Women’s health is under attack

Five out of nine Supreme Court justices think you (meaning a pregnant woman) should die if it means saving a baby.

The Bush-stacked Supreme Court proved to the nation last week that its ideologies were more important than a woman’s health, with a ruling that basically places important and personal health decisions in the hands of politicians.

Not the mother’s hands. Not the father’s hands. Not the doctor’s hands.

This is the first abortion-based decision the Court has had to make since Sandra Day O’Connor left, and the first to uphold a federal ban on an abortion procedure since Roe v. Wade. The new justices appointed by President George W. Bush are doing exactly what they were put there to do — challenge and take steps to diminish a woman’s right to choose.

However, the most alarming part of this ruling is the Court’s blatant disregard for individual circumstances when following through with a pregnancy could pose a threat to the mother.

The decision upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act Bush signed into law in 2003. That law makes it a crime for doctors to perform partial-birth abortions. The Court ruled that the legislation is constitutional even though it doesn’t make an exception for pregnancies that are dangerous, even fatal, to the mother’s health.

While it’s important that doctors have a discussion of social concerns to base decisions on, those discussions should be taking place between those who are concerned with a specific patient.

“With this decision the Supreme Court has sanctioned the intrusion of legislation into the day-to-day practice of medicine,” said Jeffrey Drazen, editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, in one of the commentaries to be published on May 24.

While doctors want oversight and discussion of health and social matters, the conversations should take place between people who are acting in the best interest of a specific patient. Doctors may now be put in prison for two years and fined up to $250,000 for performing a partial-birth abortion and may be liable for psychological damages.

Women’s rights have just gone backward 30 years.

We’re seeing that societal morality has became the prevailing issue — even over the health of American women. This ruling means that women who are having troubled pregnancies will be backed into a dangerous corner and also risk their ability to have safe pregnancies in the future.

We’ve seen the government continually have a disregard for scientific fact, but now that disregard is going to hurt our female population. For example, women who are older will be put at a greater risk because amniocentesis results are available later in the pregnancy. Pregnant adolescents will also face more risk because they are the most likely to delay the decision as to whether to have an abortion or not.

So how do we fix this? Senators must start sticking up for women’s health and see past the hype the abortion debate creates. The Supreme Court has made the abortion issue one no longer of just female choice, but also female health. The disregard for women’s well-being this ruling instills should concern everyone — pro-choicers and pro-lifers alike.

This should also become a direct and headlining issue in the 2008 election, because, quite literally, women could die if these types of decisions continue.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.