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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

New bills don’t limit abortion; they just make it worse

It seems silly to keep writing about the Arizona Legislature as if it were a legitimate lawmaking body, rather than, as I’m beginning to suspect, some vast experiment in performance art.

But a bill passed Monday in the state House of Representatives became part of a recently reignited national trend to make abortion as difficult to access and uncomfortable to undergo as possible. Because, you know, it used to be fun.

Therein lies one of the most awful aspects of the Republican Party’s recent assault on women’s reproductive rights. Newsflash, GOP: Abortion isn’t enjoyable. No woman wakes up in the morning thinking, “”You know, today I think it’d be a blast to terminate a pregnancy.”” But it is legal, under federal law. And just like any other patient undergoing any other procedure, women receiving legal abortions have the right to a safe experience that limits physical and psychological damage as much as possible.

The Arizona Legislature doesn’t seem to think that’s the case. House Bill 2416 would require doctors to offer women the opportunity to see an ultrasound image and hear the heartbeat, if audible, of the fetus at least an hour before the abortion is performed. This seems reasonable at first, but the law itself would be unnecessary, and its motives cruel.

Lawmakers don’t have to require doctors to perform ultrasounds before an abortion; a qualified medical team would do so only if it were medically necessary to ensure the procedure would be safe for the woman. It’s not up to the Legislature, with little medical knowledge, to decide what medical procedures should be mandatory. Politicizing the way a medical process is performed has the potential to make it more difficult and more expensive to obtain that process.

But the really brutal aspect of the bill comes with the stipulation that doctors must at least offer women the chance to see the ultrasound and hear the heartbeat. The motivation for that, as has been the case in several other states proposing such measures, is to dissuade women from having their abortions at the last minute.

Again, this constitutes an infringement on doctors’ ability to do their job well. The decision to undergo an abortion should be between a woman, those close to her and her physician, and legislative meddling gets in the way of that very important relationship. Moreover, much as these lawmakers want to pretend otherwise, women are still going to get abortions no matter what hoops they’re made to jump through. All this law would do is make women more likely to endure intense depression and guilt about their abortions. This seems to be just what the lawmakers are hoping, and that is sick.

Stigmatizing women who receive abortions, and attempting to make a difficult decision even more painful and dangerous, is a despicable way to go about making a political statement. Many “”pro-life”” legislators cite their faith as the reason for their opposition to abortion. But any faith tradition I know of, when stripped of the pollution of politics and hate, would first and foremost advocate respect, humanity and dignity for all people, understanding of differences, and above all, love. Alienating women who make a choice with their own bodies, and attempting to make their lives as miserable as possible, upholds none of these values.

— Heather Price-Wright is the assistant arts editor for the Daily Wildcat. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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