Effect Measure

The McCain Women’s Clinic

It’s Presidential politics time, so here’s something to think about: the threat to the health of women. In my early medical career I spent some time running down to emergency rooms to meet women bleeding out from botched illegal abortions. That wasn’t so long ago, although most people have no idea what those days were like. I worry that under a McCain presidency they’ll get a chance to find out. At the McCain Women’s Clinic:


  1. #1 Ren
    August 26, 2008

    I have to disagree with you on this one. Way too many people would stand in the way of a McCain administration to allow abortion to be outlawed. Namely, the US Congress, headed by Pelosi and Reed, would never allow it. You would almost have to wait for a “miracle” for Republicans to recover both houses of Congress and the White House. Yes, the President has some control, but not all control. Only a leadership in Congress with some semblance of a spine is needed to prevent it.

  2. #2 Dunc
    August 26, 2008

    Way too many people would stand in the way of a McCain administration to allow abortion to be outlawed.

    You don’t need to actually outlaw it to make it effectively unavailable for the vast majority of people.

  3. #3 Joel
    August 26, 2008

    Only a leadership in Congress with some semblance of a spine is needed to prevent it.

    Ren hits the nail on the head and it is too bad there will never be such a thing.

  4. #4 revere
    August 26, 2008

    Ren: It’s not congress, it’s the Supreme Court. If Roe v. Wade is reversed, then each state can make its own laws on this matter. What cases reach the Supreme Court is also affected by decisions in the lower courts which the President also influences by appointments. It’s also Executive Branch policies that affect practices (cf. abstinence education). So it’s not just abortion but it is abortion too.

  5. #5 revere
    August 26, 2008

    Joel: There has been such leadership on some issues in the past, e.g., the voting Rights Act. This is a nihilistic position not borne out by history and also certain to instill inaction and a paralyzing cynicism. It should be avoided, IMO. I agree the current Democratic leadership is gutless and spineless. We need better Democrats. Visit ActBlue.

  6. #6 M. Randolph Kruger
    August 26, 2008

    My opinion which no one cares about is that it should be outlawed. On the other hand if its going to be there then I demand that it be safe but paid for by the people who are pregnant and the Daddydontwannabes. No tax dollars.

    Further, as far as forcing insurance companies to pay for birth control pills that is something they have to decide on… not be mandated. The government covers Viagra and I have no idea why, and also I think they shouldnt. On one hand they want an oversexed population, but then they dont want anyone to get pregnant.

    How does that work?

  7. #7 limes
    August 26, 2008


    You do know that Reid is anti-choice, don’t you?

    Anyway I doubt the Republicans will outlaw any and all abortion in all cases because it’s such a useful tool to get the fundagelicals to vote (“No, no, THIS TIME we’ll finally stop it”) and a slim majority of Americans support the right to choose in some form. (See this Pew report thing.)

  8. #8 llewelly
    August 26, 2008

    Only a leadership in Congress with some semblance of a spine is needed to prevent it.

    That was all that is needed for the impeachment of George W. Bush. That has been all that is need for an end to US idiocy in Iraq.

  9. #9 Ren
    August 26, 2008

    Folks, I totally forgot about the Court and the sad state of things when they decide to legislate from the bench. Someone once said that the most powerful man in the world was actually Justice Kennedy, who is a swing voter all the time. And it is also a sad state of affairs when the President legislates from his (or, eventually, her) desk. Then again, we live in a Republic, where common sense answers need to be debated by many without such sense. I’m not surprised that we keep referencing that “if we can put a man on the moon…” since that’s about the one really good thing accomplished in ten years or less in this country.

  10. #10 Cathie Currie
    August 26, 2008

    Policy operates at many levels. Classes in policy analysis teach an abstract view of objectives, principles, and positions if my experiences at Columbia are typical. Never mind how messy the issue is at the level of reality that most of us live in.

