My morning on March 5th started with an email from NARAL Pro-Choice Arizona informing me about H.B.2036, yet another attack on women’s access to abortion services. This bill would ban abortions 20 weeks with no exceptions. Period.
Personally, I’m against restricting valid and safe medical procedures. There are plenty of reasons to end a pregnancy at 20 weeks or beyond and I think the majority of these terminations are going to be for medical reasons or for the health of the mother. Because I realize this is yet another attempt to chip away at abortion rights I was moved to email my state representatives. Later that night I received a response from one of them, Representative Terri Proud a House republican. I was rather surprised by her message and was left with a feeling that she really didn’t like women or at least didn’t care about them all that much. The tone of the email didn’t feel professional, or like it came from someone in government. I receive plenty of I don’t agree with you and I’m not voting the way you want me to responses from US Senators McCain and Kyl. Perhaps it was because she was burning the midnight oil when she replied? The email was sent at 6 minutes til midnight. Who knows, but I was a bit surprised. You can read her response in the quote below.
I set the email aside after starting a response once or twice and discarding it. There was little likelihood that I would alter her vote. She’s determined to chip away at abortion rights and this was the latest vehicle. I was bothered by her unprofessional email response. On the fourth day of mulling over things, a response poured forth. A response I doubt she bothered to read, but none-the-less one that I was proud of writing and shared with several friends.
Because I feel strongly that abortion is a medical procedure that should be available to any woman who needs one I considered what else I might do with my emailed response and how I might share her response with a wider audience. This is someone who is making laws, who seems to be somewhat vicious towards women who are seeking an abortion
Two points I’d like to make in advance of our correspondence. The error in her name is accidental, I didn’t realize it until today when I was looking it over to post it in my blog. I did think it quite amusing. Secondly, I realize a 20 week old fetus is more than a clump of cells, also realize that the 1100+ bills introduced in the legislatures nationwide are part of a broad attack on women’s right and ability to access abortion. The details are mere drops of rain in the deluge. My response is directed towards the overall attack and not the specific details in this particular bill. I look forward to the day when abortion is no longer part of the political debate.
The original message was to urge Rep. Terri Proud to vote no on H.B.2036 which bans abortion at 20 weeks with no exceptions. Period. This was her response….
“Personally I’d like to make a law that mandates a woman watch an abortion being performed prior to having a “surgical procedure”. If it’s not a life it shouldn’t matter, if it doesn’t harm a woman then she shouldn’t care, and don’t we want more transparency and education in the medical profession anyway? We demand it everywhere else.
Until the dead child can tell me that she/he does not feel any pain – I have no intentions of clearing the conscience of the living – I will be voting YES.” ~Terri Proud – Arizona House of Representatives
And my response….
Dear Ms. Loud, [Proud] (oops! Freudian slip?!!)
Thank you for your opinion. I would also like to remind you that you were elected to represent Arizonans, it is your responsibility and obligation as an elected official to take into consideration what all your constitutes have to say. I do not believe your personal feelings represent the whole of Arizona nor do I believe that your views have in the best interest Arizona families at heart. Who can better decide what is right for her family than the primary caregiver which usually happens to be a woman. If she feels she cannot care for another child at this time who are you to try to force her to do so? Whatever the circumstance.
Since you believe that we are demanding more transparency in medical matters, I look forward to seeing the introduction of bills which will provide equal protection for men and women. I hope that everyone will be watching a video for every single surgical procedure that they can possibly undergo so they will fully understand what is about to happen to their body. I also think every pregnant woman who is going to give birth in a hospital should be required to watch the documentary “Pregnant in America”. In the interest of full disclosure, of course.
I feel men are particularly at risk, and I’m grateful to see bills have been introduced in other states to help take care of a long neglected area of men’s health care. In my experience as a health care provider, I find that is usually women who are well informed regarding medical procedures and health concerns; and it’s the men who often have little to no interest in their health at all, unless there is a pressing situation. Usually its the wife who encourages them to go see the doctor in the first place when there is a health concern.
I commend the legislators who are bringing bills to the floor which are taking these important steps to protect men’s health. Legislation that will require men to view videos on what happens if they experience a 4 hour erection due to medication such as Viagra. A rectal exam to insure their prostate is in good health prior to being prescribed Viagra or other erectile dysfunction medications. A stress test is also a great idea; we wouldn’t want those with erectile dysfunction dropping from heart attacks due to increased sexual activity. As there can be serious medical reasons why the penis does not function as it should, a simple prescription does not rule out or remedy these medical concerns.
While legislation for men’s health concerns might seem ridiculous or unnecessary, it makes perfect sense in light of 1100 bills being brought to house and senate floors nationwide over the last year alone, clearly the republican agenda is very focused on healthcare and concern for women’s health and we should not leave men out of the picture! It’s unfair! They are contributing half of the genetic material which will fertilize an egg, and as a woman of childbearing age, I am very concerned about any male genetic material that may come in contact with my yet unfertilized potential humans that I’m lugging around in my ovaries. If every sperm is sacred, then it must be treated as such. Will you be proposing the outlaw of vasectomies? How about eliminating foods which are detrimental to human health and therefore also the quality of eggs and sperm being produced? Of particular concern is genetically modified foods, simple carbohydrates, chemicals, food additives, preservatives, toxins in our food and water supply, need I go on?
Your comment “…don’t we want more transparency and education in the medical profession anyway?” Actually I think the medical profession is very well educated, perhaps it’s the lay person in the legislature who should be educated by the medical professionals. All of the medical professionals who I have spoken with severely object to the interference of the state legislatures in medical affairs between a doctor and his or her patient.
Your comments “If it’s not a life it shouldn’t matter, if it doesn’t harm a woman then she shouldn’t care”. It seems like you’re completely ignoring the fact that the woman is a living breathing feeling human walking on this planet right now. Her life does matter, the life of her family matters, her quality of life matters, the quality of life for her existing children matter, she does care, these decisions are not easy to make, but each woman needs to decide for herself what is right for her and her family and she doesn’t need the help of her government to make this decision. These unnecessary medical procedures, laws and regulations harm her and her family. To suggest otherwise shows how unfeeling, callous and cruel you really are. From a tone of your email, the message I took away is I really don’t think you like women. You have more concern for a clump of cells that is 100 percent dependent upon her in order to emerge into this world as a functional human being.
I have zero regrets. My conscience is clear. And I am grateful everyday for the decisions that I made more than 20 years ago. I believe that every child should be wanted and planned and I will continue to work towards this goal. I will continue to fight for women’s health, reproductive rights and against people like you.
March 9th 2012
Watch democracy in action as they whittle away women’s rights. Arizona State Senate Committee on Judiciary 2/27/2012