Proof that anti-abortion laws hurt ALL pregnant women

We’re only just starting to see the impacts of new extreme anti-abortion legislation that has been passed around the country.

As I argue in this post, these laws also restrict the choices of women who want to parent. I’m going to try to keep an eye on the stories that highlight these connections because I think it busts open the myth that anti-choice activists are only focused on restricting abortion. They’re actually focused on restricting women’s autonomy in a myriad of ways related to pregnancy.

From Nebraska State Paper:

Nebraska’s new abortion law forced Danielle Deaver to live through ten excruciating days, waiting to give birth to a baby that she and her doctors knew would die minutes later, fighting for breath that would not come.

And that’s what happened. The one-pound, ten-ounce girl, Elizabeth, was born December 8th. Deaver and husband Robb watched, held and comforted the baby as it gasped for air, hoping she was not suffering. She died 15 minutes later.

The sponsor of the controversial Nebraska statute, Sen. Mike Flood of Norfolk, told the Des Moines Register that the law worked as it was intended in the Deavers’ case.

“Even in these situations where the baby has a terminal condition or there’s not much chance of surviving outside of the womb, my point has been and remains that is still a life,” Flood said in an interview with the Iowa newspaper.

The law, the only one of its kind in America, prohibits abortions after the 20th week. It is based on the disputed argument that a fetus may feel pain at that stage. It took effect last October.

These situations, while rare, do happen. Not all women, when faced with a fetus that is known not to be viable, would choose to terminate early. Some would want to carry the fetus to term, and spend that time in whatever way they choose.

The point is: she should have a choice. No one should be forced to carry an unviable fetus to term. No one should have lawmakers interfering with a medical decision that should be kept between the family and the medical providers.

“Our hands were tied,” Danielle Deaver of Grand Island told The Register in a story published Sunday.  “The outcome of my pregnancy, that choice was made by God. I feel like how to handle the end of my pregnancy, that choice should have been mine, and it wasn’t because of a law.”

Also, what kind of BS argument is that about fetal pain? For one thing, the research behind the idea of fetal pain is super sketchy. And for another, what about the suffering of this newborn as it died?

I’ll keep saying it over and over: anti-abortion laws don’t just hurt women who want to terminate their pregnancies. They also hurt women who want to parent.

h/t Mary M.


4 thoughts on “Proof that anti-abortion laws hurt ALL pregnant women

  1. anne March 7, 2011 / 11:22 pm

    “Sen. Mike Flood of Norfolk, told the Des Moines Register that the law worked as it was intended in the Deavers’ case.”

    That is one cold-hearted son of a mother.

  2. Brickhouse March 8, 2011 / 12:05 am

    I can’t imagine being forced to go through such a physically and emotionally traumatic experience. No woman should have to go through this and I find it deeply troubling that (mostly) conservative men who never will go through childbirth think that they should have a say in what a woman should do with her body.

  3. Sungold March 12, 2011 / 10:17 pm

    This also shows how the dogmatic “pro-life” activists actually reify “life” into an abstraction, which has nothing to do with actual lives!

    I think Senator Flood should have to listen to every story like this. He should have to see the pain in the eyes of the mothers and fathers who suffer extra, just because he says so. Anti-abortion people are fond of saying that we shouldn’t play god. Well, this is playing god.

  4. Suzanne Skaar May 8, 2013 / 5:03 pm

    Reblogged this on Barefoot and Political and commented:
    Another example of why I feel so strongly about the need for women’s right to choose, and how the abortion debate hurts women whose pregnancies cannot continue to term. Tell the University of Washington to stop harassing its women students and employees with false anti-abortion propaganda.

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