    So two sides face off on abortion policy. One side claims to “have values” and portrays the other side as valueless proponents of infanticide, including those of us who use birth control. Never mind that ‘their people’ abort and use birth control at the same rate as the pro-choice people. The pro-choice side values the health of women — forgets to argue that health is a valid value, and then after assuring that abortion and birth control are legal, they rest on their laurels.

    Both side forget that the objective is to reduce abortion by the most humane means to as close to nil as possible. One side wants to just cut off abortion without regard for women�s lives; the other side just ensures that abortion is legal. No incremental problem solving goes forward.

    Policy analysts need to meet people who have faced the question for which they claim the inside track. Only then can they see what is entailed to make their particular policy position workable.

    I sit with a friend who, though she is a staunch Catholic, is several hours post partial birth abortion. She has asked for my support because, as she says, “You will put it right.” Right is that the previous medical tests failed to detect profound birth defects of a fetus who, with exceptional care, might have lived at most a few months to a couple of years. Right is that there are many very responsible religions and countries that allow for medical necessity. Right is that all of the people who were so dearly angry with her have never faced the decision she faced. Right is that those same people would not stop their lives, for more than the required ceremonial visit, to help her care for a child who needed constant care. Right is that those same people, when my friend exceeded the 12 personal days per year she is allowed in her job, would not go through their rolodex to find a job with the necessary unlimited personal days. Right is that few companies would offer her a position even close to resembling her current work, if they knew she was caring for a high-needs infant. Right is that the government would do little if anything to assist in the care and exceptional expenses. Right is that her husband, who so wanted a son, would eventually resent the loss of her attention and the profound change in their social and financial situation. Right is that many people, including those who demand that she continue her pregnancy, would expect her to keep the deformed child from their sight. Right is that those same people, rather than consider the statistical odds, would suspect that she was in some way responsible for the woe that had befallen her. I concluded, “In a better world, you would have been able to keep your pregnancy. The way the world is in the US today, I don’t see how you could.” And then I pointed out that those self-same people who demanded that her abortion be criminalized, would avail themselves to it at the same rate as those who viewed it as a medical decision.

    Policy is ultimately intimately personal. Policy analysts need to walk their way through personal cases, like the one above, to understand what it would take to make their favored policy position realistically effective.

    I would like to hear how the right wringers . . . ooops, sorry . . . wingers would resolve each of the challenges my friend would have faced if she had made the decision that they so dearly wanted her to make.

  11. #11 M. Randolph Kruger
    August 26, 2008

    Cathie I would make it against the law. But I wouldnt criminalize it beyond a misdemeanor crime. The cats already out of that bag. The fine? Name the father and then make him pay it or you have to. Maybe one to two thousand a shot. CERTAINLY NOT MURDER IN THE FIRST

    Its not so much the termination of the beating heart with me. Its a matter of choice. The Constitution might be held some day that it is up to the states and you would indeed have to go to a different one to get an abortion. But you should be able to get one. Standard practice in the Bahamas. No reason to even violate the law. For me though it begins at birth with the exception of what you outline above. Badly deformed kids the parents should have the right to terminate. But its not so religious with me as it is about the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for it. I didnt get to have any of the fun or wine and roses and it does terminate a beating hear that would surely form in astronomical numbers a new kid.

    Again taxpayer provided Viagra for a woodie and then when you use it, you arent going to get help when the inevitable happens. Its upside down. I dont agree with more unpaid maternity leave because its already abused. You obviously dont know the south and the welfare Caddy’s. Have babies just to get the welfare payments. A little over 1/3rd of the City of Memphis is on some sort of assistance. The population is 68% black, the rest white with about 4% Mex and other. They have bankrupted the Med, and now it may close after 120 years due to welfare not paying the bills. UHC wouldnt even help them as the state contribution that is already off the scale is still not enough.

    FYI-One of those super wingers Sean Hannity did have to make that choice and his son is profoundly Downs. He and his wife decided to keep the kid and you hear them chatting on the radio every now and then. He loves his son dearly and he had every chance to terminate it years ago but didnt. I doubt though that many faced with the same thing would do that because they are arm chair Christians and Republicans. It applies to everyone else.

