So Oklahoma's Congress overrode a Veto and enacted two new Abortion Laws today - basically the law mandates that any woman seeking an abortion must get an ultrasound and the other that if doctors "knowingly and negligently" withhold key information or provide inaccurate information about a woman's pregnancy that they can't be prosecuted if concerns about abortion prompted the doctor... i.e. that a doctor can choose not to inform the mother of a deformity if he worries that the mother might then get an abortion.
I am opposed to abortion. I think abortion on demand is a horrid, horrid thing.
These two laws are terrible, terrible laws.
From a legal perspective, they are horrible. Why should it be that the government mandates a private person to undergo a procedure? Why should it be that doctors should be given legal sanction to withhold information from a patient? These are horrible.
From the perspective of opposing abortion, they are horrible. This legislation doesn't do anything directly to curtain abortion. It doesn't raise the ethical question of what abortion actually is and whether or not we as a country we should allow it. It does nothing to make people think about what abortion is. Instead, it simply tries to intimidate folks - and all it will do is provide a negative reaction. These laws will force people to harden their hearts even harder before they do what they want. It will drive people to cross state lines if they want an abortion, and thus cut them off from family and friends who may have given good counsel. And more to the point, it will only feed the rhetoric that anti-abortion laws are just about people wanting to control women's lives for them -- because that's what these laws really end up doing.
This is the thing people do not realize. The Law can tell you what you can or cannot do. It is very effective at this. But the law does not create morality - the law doesn't make people think correctly. A law against stealing doesn't make people want to steal less - it only prevents them if the cost of stealing becomes too high.
These laws won't cut down on the demand for abortion, and they will not prevent abortion on demand. They will not defend the unborn - instead, they will only harden the position of those who think their rights include the right to end the life of another. By playing the power and control hand, pro-life groups fall into pro-choice hands because this falls right into their rhetorical wheelhouse.
This is a sad day, and many will probably be celebrating.