Thursday, February 23, 2006


In the breaking noose department...

A federal judge in New York, Jed S. Rakoff, ordered the Department of Defense to release uncensored transcripts containing the names of some 550 detainees at Guantanamo Bay which represents a big victory for the Associated Press who, according to their counsel, has been working to obtain the names of those being held in this bermuda triangle of jurisprudence since back in 2004. The judge ordered the government to hand over the documents by March 3rd. Who can recall when the U.S. government was a sitting defendant in as many trials as it has been in the past 5 years which shows, if nothing else, that hubris isn't just for Greek tragedies anymore.

Speaking of tragedies, The Washington Post reports today that South Dakota lawmakers approved the nation's most expansive, and menacing, ban on abortion to date. With a comfortable, nearly 2 to 1 margin state legislators passed a bill yesterday which makes it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion in the state of South Dakota with the only exception being to save the life of a pregnant woman.

Stop for a minute, and think about a law which will criminalize participation by a physician, or health care provider, in an abortion on a woman for any reason other than to save her life. For the state to tamper with the ethics of health care providers is nothing new in a country where Medicare prescribes which procedures it will pay for, and which it won't, thus incenting HMO doctors to treat based on financial gain, or loss. We've already seen, in recent days, how the pharmaceutical lobby puts Jack Abramoff and big tobacco to shame, but this bill will make doctors answerable to courts and judges for decisions they ordinarily would base on the Hippocratic oath, and their own personal conscience.

So, if you happen to be among the unfortunate who get raped, or victimized by incest, in South Dakota, lawmakers voted 23 to 12 to prosecute your doctor if (s)he agrees to perform an abortion on you. For those who believe that life begins at conception to suggest that physical survival is the only reason to terminate an unwanted pregnancy is not merely reactionary, it's illogical. Those who want to overturn Roe v. Wade one state at a time will have to do so by not merely redacting, but by de-constructing the Constitution, as well as the moral, emotional, spiritual, and professional growth of women over the past 30 years or more.

If there is any good news to be had, in this story, it is that Planned Parenthood will challenge this newest ban on abortion, and has expressed shock and outrage at what is portentous of tougher restrictions yet to come that will infringe upon a woman's constitutional right to choose. Who can miss the irony inherent in the fact that those who say they are "pro-life" openly put the lives of those yet to be born above those of the living and, as a result of their myopic, backward thinking ways, have cost more lives through their nonsequitur wars, and socioeconomic inequity, than any family planning clinician ever will. Where ignorance breeds, disenfranchisement will follow. With disenfranchisement, comes revolt.