    My sister has a son too that isnt Downs but out of wedlock.Believe me she got an earful but there was no turning back. This happened as my very naive mother who I told her at what I thought was about 3 months that I sissy was preggie. She didnt get mad at my sister, she didnt even ask. She went off on me because and its a quote, “Your sister would never do that…” So another three rolled by and sissy was puking all over the floor and my mome who had four kids finally asked. Abortion was the farthest thing for her and all of us. But it was her choice and decision. She made it and she lived with it for the next 20 years.

    Its not a perfect world

  12. #12 Phila
    August 27, 2008

    What people tend to overlook in this debate is the candidates’ stance on the global gag rule. Obama would almost certainly overturn it; McCain would almost certainly leave it in place.

    Also, whether or not it’s actually possible for McCain — or any other candidate — to outlaw abortion is beside the point. The mere desire to do so should make a candidate unelectable in a civilized society. (As should support for capital punishment, torture, and pointless wars of choice…all of which an awful lot of American “pro-lifers” seem not just to support, but to drool over. But that’s a rant for another day.)

    The fact that a misogynistic authoritarian, if elected, probably wouldn’t have enough votes to outlaw abortion is cold comfort. Granting that a good deal of the GOP’s stance on abortion boils down to opportunism, they’re still obliged to throw the occasional bone to the fundies in order to keep the cash flowing in, and this can’t help but lead to injustices like the global gag rule.

  13. #13 Med Student
    August 27, 2008

    M. Randolph Kruger:

    “You obviously dont know the south and the welfare Caddy’s. Have babies just to get the welfare payments.”

    You do realize that the “Welfare Cadillac” story was a complete fabrication on the behalf of Ronald Reagan? It’s evolved into an anti-welfare canard that’s been spilling out of the mouths of conservatives for 25 years now. Also, AFDC and food stamp payments top out at less than minimum wage, no matter how many children you have, and welfare fraud is far less prevalent (low single-digits of all payments) than opponents would have you believe. Nobody is getting rich off of welfare, I guarantee you.

  14. #14 Phila
    August 27, 2008

    Nobody is getting rich off of welfare, I guarantee you.

    My guess is that war profiteering, security theater, and defense-related sweetheart deals cost taxpayers more in the last year than welfare programs did in the last five. And that’s before you factor in “necessary” military expenditures.

    It’s weird how moralistic people can get about minor and apocryphal fraud at the bottom of society while shrugging off major and demonstrable fraud at the top. It’s even weirder that the people who do this tend to fancy themselves “realists.”

    “Assholes” would be a more accurate term, I think.

  15. #15 Douglas
    August 31, 2008

    How to solve the paradox that “pro-life” people are also pro-war, which makes them pro-death as well?

  16. #16 Payday Loan Advocate
    October 25, 2008

    A good country leader is said to be characterizing of having a strong public relations, idealistic in his political agenda and a heart that is caring for the wellness of the community and society.

    Do you think America is better off in 2008 than in 1932? It depends who you ask.
    In 1932, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected president, and took over during a time when the economy was nose diving into a recession. FDR introduced his �New Deal,� which drastically changed the government�s approach towards the U.S. economy. The government�s new role in the economy was much more involved than it had been previous to FDR. Roosevelt’s �deal� revitalized the economy in the short run, but some argue the negative repercussions can still be felt today. In this Wall Street Journal article, Paul Rubin writes that although the present U.S. economy is not identical to the economy of 1932, there are many parallels: the stock market is faltering, credit markets are locking down, and a popular Democratic presidential candidate � Barack Obama � is advocating for increased government regulations in the economy. If Obama becomes president and the Senate is controlled by democrats, our country will face the most liberal agenda in its history. Free market economists are concerned with Obama�s �hands-on� policies and fear they steer the American economy off-course in the long run.

    Proponents of capitalism will disagree that we�re better off today than in 1932. On the contrary, they would most likely tell you that America is in for more of the same � a �New, New Deal.�

New comments have been disabled.