No middle ground

Paralee Cooper is an original member of the Chico Coalition for Choice, founded by Coleen Jarvis in the late 1980s.

The recent Walk for Life event and the upcoming celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the founding of Chico’s Women’s Health Specialists (formerly and fondly known as the Feminist Women’s Health Center) got me thinking again about the naiveté of people who believe there is some sort of middle ground that could be realized between pro-choice and anti-abortion advocates.

“Middle ground” on the fundamental issue of whether females in the United States have the same legal, constitutional rights as males?

“Middle ground” when females have been court-ordered and forced to have surgery when they chose to have natural births instead of C-sections, even a woman with life-threatening cancer where the surgery was almost sure to kill her, and the result was that both the woman and the fetus died?

“Middle ground” when, to quote Howard Minkoff, M.D., chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Maimonides Medical Center, in Brooklyn, N.Y., “…you can’t be legally compelled to undergo any other medical procedure for the benefit of another person. You don’t have to donate your kidney, your bone marrow, or your blood, even if someone else might die without it. So why should C-sections be any different? That’s saying pregnant women have fewer rights than anyone else, including a fetus.”

“Middle ground” when, although Roe v Wade legalizing abortion is the law of the land, our U.S. soldiers do not have access to abortion services if they are stationed in countries that outlaw abortion?

“Middle ground” when drugs like Viagra are covered by the majority of health insurance policies, while far fewer policies cover most of the effective female contraception and some states give religious organizations exemptions to providing coverage even when it is a state law?

“Middle ground” on the fact that the Federal Drug Administration has delayed approving an over-the-counter “morning after” pill and is considering an age restriction when at no time before has age been a factor in FDA approval decisions, and the FDA admits the risk factor is no greater than other medications fully approved by the FDA?

“Middle ground” when mandatory waiting periods and/or parental consent or notification requirements are imposed on females seeking health care, but never on males?

“Middle ground” when a religious school in Alabama would not allow a pregnant student to attend her graduation ceremony, while the student father of the baby was accorded full rights and attended the same ceremony?

There is no middle ground. The ability to give birth should not make females second-class citizens, less in control than men of how they live their lives. Take a stand and make yourself heard, very loud and very clear.