Monday morning (summerdaze)

Roger Ebert is one of the few lucid voices in contemporary American discourse.

I knew that I couldn’t stand Thomas Kinkade paintings for a reason.

It’s going to get hotter in Iran…

Lily, Lara, what do you think?

11 Responses to “Monday morning (summerdaze)”

  1. You know I am a strange pro-choice feminist. I believe that women need and have a right to control their own body. But I also believe that abortion does end the possibilty of a human life. For that reason I believe that I could not have an abortion without an incredibly strong medical reason for it – severe deformity, etc.

    But I think making women struggle with these ethical/moral issues in the presence of her physician or a review board is a dangerous choice. My physician is there to assist me in medical decisions not ethical/moral issues. Making a judgement on my reasons for aborting a pregnancy are inappropriate and out of their realm of expertise.

    Doctors have a choice about whether or not to provide abortion services. If they choose to provide them then they must provide them to all comers. Women and men need to wrestle with the ethical dilemmas that this issue is rife with. I also remind people that all of us struggle with issues like this in other areas of our life – the ending of a life of one who is terminally ill for example. Do we want to invite ethics boards into these decisions also?

    We may not like the choices that some make or the reasons given for them but does that mean that we take away the right for people to make their own choices and ALSO the potential to learn from them?

    I am not willing to give up my responsilbity in making my own choices for my own reasons and also dealing with the consequences that come with that right.

    • Sorry Winston, i know I wasn’t invited, but I’m jumping in anyway. Lara, I’m with you. I am passionately Pro-Choice yet believe abortion ends the possibility of human life. This is a horribly difficult decision to make and has so many individual variables that the State needs to stay out of it.

      However, I disagree with a few things you said. I don’t think it is as easy to separate ethical and medical decisions as you seem to. I do believe that Drs should help their patients work through this decision in all of its aspects. That said, I also agree that the decision is ultimately up to the woman seeking one. However, I also disagree that a Dr. must provide an abortion to all comers. This, as a rule, is not the case with most medical procedures. (There are probably exceptions to this also. I’d need to check before being totally confident. However, I believe that in most non life-threatening situations a Dr. can refer to another caregiver.) A Dr. should always have the freedom of choice to refer a patient she or he is uncomfortable treating. I realize that this is also problematic given the scarcity of treatment options available, but as a rule, I believe this should be the case.

      In this debate, both sides miss some very important points. We need to be as concerned about what happens before conception and after birth as we are about whether or not we should allow abortion. Sex education and healthcare need to be much higher priorities and a bigger part of this discussion. For those who find themselves with unplanned/unwanted pregnancies, adoption might also be presented as a better option than it is now. While I remain now and will always be Pro-Choice, I hope for a world where abortion can become unnecessary. In the meantime, we should all enter this discussion with a great deal of fear and trembling with the realization that none of us can be completely correct.

      • hey Kenny,

        Thanks for your thoughts. I think docs can refuse to provide a service if there is a medical reason to do so. I am demanding an abortion that might endanger my life or I appear to be mentally unstable…but I am not sure either on the “I don’t like your reason – so no” answer. I am also free to NOT give my doctor an answer on why I want one. Legally I CAN have one. I can see many instances where a woman who was raped would not want to have a long conversation with a physician about her reasoning for aborting the baby. None of their business. No rule written that I have to answer that question.

        Pharmacists have recently run into this dilemma over the morning after pill. I believe the ruling was – you can refer to another pharmacist as long as the patient is serviced at that time. No sending them to another Osco for instance.

        I agree – lets educate people and give them choices on preventing unwanted pregnancies. But there will always be circumstances where abortions will be necessary for some people and we may or not agree with their choice.

  2. I’ll defer to your knowledge of the rules regarding doctors and pharmacists; I imagine you are much more educated on the subject than I. I also agree that a woman does not need to give a reason. My only real issue wity your comments were when you said:

    “making women struggle with these ethical/moral issues in the presence of her physician or a review board is a dangerous choice. My physician is there to assist me in medical decisions not ethical/moral issues. Making a judgement on my reasons for aborting a pregnancy are inappropriate and out of their realm of expertise.”

