I'm a physician. I've spent the last 35 years taking care of adults and children with disabilities—working to keep them healthy and to maximize their functional ability, dignity, and self-esteem. I believe passionately that the strength of our society is in how we treat the least fortunate among us. I am strongly pro-life and as strongly pro-choice.
I was a medical student and surgical intern at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, an inner-city hospital, between 1969 and 1974, before and after Roe versus Wade went into effect. I really wanted to learn to handle emergencies and spent most of my my free evenings and weekends working in the emergency room or operating rooms. Before abortions were legal, we'd see young women coming in,perhaps 5 to 10 per week, with severe infections or bleeding following back alley or kitchen table abortions, many done with coat hangers and some after attempts to do it themselves. We'd see others poisoned from administration of whatever concoction was rumored to cause one to lose a baby, or worst of all, dead or near death from a suicide attempt. One of my most difficult tasks was telling a beautiful blond college student that her ability to ever become a mother had been taken away by the trauma she had received at the hands of the back alley abortionist who had destroyed her uterus. When abortion became legal and freely available, these stories quickly became a nightmare from the past. The rate of complications and death decreased to almost zero.
Still, abortion is not a life-affirming procedure. It is painful physically and emotionally. It is a desperate approach to a desperate situation. When I first saw tiny arms and legs in an abortion suction jar, I decided not to perform abortions, and probably would not have had one, had I become pregnant out of wedlock. My personal decision was that abortion is something that should not have to happen. Yet, it is clear to me that legal, freely available abortion is absolutely necessary in any civilized society. This has been shown again and again. In countries such as Brazil, that severely limit abortion, the abortion rate is actually over TWICE that in the United States. On the other hand, in the Netherlands, where abortion is freely available and funded by the government, the percentage of women of reproductive age having abortions is one-third of that in this country.
Here's how we can actually decrease or stop abortions. If we give girls access to first-class educational opportunities from preschool through graduate school they will learn to have dreams and they will realize those dreams. If we educate them about the science of reproduction, we will dramatically decrease unwanted pregnancy. If we offer support, education, child care and jobs to single mothers, we will keep them from having multiple pregnancies. If we are serious about actually reducing abortions, we will keep abortion legal and freely able, AND deliver first-rate education, health care, and rewarding, interesting jobs to America's wonderful children. If we make this procedure illegal, it will only serve to increase abortions and kill and hurt more women. This is just one of the reasons why I believe that a McCain/Palin ticket would be DANGEROUS and BAD for our country. Their judicial appointments would most definitely put the Supreme Court into a position to repeal Roe v. Wade, push the decision back to the states, and throw our country back into the dark ages in the areas of actually affirming life.
An Obama/Biden administration is all about getting people out of poverty, giving young people opportunities and dreams, and valuing human life in all of its forms and stages. Life is valuable. Babies should not be killed. But there are some behaviors that you don't change by making laws. You change them by changing hearts. Changing hearts is all about love, education, nurturing, opportunity, and self-esteem. Turning pregnant teens and those who try to save their lives into criminals is antithetical to that.
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