I had planned another blog post for today - one I've been ruminating about for the last couple of days. Often, ideas for posts come to me as I walk or read or find quiet moments throughout my day, and this one was no exception. But I was derailed by the issue that has screamed its way in to my email inbox and plastered itself across my Facebook page every day this week - HR 358.
[H.R.358 would allow hospitals to refuse to provide a woman emergency, lifesaving abortion care, even if she will die without it.]
Anyone who reads my blog can easily peg me as someone who ardently supports a woman's right to make her own health care decisions - proudly "pro-choice." And despite having grown up with that right in place (I won't say firmly), I have never considered myself as someone who takes abortion rights for granted. That said, I didn't truly believe it was possible for the House of Representatives to pass this bill today. I live in an area where my state representative shares my conviction on this issue, relieving me from any email efforts to remind him where I stand. He voted against the bill just like I knew he would. But that didn't mitigate my complete and utter shock at the news that the bill passed anyway.
I'm not sure what I find more perplexing about this.
1. That politicians would presume to tell physicians - professionals who have undergone years of specialized training in healthcare issues - how to do their jobs. Physicians do take an oath to "first do no harm" upon passing the bar and beginning their practice. It seems to me that letting a woman die when there is a life-saving procedure available to her violates that oath. Egregiously.
2. That despite the much more pressing issues facing our country (recession, wars, a broken healthcare system), and the certain knowledge that should this bill find its way on to President Obama's desk, he will veto it, they insisted on spending time and energy and money putting it to a vote. For what? To send a message? Believe me, the public is clear about Boehner's intentions to end legalized abortion in the United States. We don't need the message in any other terms. We get it. This is the seventh time a bill attempting to restrict abortions in the U.S. has been up for a vote this year.
I must say, I'm past being disgusted and fully immersed in confusion at this point. Are politicians so completely out of touch with what is going on in the country that they think this is pressing work? Have they become such automatons in their belief that it is important for them to wield their power to make laws and push specific agendas that they have lost the ability to be flexible and respond to what the people of our country are dealing with on a daily basis?