Offbeat – A woman’s right to lose
I loathe the term “A woman’s right to choose.”
I don’t care who uses the phrase. It could be Al Gore or Al Franken, Rush Limbaugh, Gloria Steinham, Lilly Tomlin or the Dali Lama. What a worn-out, moribund, insipid, trivializing term for a subject that should elicit at the very least, careful consideration.
The term has been so overused that it invites people not to think. The only thing that could make it more conducive to a mental coma is if we changed it to an acronym. “A woman’s right to choose” reduced to AWRTC. There. Now we don’t have to think about it at all.
Having abortion issues minimized by the popular culture to such a mindless banal phrase is partly responsible for the appalling decision that President Bush made to deny funds to Third World clinics that would give abortion information to women who need it.
Let’s attempt to think about this. Imagine a married 27 year old woman in Zambia with four children who has just been diagnosed with AIDS, and is pregnant. Giving birth to an HIV-infected child under the circumstances in which she lives would be giving the child a right to a life of suffering and death before its childhood is over.
Her chances of transmitting the disease to her unborn child would be reduced from 30 per cent to 8 per cent if she took the latest medications. But the medicine is unattainable for most of the people in the Third World. Therefore as the disease progresses, she will sicken and die and leave all her children motherless. If she searches the eyes of her physician upon hearing the diagnosis and asks “What can I do?” he will have to be silent.
Under the rules imposed by the Bush administration, if the doctor tells her that one of her options is to end the pregnancy, the whole clinic could close.
But, how often will this really happen? A lot.
Ninety-five percent of the world’s 34.3 million HIV infected people live in developing countries. Of the 23.3 million adults and children living with HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, 55 percent are women. The consequences of this epidemic is staggering the continent. For the people who are infected, all the options are grotesque.
Luckily for us, we can reduce the problem to the moronic “woman’s right to choose” slogan, cut the funds, congratulate ourselves on how righteous and correct we are, and not have to think about the consequences of the action on the lives of people in developing nations. All will be well in George W’s tidy world.
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