Women’s Choice; an Ethical Perspective

Recently I posted the following response on the topic ‘Blog for Choice Day’ on an interesting blog called Women’s Health News.  See the blog roll to the right. I think it is important as responsible leaders and citizens to engage each other on the issue with relevant and straight talk. It is the only way that we will forge a new, better path to solving the abortion issue on a per woman basis rather than a legislative or otherwise agenda driven basis.

Some practical observations about women’s choice as a person who has run a medical office specializing in helping women seriously considering abortion explore all her options: We understand that choice is a fundamental part of being human. Respecting a woman’s autonomy is the only way true trust can be established. Believing in a woman’s ability to make the best choice for her is critical to our ability to provide ‘objective’ information and service about the nuances related to the two basic options available to a pregnant woman (pregnancy termination or birth). Pregnancy termination has options depending on gestational age (how far along in the pregnancy she is). Birth has options too such as choosing to parent or choosing to place the child for adoption.

It has been our experience in the 10 different sites operating our system in 8 different States including 2 in CA and 2 in NY that women seriously considering abortion don’t really ‘want’ one but feel like they ‘need’ one. They are so overwhelmed with the multiple extenuating circumstances associated with the pregnancy that they feel an extreme sense of urgency to solve the dilemma (flight or fight). Supporting a woman’s autonomy through meaningful and customized solutions that address the issues driving her sense of entrapment reflects true empathy and responsible community service.

Without tangible information and support good will and high ideals degenerate into a tool for propagating a political agenda and the further exploitation of vulnerable women. It is my contention that the only way to insulate a woman from overexposure to the polarizing politics associated with abortion is if women’s health service organizations (e.g. abortion providers as well as pro-life Pregnancy Centers) hold themselves and their staff accountable to follow protocols of service designed to deliver those services and information ethically, objectively, the same way every time. This would serve to mitigate personal agendas from manipulating women to either have an abortion or not placing the decision squarely on her shoulders where it has always been.

However, there are two primary barriers to seeing true choice supported each one unique to the political bent of the organization: 1) abortion providers have a vested financial interest in a particular choice unless they offer abortion services for free and do not bill insurance companies for the ‘community service’ and 2) pro-life pregnancy centers while usually free are often emotionally blinded by their religiously driven ethic responsible for their existence ironically blinding them to an ethical application of the services they provide such as ultrasound technology. Only after we begin to believe in the validity of a woman’s decision-making ability after all the options have been put on the table, including long term support structures should she choose to parent (something both sides have trouble doing by the way) will the infiltration of the political debate become obsolete where organizations touch lives.

I’d love to hear your thoughts . . . .

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