Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Dead women don't, and can't give life.

What a morbid thought, correct?

In Canada, 26 years ago today the Supreme Court decision R. v. Morgentaler  removed legal obstacles preventing women from accessing abortion - a medical procedure under the purview of professionals who administer the public health care system.

But in Texas where the rights of corporations, guns and fetus are promoted by Bible-thumpers who claim they represent the will of God the Father, the laws of the state can desecrate and violate the rights of ordinary living breathing people.

If there are profits to be made, weapons to be cherished and a zygote, embryo or fetus to be deployed as a weapon in the War On Women, you can bet that rightwing religious fundamentalist Republican legislators will be there to shrieeekingly defend those rights.

This happened.
Marlise, a 33-year old paramedic, got up the night of Nov. 26 to fix a bottle for her toddler son.

Her husband Erick, also a paramedic and a firefighter, woke up and realized she had not returned to bed.

He found Marlise collapsed on the floor, not breathing and with no pulse. It’s believed she suffered a blood clot to the lung that deprived her of oxygen for more than an hour.

Erick frantically performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation and called an ambulance. Marlise was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth and connected to a ventilator to artificially simulate breathing.

It was too late. Marlise was gone. According to court filings, doctors knew this within two days, after tests registered a complete absence of brain function. This was not a “coma” or “vegetative state.” It is the legal and medical definition of dead.
Marlise Muñoz was an emergency medical technician, a paramedic familiar with end-of-life issues who had told her husband that she would not want to be kept "alive" by machines.

Her family hired a lawyer; a rational, sane judge heard their arguments and ordered the hospital to stop preserving the decaying body of their beloved in a technologically-assisted embalmed state.  Marlise had been declared medically and legally dead; in trying to protect the rights of the fetus as it believed Texas law instructed it to do, the hospital (or fetushists on staff) turned her into a "cadaverous incubator". More medical information here, from Dr Jen Gunter.

THIS is the nightmare that CPC MPs Vellacott and Woodworth would inflict upon Canadian women and their families.

Knight of Columbus Stephen Woodworth claims how "savage and inhumane it is to have a law on the Canadian books which falsely condemns as non-human people who are human" - quite a whopper of a word-salad obfuscation. Women have tried to instruct this obdurate Vatican Taliban foot-soldier on how women experience pregnancy — wanted or not — but he won't listen.  In his mind, he is a grandiloquent medieval cavalier, "saving" fetus everywhere and forcing women to carry unwanted pregnancies to term.

"Savage and inhumane" is exactly the treatment that women would suffer if *fetus rights* forced hospitals to use women like meat incubators to placate anti-choice zealots' ideologically-dictated demands.  Would gestating women who smoke, who drink alcohol, who eat the "wrong" food, who are addicted to legal or illegal drugs and who have sex while pregnant, get strapped down and supervised to prevent actions that could imperil their fetus?

Not in my Canada.  

I applaud the recent commentary in the Canadian Medical Association Journal as well as those who are urging Health Canada to approve mifepristone as a physician-facilitated medical abortion. Also known as RU486, it is administered very early in the pregnancy instead of surgery. It induces a miscarriage, similar to spontaneous abortions that occur frequently during the first trimester.

In support of Canadian women's ongoing push-back against the reactionary individuals and groups who would deprive them of basic reproductive rights, I will continue writing and tweeting on these issues.

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