FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Legislators and Women’s Bodies

In one day, the federal government and the state of Florida stepped in to control the physical autonomy of a woman’s body.

In Washington, the Senate passed to so-called “partial birth abortion” ban, a gruesomely named procedure for an equally gruesome process that is only used by doctors in the second and third trimester of pregnancy to save the life or health of the mother. The procedure is rarely used, and with good reason. For the doctor and the mother, the procedure is a heartwrenching process in which painful choices have been made.

The Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade makes abortions in the first and second trimesters legal. Third trimester abortions are banned except to protect the health or save the life of the mother. The new law, expected to be signed by Bush immediately, in effect makes third semester abortions illegal altogether, and may do the same for some second trimester abortions.

Also yesterday, that crazy state of Florida enacted a law allowing Gov. Bush to order that feeding tubes be reinserted into 39-year-old Terri Schiavo, a woman who has been in a vegetative state for 13 years. Terry is not in a coma, and could live years longer, but to what end? Court-appointed doctors have reported that she has no cognitive abilities.

Her parents have objected to the removal of life-sustaining fluids, and their supporters have flooded the Internet with videos of Schiavo laughing and talking. When she did that is anyone’s guess, but it certainly has not been in recent years. Doctors say any physical responses are reflexive and not intentional acts.

Every court that has heard the case has ruled in favor of the husband. These include all the state higher courts, the federal courts, and the Supreme Court that refused to grant her parent’s appeal of the Florida court order that allowed the removal of feeding tubes.

The legal issue is not as clear as civil libertarians would hope. In 1990, the Supreme Court ruled that a state can impose a high standard of proof on a proponent of removal of life-sustaining fluids when the patient has no advance medical directive. That case, Cruzan v. Missouri, left the door open for the state of Missouri to keep Cruzan alive, in spite of her parents’ pleas (Cruzan was not married).

Baby brother Bush has learned well from his big brother how to be an imperial leader, denying his subjects civil liberties. Gov. Bush earlier this year ordered the appointment of a guardian ad litem for the fetus of a mentally retarded woman who was raped in a Florida home for adults. He wanted to be sure the woman did not have an abortion (she did not, nor did she ever indicate that she would), even though an abortion would have been entirely legal under Florida law. In a statement last night, Bush said he was not “playing God.” Maybe he was just playing Machiavelli, then. He was definitely playing all-powerful-panderer to the political right.

Aside from the legal and ethical implications of the Florida and federal legislation, ask yourself this question: If these were men’s lives we were dealing with, would the law be ordering what should be done with their bodies?

I think not. In fact, I am sure that it would not.

ELAINE CASSEL practices law in Virginia and the District of Columbia, teachers law and psychology, and follows the Bush regime’s dismantling of the Constitution at Civil Liberties Watch. She can be reached at: ecassel1@cox.net

 

More articles by:
August 16, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
“Don’t Be Stupid, Be a Smarty”: Why Anti-Authoritarian Doctors Are So Rare
W. T. Whitney
New Facebook Alliance Endangers Access to News about Latin America
Ramzy Baroud
Mission Accomplished: Why Solidarity Boats to Gaza Succeed Despite Failing to Break the Siege
Larry Atkins
Why Parkland Students, Not Trump, Deserve the Nobel Peace Prize
William Hartung
Donald Trump, Gunrunner for Hire
Yves Engler
Will Trudeau Stand Up to Mohammad bin Salman?
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Morality Tales in US Public Life?
Vijay Prashad
Samir Amin: Death of a Marxist
Binoy Kampmark
Boris Johnson and the Exploding Burka
Eric Toussaint
Nicaragua: The Evolution of the Government of President Daniel Ortega Since 2007 
Adolf Alzuphar
Days of Sagebrush, Nights of Jasmine in LA
Robert J. Burrowes
A Last Ditch Strategy to Fight for Human Survival
August 15, 2018
Jason Hirthler
Russiagate and the Men with Glass Eyes
Paul Street
Omarosa’s Book Tour vs. Forty More Murdered Yemeni Children
Charles Pierson
Is Bankruptcy in Your Future?
George Ochenski
The Absolute Futility of ‘Global Dominance’ in the 21st Century
Gary Olson
Are We Governed by Secondary Psychopaths
Fred Guerin
On News, Fake News and Donald Trump
Arshad Khan
A Rip Van Winkle President Sleeps as Proof of Man’s Hand in Climate Change Multiplies and Disasters Strike
P. Sainath
The Unsung Heroism of Hausabai
Georgina Downs
Landmark Glyphosate Cancer Ruling Sets a Precedent for All Those Affected by Crop Poisons
Rev. William Alberts
United We Kneel, Divided We Stand
Chris Gilbert
How to Reactivate Chavismo
Kim C. Domenico
A Coffeehouse Hallucination: The Anti-American Dream Dream
August 14, 2018
Daniel Falcone
On Taking on the Mobilized Capitalist Class in Elections: an Interview With Noam Chomsky
Karl Grossman
Turning Space Into a War Zone
Jonah Raskin
“Fuck Wine Grapes, Fuck Wines”: the Coming Napafication of the World
Manuel García, Jr.
Climate Change Bites Big Business
Alberto Zuppi - Cesar Chelala
Argentina at a Crossroads
Chris Wright
On “Bullshit Jobs”
Rosita A. Sweetman
Dear Jorge: On the Pope’s Visit to Ireland
Binoy Kampmark
Authoritarian Revocations: Australia, Terrorism and Citizenship
Sara Johnson
The Incredible Benefits of Sagebrush and Juniper in the West
Martin Billheimer
White & Red Aunts, Capital Gains and Anarchy
Walter Clemens
Enough Already! Donald J. Trump Resignation Speech
August 13, 2018
Michael Colby
Migrant Injustice: Ben & Jerry’s Farmworker Exploitation
John Davis
California: Waging War on Wildfire
Alex Strauss
Chasing Shadows: Socialism Won’t Go Away Because It is Capitalism’s Antithesis 
Kathy Kelly
U.S. is Complicit in Child Slaughter in Yemen
Fran Shor
The Distemper of White Spite
Chad Hanson
We Know How to Protect Homes From Wildfires. Logging Isn’t the Way to Do It
Faisal Khan
Nawaz Sharif: Has Pakistan’s Houdini Finally Met his End?
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Versus Journalism: the Travails of Fourth Estate
Wim Laven
Honestly Looking at Family Values
Fred Gardner
Exploiting Styron’s Ghost
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail