2004.10.20 – 14 days and counting…

Yes, it is almost time to step into that polling place and cast your ballot for the next President of this great land we call the United States. It is time to put aside all the political smear campaign tactics and look at the facts. To consider the ideals and policies of each candidate and make a truly informed decision.

In your quest for good information, I would love to help you with a little bit of great information. I realize that my opinion is not always what the mainstream enjoys, but I have a great hypothetical scenario for each of you to consider. It is on my number one issue – Choice. Whether you are pro or anti choice, it is always good to consider all the facts. So – without further ado – one girl’s sad story of the days after Election 2000.

It is a dreary night in December of 2001 and Clara, (for lack of a better name) a 16 year old high school junior, is sitting silently in her bedroom. This afternoon she visited her doctor and received some shocking news. The news was twofold and both pieces of information would be taken badly. First, the doctor did not want to grant the request of Clara to administer her birth control pills. The doctor remarked on the fact that it was a moral decision on her part. She felt, as a Catholic, that it was immoral to give birth control to anyone, because it was just as bad as abortion in the eyes of her God. Clara, did not understand how the doctor could inflict her religious beliefs on her patients, but she was willing to overlook it and find another doctor who would prescribe the pill. The second piece of information was slightly worse. Clara had contracted HIV. A look of horror came over Clara and she asked the doctor how this was possible? The doctor told her that she had most likely contracted it from sexual intercourse, seeing that Clara was neither an intervenus drug user or had had any surgery in the past 10 years that would have involved a blood transfusion. Clara thought back to 2 months ago when she did have her first sexual experience and still didn’t quite understand. The doctor told her that it would be best if she discussed the matter with her parents and Clara left the office.

Let us stop here to consider that Clara was attending a public high school that had recently (in the last year) instituted an “abstinence only” sex ed program, signed into law by our newly appointed President. Clara’s parents were not forthcoming with sexual information and had absolutely no intention of ever speaking to her about it. They figured that “out of sight, out of mind” was the best defense, but obviously this tact didn’t work.

Clara begins treatment for her HIV infection in January of 2002 and thankfully (because of her young age and the good condition of her body) she is able to take well to the medication. She is, however, forced into a feeling of shame and ignorance from her classmates and doesn’t have another intimate relationship through the rest of her high school career.

November 2, 2004 – President Bush is re-elected as the leader of the United States.

May 29, 2007 – Clara attends her College graduation and gets a job offer from a non-profit organization that helps HIV patients deal with the disease. They feel that Clara’s background in dealing with her own symptoms and the fact that she has a bachelors degree in psychology will make her a perfect candidate for the position. The pay isn’t fantastic, but Clara jumps at the chance to work with others and use her personal experience and college education for a good cause. In light of the fact that the job is somewhat low-paying, Clara is forced to move into a somewhat less desirable neighbourhood, but she is not deterred.

One night in 2008, Clara is walking home from work and suddenly is grabbed from behind and dragged into an alleyway. The attacker rapes her and then flees. Clara, although shaken and certainly upset about what has happened, immediately goes to the emergency room. After the rape kit is done, Clara requests a morning after pill, so that she will not have to worry about becomming pregnant from this incident. The doctor informs her that due to new laws, they are no longer able to give the morning after pill to patients. It has been taken out of circulation by the FDA under the provisions in the overturn of Roe vs. Wade, which had passed in 2007 under the current President.

Upset over the incident and enraged over the fact that a drug previously available to victims of sexual crimes is now not available, Clara returns home and crosses her fingers that the incident will not fertilize. Unfortunately, Clara’s prayers go unanswered and a few weeks later she returns to the local women’s health clinic that she attends to find out that she is, indeed, pregnant.

At this point Clara inquires about the possibility of an abortion. Obviously, if they won’t give her the morning after pill, she is sure that safe and legal abortions are not available either. She is right. Overturning Roe vs. Wade was the first step in the rewind of the clock. In the court decision there were no provisions made for rape victims or individuals with life threatening illnesses. Remember, although the disease is pretty much under control, Clara still has HIV. Rather than attempting to find a cure for HIV, the government has concentrated it’s efforts on turning back the clock on women’s rights, which has left Clara in a horrific situation. HIV positive and pregnant, with no health care available to her that would relieve either of these problems.

The doctors tell her that it is possible, in some cases, for HIV inflicted patients to have healthy babies, so once again Clara crosses her fingers, says a few prayers and hopes that everything will turn out fine.

8 months into her pregnancy and Clara visits her doctor. A problem has been detected with the fetus and the doctor informs Clara that the child appears to be dead. A few more tests are done and it is determined that, in fact, the child is not living. Clara inquires as to what the next step is and the doctor informs her that there isn’t anything they can do at this point. The partial birth abortion ban that was passed in 2001 forbid the practice to be done in any circumstance, even if it meant the demise of both child and mother. Since it was a procedure that was esentially outlawed, medical schools stopped teaching it within the curriculum. This meant that there were most likely no doctors in her area that were able to perform the surgery. Clara was floored by this news. What was she to do? The doctor was telling her that her baby was dead. There was not a doctor able to take care of the problem and because she was HIV positive she most likely would not be able to carry the baby for longer than 24 hours before Clara’s own immune system began to deteriorate.

In the end, Clara and her baby are lost.

This is a hypothetical example of many different situations that could be prevented by simply leaving the laws the way they are in this “free” country and not trying to oppress women by taking away civil liberties. The President thinks that by passing legislation to roll back Roe vs. Wade, he is saving lives. He is WRONG. More lives will be lost by virtue of the fact that women will still seek out abortions. Making them illegal will not end the practice and both woman and child will die in the process.

We have already begun this cycle with the passing of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban. This ban did not take into consideration cases where the mothers life is at risk. This isn’t a rare case. Women have trouble late in pregnancy more often than we can imagine and telling them that they have no recourse, no healthcare for these situations is akin to something that would happen in an underdeveloped country. Somewhere that women are still looked upon as second class citizens.

We are better than this.

Vote Kerry and look toward a future with equal rights and healthcare for all!


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