlier stages. Everyone will have to reconsider in light of those changes.

Illinois's Gov Blagojevich recently, and very very quietly, signed the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act defining ...babies who are born alive, regardless of the circumstances of their birth, as human beings under Illinois law.

It's a heck of a place to put health care workers when the technology is there to sustain life. It's eactly why science has over taken Roe v. Wade and reforced the whole question.

Jill Stanek blew the whistle on Christ Hospital in suburban Oak Lawn, Illinois, over six years ago and began working to change the law. After forced premature delivery abortions at Christ Hospital, babies were often born alive and left to die, sometimes in a soiled utility room.

Steve Caldwell said...

Bill ... even if one has disagreements with the current legal status of abortion in the United States, one should view this documentary.

It also addresses the impact that abstinence-only sexuality education has in increasing the rate of unplanned pregnancies and abortions.

It seems to me that if our religiously and politically coservative neighbors were really sincere about wanting to reduce the numbers of abortions, they would study the public health success story from the Netherlands.

You should check out the differences in adolescent sexual health stats when one compares Western Europe with the United States:

Adolescent Sexual Health in Europe and the U.S.—Why the Difference?

This fact sheet from Advocates for Youth, a community-based organization that worked with the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ in developing the excellent Our Whole Lives lifespan comprehensive sexuality education program.

Based on the Advocates for Youth estimates, if the United States used the public health approaches used in the Netherlands, we would have:

657,000 fewer teen pregnancies annually

441,000 fewer teen births annually

215,000 fewer teen abortions annually

And this would save the public $921 million each year.

And this public health approach make so much sense, I amazed that our conservative neighbors are still pushing abstinence-only education in the United States.

Bill Baar said...

I did view it. Not all of it. But I had it on in the background.

The MD who did most of my daughter's OWL program at our Church taught abstinance only. He said he saw too many STDs in his practice. He was very angry with our public schools.

I don't have strong feelings on this one, one way or the other. I told him they should me Army Training films with gross picturs when I took sex Ed at school. The Doc failed to see any humor here and told me all about his STD cases which is how I found out his strong feelings on abstinance.

My family on my Dad's side came from Gronningen in Holland. I haven't had a whole lot of use for Dutch Health Policy since they came out with the Gronningen Protocols,

Under the Groningen protocol, if doctors at the hospital think a child is suffering unbearably from a terminal condition, they have the authority to end the child's life. The protocol is likely to be used primarily for newborns, but it covers any child up to age 12.

The hospital, beyond confirming the protocol in general terms, refused to discuss its details.

"It is for very sad cases," said a hospital spokesman, who declined to be identified. "After years of discussions, we made our own protocol to cover the small number of infants born with such severe disabilities that doctors can see they have extreme pain and no

hope for life. Our estimate is that it will not be used but 10 to 15 times a year."

A parent's role is limited under the protocol. While experts and critics familiar with the policy said a parent's wishes to let a child live or die naturally most likely would be considered, they note that the decision must be professional, so rests with doctors.

You don't want to be thought a sad case in Holland. Don't look stupid in class, at least until after age 12. Especially if the Docs are looking around.

Steve Caldwell said...

Bill Baar wrote:
"The MD who did most of my daughter's OWL program at our Church taught abstinance only. He said he saw too many STDs in his practice. He was very angry with our public schools."


I'm assuming that you're talking about the Middle School (grades 7-9) program here.

If your congregation's "Our Whole Lives" facilitators are teaching OWL as an "abstinence only" program, they aren't teaching OWL as intended by the curriculum authors, the UCC, or the UUA.

Maybe you should ask this MD for clarification. Perhaps you misunderstood the difference between comprehensive sexuality education that promotes abstinence as the best choice for younger adolescents (which means that OWL isn't the same as abstinence only program like the ones funded by the US government and promoted by President Bush).

Here's what the UUA web site says about OWL and abstinence:

"Our Whole Lives supports abstinence from sexual activity as one of a number of healthy choices individuals can make at any point in their lives. Abstinence is consistently stressed as the best way to prevent sexually transmitted disease and unwanted pregnancy. Our Whole Lives also emphasizes the maturity and responsibility required for sexual activity, and presents abstinence as the best choice for young adolescents."

This "comprehensive sexuality education" message is more subtle than a blanket "abstinence only" message that your congregation's MD is advocating.

Why did you change the subject from Western Europe's comprehensive sexuality education and how their teen abortion and pregnancy rates are lower than the US teen abortion and pregnancy rates to the unrelated topic of euthanasia.

That tells me that you really didn't have a meaningful rebuttal to the evidence of Western Europe's more effective sexuality education. Otherwise you wouldn't have changed the subject.