Wednesday, September 12, 2007

NJ Supreme Court: Jury's Still Out on When Life Begins

The New Jersey Supreme Court voted unanimously that a doctor has no obligation to tell a woman seeking an abortion that the embryo is an "existing human being."

"On the profound issue of when life begins, this court cannot drive public policy in one particular direction by the engine of the common law when the opposing sides, which represent so many of our citizens, are arrayed along a deep societal and philosophical divide," New Jersey Justice Barry T. Albin wrote for the court.

So basically, people can think what they want. This ruling in essence dropped a lawsuit of a woman whose story is quite convoluted. In 1996 a woman named Rose Acuna went to her doctor at around the 6th or 7th week of her 4th pregnancy. The doctor told her that she needed an abortion because her kidneys were "messing up." She asked if "the baby was already there," and the doctor said not to worry, "it's only blood." The doctor performed the abortion, but she had to go back to the hospital because the abortion was incomplete. One of the nurses told Acuna that the procedure was necessary because the doctor "had left parts of the baby inside of (her)." Acuna took this to mean that she consented to an abortion under false pretenses.

When it comes to arguments between pro-choicers and pro-lifers, I don't even like to call it a battle of semantics. It's really an argument of whether or not we're going to tell women the truth and give women medically accurate information. I have to give Acuna the benefit of the doubt. While I don't know how a woman who has been pregnant four times can not know what pregnancy is, I'm not going to judge her for her ignorance. It could be a product of a bunch of environmental factors. What I do know is that medical professionals have to be medical professionals. If I wanted to know whether there was blood inside me or what pregnancy and babies are, I would have consulted Wikipedia. The doctor should have told Acuna the truth; obviously a pregnancy is more than "just blood." The nurse shouldn't have called parts of the embryo still inside Acuna "the baby." Sometimes I just want to yell this through a megaphone: "Women are not too weak or stupid to handle the truth!"

But my favorite reaction to the ruling . . .

Marie Tasy, executive director of the anti-abortion group New Jersey Right to Life, decried the ruling. "My reaction is that once again the court relies on an outdated schizophrenic mentality to the detriment of women and indulges in semantic gymnastics to avoid the indisputable fact that a child in the womb is a human being," she said.

"Outdated?" She's the one who wants to roll back women's rights. "Schizophrenic?" What can be more "schizophrenic" than pro-lifers who believe abortion is murder but don't know what should happen to the women who get them? "The indisputable fact that a child in the womb is a human being?" Who's "indulging in semantic gymnastics" now?

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