A Civil Libertarian’s Case for Pro-Choice (Original Essay)
Dear male politicians who are trying to close down abortion clinics (I’m looking at you, Gov. Ultrasound Bob McDonnell):
You are doing nothing to help your cause – i.e., to reduce the number of abortions in your state. Many of you cite religious convictions. While I can empathize with this religious conviction (as a person of faith myself), as a civil libertarian and a citizen of a constitutional democracy, I can’t. I believe in personal freedoms, and that the government shouldn’t be all up in my vagina. But literally, that’s what you’re doing with the forced vagina ultrasound and anti-abortion laws recently. If Gov. Rick Perry voted against a bill banning texting while driving, because it is too intrusive – “Perry said that texting while driving ‘is reckless and irresponsible’ but that he saw the bill as ‘a government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults,’” statesman.com writes – then what is more intrusive than mandating ultrasounds and regulating difficult personal choices women may have to make?
Closing clinics are not going to reduce the number of abortions. Would you prefer women to go back to having “back alley abortions”? Who could forget the horrific cases stemming from Dr. Gosnell’s Philadelphia practice? While many use this case as why we need less abortion clinics, I beg to differ. If we continue to systematically shut down clinics, and/or dramatically reduce the number of legitimate service providers in each state, the number of these “chop shops” will only rise.
Furthermore, if you want to prevent the number of abortions, women need access to good healthcare (e.g., family planning services; access to birth control, which does not terminate pregnancies and some women need for conditions such as endometriosis; regular exams).
You may hem and haw when your personal liberties are threatened, but what about women’s? It’s time to stop pandering to the ultraconservative and un-constitutionally-grounded base, and start listening to your constituents… women included.
And last but not least, I must note that I do not think abortions are right, moral, or a good thing. But that is besides the point. I do not want the government to infringe on my constitutional liberties to make my own health decisions, as a woman or man. How would you like it if the government started regulating how many Viagra pills you can have per month? Isn’t that an example of a “government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults”?
© 2013, Gloria Shin.