April 10, 2005
-- by Gary Boatwright
I’ve been thinking about all of the hullabaloo surrounding the attempt by Congress to shred the Constitution by interfering in the Terri Schiavo case, and all of the attention that has been focused on advanced medical directives. Perhaps this is the time to apply the lessons the American people have learned about medicine and Congress to the issue of abortion. The sticking point, that violated the conscience of a very substantial majority of the American people, was the attempt by Congress to impose their will on the private medical decisions of all American families at the end of life.
A reasonable description of what Republicans in Congress, and in State legislatures across the country, are going to try to do is write a legislative advanced medical directive that will impose the will of politicians on all American families at the beginning of life. If Americans are repulsed by the idea of mangy politicians having that much control over private medical decisions at the end of life, shouldn’t the same revulsion apply to mangy politicians imposing their will on private medical decisions at the beginning of life?
This deeply personal medical decision, of whether or not to have an abortion, is one that is made by literally millions of women and their families every year. I trust the mother and the father, in consultation with their family doctor, to make the best decision under the specific circumstances of each specific case. I do not trust politicians to impose legislative advanced medical directives on me, my family or my community.
Would you want a politician making this decision for you and your wife? For your daughter or grand-daughter? Politicians are not smart enough to write legislation that can cover all of the thousands of complicated medical and ethical situations that are raised by the necessity of an abortion. Would you want this guy or maybe this guy to make the decision for you and your family? Does anybody really want this character mandating what decision your wife, daughter or grand-daughter will be compelled to make next year or five years from now, or even ten years down the road?
Food for thought
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These decisions are complex and the truly frightening theme of this Republican overreach is reducing these complex wrenching personal decisions into simplistic pap. Today's WaPo has a profound discussion of abortion/end of life surrogate decisions all wrapped into one couple's experience. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A28673-2005Apr6.html
Posted by: Razzled at April 10, 2005 10:30 AM
That was a gut and heart wrenching story Razzled. I can't even imagine how additional legal complications would help in this kind of intensely personal situation. I don't even understand where any outside party gets the moral authority to intrude into a situation like this. It is inconceivable that politicians would have the wisdom to write legislation that would do anything except make decisions like this one even more emotionally traumatic than they already are.
I was impressed with the thorough and well considered process the Ali's engaged in and the quality of the advice the received. If I were in their situation, I woulld want the same freedom to exercise my informed conscience that the Ali's had.
Posted by: Gary Boatwright at April 10, 2005 11:52 AM
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