Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pish Posh.

I was really disappointed when John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate. To me, it showed a serious lapse in judgement and more than whiff of desperation ("ohgodpleaseIwantthissobadlymaybethiswillgettheHilaryvote"). Somehow, though, I was still shocked and appalled when I finally took the time to watch him address the issue of a woman's health as it factors in to late-term abortions.

This isn't actually about pro-life vs. pro-choice to me (and seriously, can all of us rational, thinking people stop saying "pro-abortion", and acknowledge that while we may not agree, pro-choice people are no more pro-abortion than pro-life people enjoy seeing rape victims get pregnant?). It's not. It's about paternalism and condescension. Because when you use air quotes to refer to the "health of the mother" as it relates to late-term abortions, and imply that the real-life health consequences for some women in pregnancy are a figment of our hysterical imagination, you insult women. Period.

Pregnancy can threaten a woman's life. Severe pre-eclampsia, HELLP syndrome, and uterine infection are all very real conditions that can, and have, killed women. If these conditions become severe prior to the 24th week of gestation, a woman is faced with a choice- attempt to last until 24 weeks and die in the process, or terminate the pregnancy (the only known cure for two of those three conditions, and the only complete cure for infection). Here's where it's not about abortion rights: if you believe the woman should have no choice other than to continue the pregnancy, then you feel that way, I'm not really arguing that point right now. But you can't make that point without acknowledging that the woman will most likely die. Again, this is not imaginary, this is real.

If McCain really feels that way, well, he and I are never going to see eye to eye on that and it's fruitless to even discuss it. But I would come a wee bit closer to respecting his opinion if he would sack up and say so, instead of implying, as medicine has for centuries, that women are inventing these silly little problems.

Not that I was exactly on the fence about the election, nor are any of the three people who read this, but it's nice to know his opinion.

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