    Requiring women to discuss ethical issues with others would not be good. However, I think you are too quick to dismiss the ethical side of medicine. A good doctor is an ethical doctor and should be available as a resource for women who find themselves considering abortion. Perhaps this is a minor quibble over language…

  3. I can’t tell you how tickled I am to read this conversation. How refreshing to see something so controversial discussed in a sophisticated and nuanced fashion. I don’t find it to be ‘quibbling’ to consider the ethical responsibilities of doctors.
    I suppose for me the ethical responsibility of the doctor is to make their patient aware of all the options available, not to decide what is in their best interest without the consent of the patient. It’s when people are inflicting their ethics and morals on others that I object…

  4. I certainly agree that doctors need to be ethical in their treatment…will this procedure inflict more suffering or damage? does my patient have all the information they need to make a informed choice? are my personal beliefs in any way affecting the treatment of my patient? I realize that the “do no harm” causes a great deal of cognitive dissonance in doctors. But I guess it is a discussion of what constitutes harm. Psychological damage of the mother, fetus or human life etc.?

    It is all very complex. Your thoughts are well taken Kenny. I hope I never have to find myself in this conundrum. I feel badly for women AND men that have to make the decision.

  5. and this is just a snarky point on my part but…in the case of the mother’s life etc…when did my life become less important than a baby’s? I get I have “more time in and less time to go” but dammit I HAVE SENIORITY. 😉

  6. I don’t think it’s snarky, it’s a matter of perspective, like most ethical questions tend to be. There is no absolute that says the ‘baby’ is more ‘important’ than the mother-that is a modern conceit. From an evolutionary perspective, the mother is absolutely more important than the baby because without the mother the baby cannot survive. The idea that you have ‘seniority’ is absolutely spot-on; you can have multiple children whereas the baby cannot reproduce for decades; you’re like the employee with lots of training and institutional memory where the baby is the ‘new hire’. Until we developed modern medicine infant mortality rates were very high (of course, the act of childbirth was also incredibly dangerous); I suppose my point is that it is not ‘natural’ for every fetus to become a person and therefore it is absurd to endanger the life of an actual living person to give viability to a fetus…

  7. […] It turns out there’s lots of shades of gray inside the shades of grey.  Kenny and Lara had a great discussion about this yesterday. Like both of them, I find myself to be entirely unorthodox in my unwavering commitment to a […]

  8. Sorry I am coming in on this late… as unfortunately am in the middle of the fight with narrow-minded zealots that are in control of our state legislature are clamping down on women’s reproductive rights (as well as going after affirmative action, social services, education, etc.) as we now speak.
    Kenny you make some good points and I know that you truly are a feminist so I completely respect your opinions (that and they make me think) however I find myself more in line with Lara. Perhaps it is no accident that we also both are biologically able to be in this predicament??
    Anyway – my perspective is both as a woman and as a Social Worker.
    I believe that it is ALWAYS a woman’s decision unless it falls under the categories of danger to self or danger to other.
    Although the best of doctors practice with excellent ethical and medical standards, they are trained and treat in a specific paradigm of a medical model. Along with the growing scarcity of doctors that perform abortions, the ones that remain are too busy to conduct appropriate assessment about the mental status and judgment capabilities of women in a distressing situation.
    Mental health practitioners (especially Social Workers) are trained to not only assess individual mental status, but look at psychosocial factors and available resources. I’m sorry Kenny but I just don’t see a doctor sitting down with a patient (or worse an ethics panel of smug, paid-well docs) and talk to a distraught woman whose husband just lost his job and she doesn’t know how she’s going to feed the two kids they already have or the 15-year old who got raped by her uncle or… etc. etc.
    More often than not, it’s not the patient who doesn’t have all the facts to make an “informed choice” it’s the doctor!! So while I see where Kenny is coming from and agree with the thought behind it, I don’t agree it should be the doctor.
    As you both mentioned, it’s a weighty decision that will have serious, long-lasting consequences either way. Since it is a private and often shameful experience, women may not have had the opportunity to talk about it with someone who is unbiased and neutral so providing a Social Worker to talk with is something that reputable clinics like Planned Parenthood are already doing. An ethical doctor I think would only perform these procedures on someone that is cleared by the mental health professional on the team.
    If I were in dire straits with an unwanted pregnancy and needed someone to confide in and consider my options with, I’m confident all 3 of you could and would help me beautifully. Not all are so lucky… however that still should not take away their right to choose.

  9. PS: It always kills me how the same loud-mouthed jackasses who are trying to restrict a woman’s choice are the same idiots cutting funding to education, children & family services and programs that help families in poverty.
    I guess yelling about protecting a fetus can make you feel morally superior without actually having to work, pay, or sacrifice anything.

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