Saturday, November 1, 2008

"The health of the mother"

Considering that most of us probably have an opinion about a certain upcoming national event taking place on Tuesday, let me applaud us for having shown surprising restraint when it comes to talking politics on this site. A usual TV non-viewer, I know that I am dashing down from bedtime books with the kids to the couch every night now, eating up CNN with a spoon. I am off in la la land as I sit in boring meetings, wondering what the latest polls show.

But as a doctor-mom of 3, I am hopelessly behind. I frequently gush over movies I have seen over the weekend only to have people say quizzically, "You mean 'Walk the Line' that came out like 3 or 4 years ago?" Yeah, that's the one. I have made my peace with the fact that I will never catch up.

Anyway, I am ashamed to admit that I did not see the last Presidential debate (which took place over 2 weeks ago for those of you who are also 3 weeks behind on dictations and looking at 6 loads of laundry next time you can bring yourself to go to your laundry room) in real time. I recorded it to watch the next day--ha, ha, right! Anyway, I finally watched it tonight, before the election at least, and holy mackerel!

There is a moment in there where Obama and McCain are discussing abortion. Obama says, "I am completely supportive of a ban on late-term abortions, partial birth or otherwise, as long as there's an exception for the mother's health and life." McCain proceeds to offer his rebuttal and says IN AIR QUOTES "health of the mother", not once but twice. Here's a link to one video on youtube that shows just this brief exchange, rather than having to sit through the whole debate for those of you who were together enough to watch it in real time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGZOyxfiNoU

Whether you are Republican or Democrat or Independent, pro-choice or pro-life with or without conditions/exceptions, can any woman, particularly a woman in medicine, watch a potential future leader of this country put the "health of the mother" in air quotes during a mainstream media event watched by tens of millions of people without falling off the couch? I managed not to hit the floor, but just barely. And I'm posting at 1:30am because I cannot sleep for wondering the implications of such an attitude for the women of our nation.

20 comments:

  1. Nazis said put Jews in concentration camps to promote "public health" among other reasons.

    What McCain clearly said was that the term "health of the woman" has been stretched to fit the extreme pro-abortion position of the far left to justify any abortion of convenience (something over 70% of all Americans are against).

    Republicans have been in the Whitehouse appointing Justices for 20 of the last 28 years and Roe-v-Wade has not been overturned. The reality of the sociopolitical situation is that it will never be and that abortion will continue to be a political football indefinitely.

    If you honestly believe in your heart that Republicans do not care about "womens health issues" and that McCain would intentionally belittle "half of all eligible voters" by marginalizing them (especially in light of his VP choice), then I'd like some of what you're smoking.

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  2. when i heard mccain make that comment, that cemented that i wasn't going to vote for him. because everyone knows that if a similar life/death situation occurred in men with regards to pregnancy, we wouldn't be having this issue.

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  3. Russ...surely YOU can't believe that McCain chose Sarah Palin because he RESPECTS women? It was clearly a cynical choice, which, TG, is backfiring on him. On the other hand, his spontaneous utterance at the debate more likely reflects his true feelings, not that he "intentionally" belittled women, but that he was unscripted enough to reveal himself....his handlers were probably wetting themselves at the time!

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  4. Gosh, I'm glad we're managing to keep away from controversial topics like the election. Let's just stick to this noncontroversial stuff, like abortion :)

    As someone who is pro-choice and pro-Obama, I do understand what McCain was getting at, although it was kind of bad that he put "health of the mother" in scare quotes. I don't honestly think he would want to let a woman die due to mid-pregnancy complications. I think it just kind of shows a lack of understanding on his part and on the part of other politicians that they would try to ban a procedure that may be the safest one for a woman who has serious complications late in pregnancy. Whenever you think life begins, I think we can all agree that the life of a grown woman is worth saving.

    I also do think, as someone else pointed out, that if men could get pregnant, things would be very different.

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  5. If men got pregnant, don't you think we'd have paid maternity leave by now in the states. Or even better, being a stay-at-home parent would be recognized as a job (w/ compensation) and not as just a life-style choice.
    AAahhhh, as a woman about to have children #3 and #4, I can definitely dream.......

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  6. If men got pregnant, don't you think we'd have paid maternity leave by now in the states. Or even better, being a stay-at-home parent would be recognized as a job (w/ compensation) and not as just a life-style choice.
    AAahhhh, as a woman about to have children #3 and #4, I can definitely dream.......

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  7. I had a mouthful to add here, but I have to say that I agree with Russ.

    The "health of the mother" definition has been stretched so far, that at times, it bears little resemblance to its original intent. Just like prisoners receiving gender reassignment surgeries "for their health." What happened to providing just basic medical care?

