Join On The Issues
Receive information and updates via email.Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /var/www/vhosts/ontheissuesmagazine.com/httpdocs/includes/sidea_column_acc_current_Win11.php on line 5
No, Joe Walsh: Women Do Not Have Nine Lives
by Merle Hoffman, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief
OCT 12, 2012
Congressman Joe Walsh says abortions never save women’s lives.
He’s wrong. Here’s one story out of many:
This happened in 1989. Very publicly.
Nancy Klein, a pregnant Long Island woman rendered comatose by a car accident, was finally given an abortion, woke up, and once again was able to recognize her husband Martin and her daughter Arielle, four.
I, along with another abortion rights activist — Bill Baird — joined forces with Nancy Klein's husband to make this happen.
Klein’s husband wanted her to have an abortion because, based on medical advice, he firmly believed that continuing the pregnancy would kill her. The people I call the “antis" (they are not pro anything except controlling women’s bodies) took Martin Klein to three courts and the state supreme court to stop the abortion by fighting his petition for guardianship of his wife.
I can still see the pain in this accountant-husband’s eyes as he fought for his wife’s life against strangers who placed themselves as “guardian at litem” for the fetus.
So here we are in 2012, and people like Joe Walsh are still spewing dangerous misinformation about women's bodies. If Mitt Romney is elected, it won’t be 1989 in this country. It will be 1971, before Roe v. Wade made abortion legal nationally. It will be very much like the year I opened one of the first abortion clinics in the country, in Queens, New York — a state ahead of the curve in reproductive rights. The first patient who came to Choices, my clinic, came from New Jersey because abortion was illegal in that state. If Mitt Romney gets his Personhood Amendment passed, abortion will be illegal in every state.
Women are not cats. They do not have nine lives. And the one life a woman does have could very easily be lost if she does not have an abortion when she needs one. Cancer, severe renal and heart disease, and severe diabetes are all pre-pregnancy conditions that can threaten a woman’s life, requiring her to have an abortion if she becomes pregnant. Now, that decision is a hard choice. Under President Romney, there would be no choice.
Since the nuance of medical literature is clearly beyond Walsh and his ilk, I’ll describe another situation in which, indeed, women do die when abortion is unavailable to them.
Even with the “modern technology” to which Walsh alludes.
Ectopic pregnancy is a complicated condition in which the embryo implants outside the uterus. With rare exceptions, ectopic pregnancies are not viable. They are also very dangerous for a woman, since internal hemorrhaging, a life-threatening complication, can occur. Ectopic pregnancy is a potential medical emergency and, if not treated properly, can lead to death.
I hope these facts help women see the truth. I will see it tomorrow — October 20 — when more than 200 protestors are expected outside my clinic to bully, harass, and intimidate patients on their way inside. Tomorrow it will feel like 1971 all over again to me.
So remember your family values, Walsh, Todd Akin, and friends: the life and health of women is the fulcrum around which the family and society turn. A woman’s life is a human life and one that must be honored. A woman’s choice is hers alone and one that must be protected.
Rachael posted: 2013-01-07 13:36:42
I just finished watching the show 'Absolute Strangers'. I was amazed that the 'anti abortionists' would take it upon themselves to get in the middle of a personal family tragedy. I believe it is the right of the woman in question to do as she feels right, or in this situation, as is best for her medically. Her husband did what he felt was right to save his wifes life. I also read that his wife supported his decision when she learned of it later. That right there states that her constitutional rights were upheld by the courts.
Join the conversation. Leave a comment.
All comments will be reviewed before being published. This is a space for thoughtful and critical commentary; any personal attacks, abusive or offensive language, off-topic comments or comments that may be harmful to the conversation or to readers will not be published. *All fields required.*
What’s concerning us, feminists and progressives? From the front lines to the back burners, our angle on vital matters on our minds and popping up in the news.
ENTER HOT TOPICS
The Love of Strangers by Merle Hoffman
"She Had a Heartbeat Too" The Tragic Death of Savita Halappanavar in an Irish Hospital by Ann Rossiter
First Irish Abortion Clinic Opens Amid Controversy, Threats and Confusion by Caelainn Hogan
Forty Years After Roe V Wade, Getting an Abortion is Still a Major Challenge by Eleanor J. Bader
It's Up to Us to Defend Abortion Rights by Mary Lou Greenberg
Back and Forth by Judith Arcana
The Poet's Eye: Curated by Judith Arcana
Suggested Reading by Anna Platt and the Feminist Press
Related Articles, January 2013