    I am a republican woman, living in a VERY red state, with some VERY convicted pro-lifers, and I don't know a single one who honestly expects a mother to die for her unborn child, but abortions are given for reasons that are hardly life threatening "for the health of the mother." I can't speak for McCain, but personally, I only support abortion when a woman's life is in IMMINENT danger if she carries her pregnancy to term, not because it's inconvenient or causes her mental anguish.

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  8. And as a stay-at-home mother, myself (who plans to attend medical school when her children are older), I think it's ludicrous to expect the government to subsidize my choice to stay home.

    Personally, I think that's the BIGGEST difference between liberals and conservatives. All of the liberals I know seem to want the government to solve all of their problems for them, and all of the conservatives I know (myself included) want the government to have as little influence in our daily lives as possible.

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  9. Kelley, clearly there is SOMEONE subsidizing your staying home. And there will be someone financially supporting you while you go back to school. And that is your husband, I assume. Not every woman is lucky enough to have a husband to support them. I guess those women don't have the right to a paid maternity leave, according to you.

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  10. "all of the conservatives I know (myself included) want the government to have as little influence in our daily lives as possible"

    Except for deciding who we can marry and if we have to carry out a pregnancy after being raped, of course?

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  11. I bet Kelley's parents didn't help a bit with college, nor did she need federally guaranteed loans, or go to a public school because as a conservative, she pulled herself up by her own bootstraps.

    And Kelley, the government has mandated that the rest of us subsidize your ability to stay at home if your husband's employer puts you and the kids on his health plan (even if you pay part). But then, you're working to legalize gay marriage, so that other spouses have that and other marriage benefits, right?

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  12. Wow, it's nice to see why I consider myself neither liberal or conservative. Way to make all yourselves look like assholes.

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  13. Thanks for saying that for me, old md girl.

    Wow. I could say a lot here, but it would probably just inflame the "shout everybody else down" extremists on either side.

    Let me just say, then, that maybe what this country really needs is a viable third party that represents what the majority of commonsensical Americans think and feel. That would marginalize the blowhards on the right and left and maybe get our country's policy finally on the right (responsible) track.

    How about trying to treat each other with a little respect here?

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  14. Oldmdgirl: this is nothing compared to what people yell at rallies. You can't ask people not to talk passionate about what they feel passionately about, especially so close to such an important election. This is actually fairly civil.

    That's why politics really should not be discussed on this blog.

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  15. Wow, as a very strong independent w/ maybe even slightly conservative leanings this election, I am amazed that a simple comment lamenting the lack of respect given to mothers in our culture is being automatically labeled as liberal. Wouldn't it be nice if it wasn't liberal vs. conservative, and instead, just plain common sense ruled.

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  16. Well, I'm not smoking anything and yet it is blindingly obvious that half of the eligible voters were belittled by that statement (course, the man did call his wife an ugly name in public) and also that there is a LARGE element that neihter cares about women's health issues nor, for that matter, respects women. Those of you too young to remember life before Roe v Wade would do well to take note.

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  17. But what about women who KNOWINGLY go into a pregnancy swimming with risks...for example a woman with a history of peripartum cardiomyopathy? So push comes to shove near late term, mom's EF takes a dive and all of a sudden the baby has to die because this mom just couldn't live without one more child? I'm all about the health of the mother and I know there are situations that are completely unforeseen and such a choice has to be made. But then again, there are times when the woman made the choice ahead of time, fully aware of the risk and then proceeded...in which case I don't believe it should be an option to have the baby pay.

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  18. "But what about women who KNOWINGLY go into a pregnancy swimming with risks"

    Oooh, can we also not treat people who smoke cigarettes, knowing they cause cancer, heart disease, and emphysema? Also, I would rather not treat people who overeat, when they KNOW that obesity causes health problems. Stupid people, risking their own health...

    Also, maybe I've been grossly misled, but it was my understanding that if the mother of a 20 week old fetus dies, the fetus will die too.

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  19. I was completely taken aback by the "health of the mother" in air quotes also. But we do need to remember, not only did he call his SECOND wife a bad name, he met and dated his second wife while still married to his first wife. All because she was no longer as beautiful as she was before due to her being in a car accident.

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  20. Kelley - In my country of origin women DO get paid for maternity leave with child and mother payments ( 2 checks), for one year, and less so, but still supported for 3 years after the child's birth. Woman reserves her job for up to 6 years after she went on maternity leave, and can always go back to her position without fear of losing it. I do not have a choice of staying at home b/c I am a primary bread-winner even though have a husbund. so, I do not think if governemnt is less involved in my life, I have more freedom. I have no choice but work full time, and only took time off to recover from birth, not maternity leave in many women's in my country of origin's understanding.

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