One of our own, Juli, recently had the opportunity to argue before the Texas state legislature on behalf of a bill directly affecting information given to women considering abortion.
Some of you might ask what does this have to do with Spiritual Tyranny. Here is my answer. I have been saying for some time that the body of ideas that leads to tyranny are making a gruesome insidious comeback in America and I want you to see how the philosophical premise drives the public outworking. Over the next three posts, I am going to draw your attention to themes already identified in an Arena of Ideas not directly related to Them Who Shall Not Be Named. In this post, notice how Juli preempted the stock dismissal and advocated in behalf of life by advocating in behalf of reason. You all are a very smart readership, so I suspect you will begin to see the application and relationship immediately.
What follows is one individual entering the Arena of Ideas, effectively equipped to destroy lies. This is the testimony of the power of truth to prevail.
April 21, 2009
RE: HB 36 Relating to informed consent to an abortion
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity today to provide a written statement.
My name is Juli Morrison, and I am a post-abortive woman. In 1994, at 22 years old and a senior in college, I terminated my pregnancy. I currently assist post-abortive women through a counseling and recovery process. My commentary and advocacy is rooted in long standing experience: my own and the suffering of other post abortive women.
My participation with this legislation dates back two years. The testimony I offered then is on record. I was not given the opportunity to see my pre-abortion ultrasound. The screen was less than 4 feet away, rotated out of my sight line. This is how close I was to full disclosure, full and complete information that would impact my pending decision: three feet and 180 degrees. What pain would have been stopped but for that very small distance? What suffering could have been mitigated but for the turning of a ultrasound monitor and the mere mention of my freedom to view the images?
I will never know. I lay on the table as the ultrasound was being conducted in silence. The health care professionals treated me to perfect isolation, offering scarce commentary and allowing no visual or auditory access to my medical information. Indeed, the few questions that I did ask were met with reluctance and evasion.
What was the motive of those health professionals withholding such information? This too is uncertain. But the only way to make sure there is no nefarious motive by third parties is to require such full disclosure.
I argue the sanctity of human life, but not when life begins.
The right to self is the right to the mind. The right to the mind is intrinsic to human life. Without the mind, humanity is reduced to emotional, brutish, aimless chaos. When women cease to have sovereignty over their minds, the stewardship of their body is irrelevant. Women must retain the right to own their mind which is the sum of their decisions.
A just government must defend against third-party intrusion that seeks to filter or limit a woman’s informed consent. I must hearken to an existing legal precedent: Miranda rights. In 1966, wise judicial minds decided that NOT being fully informed of rights put people at a disadvantage. Preventing tyranny is always found in full and entire understanding of individual rights, exercised by people of their own free choice.
I am unequivocally pro-life. I am also unequivocally pro-choice. Life and freedom of choice are mutually INCLUSIVE. All women are endowed with reason and conscience. It is by virtue of this innate ability that freedom of choice exists. Opponents suggest the opportunity to view ultrasound images would be a barrier to abortion. But the real barrier is the sensibilities of others inserted between the mind of an adult woman and access to all available information.
Bill opponents would have us believe that women are patronized by supplying access to ultrasound images because it would be redundant. They seek this bill’s defeat for the cause of an “emancipated” woman’s delicate sensibilities. The irony in this argument is great.
No insult or inconvenience exists to an individual being educated for the first time. No patronizing or shaming exists to a woman being reaffirmed in her studious, researched, and educated understanding. Pretending to be stewards of an adult woman’s mind, emotions, and sense of offence is the height of patronizing. Enforcing ignorance incarcerates a mind and sets humanity on a path that can only lead to shame.
NARAL and Planned Parenthood are advocating that ultrasound images exploit a woman’s emotional state as if female emotional stress negates a woman’s ability to make effective rational choices.
Their logic is grounded in the non-logic of women. I challenge any male on this distinguished committee to advocate this same intellectual premise.
Declaring an adult woman emotionally vulnerable and then taking measures on her behalf is essentially declaring her to possess diminished capacity.
If their would be diminished capacity in this instance, it is not the product of mental deficiencies, nor the introduction of relevant information, but the result of denying a woman access to her medical information.
Full disclosure is a legal requirement in many situations, such as real estate transactions and prenuptial agreements. Its purpose is to balance the power of both parties through equal possession of relevant information. Full disclosure ensures both parties are fully informed about the consequences of any decisions.
The right to self includes the ability of a woman to make decisions that she alone will ultimately sustain. Full disclosure equips individuals mentally for potential consequences. Denying a woman the freedom to participate in the decision making process by filtering information robs her of her future ability to manage the consequences of her decision.
Now let us talk money. Opponents would have us believe that women will pay for unnecessary medical procedures to obtain this information. It is true that women pay more money for abortions, but not for the sake of an ultrasound.
Brief research reveals that the vast percentage of Texas abortion clinics require pre-abortion ultrasounds to determine fetus age.
Here is where the real issue of money lives. The cost of an abortion is tied to gestational age. Gestational age determines the procedure. Procedure determines expense.
Women pay for the ultrasounds regardless of subsequent medical treatment. Any other medical situation or records would presume a woman’s right to access the information she purchased. To borrow an economic term: The bottom line is she owns the images to which she would be denied access.
A doctor-patient relationship is the legal predicate to professional care owed to a patient. There can be no healthy interaction without a patient’s ability to access personal medical information. No level of trust can be achieved if the patient is placed at a disadvantage intellectually by virtue of limiting said information.
The relationship between a doctor and a patient is not paternalistic. It is an autonomous relationship based on patient rights and informed consent. Investing one party with special authority or management of medical information simultaneously divests the other of their equitable part in the exchange.
In closing: I ask this esteemed body to affirm informed consent to abortion. Pave the way for Texas women to be equipped with all available medical data.
No organization, government or third-party can justly undermine or diminish the capacity of a human being to gain knowledge. To do so is the foundation of tyranny.
I advocate that this legislative body affirm a woman’s right to own the sum of herself: her mind and subsequently her will, emotions, and body. I advocate that you protect the rights and freedoms of Texas women by supporting HB 36.
Juli Morrison, a single mom, home schools her son in South Central Texas, while working with post-abortive women and Texas abortion legislation. Throughout 15 years she has been working as a counselor for domestic violence shelter, crisis pregnancy center, and the county jail addressing depression, suicide, alcoholism, eating disorders, rape, divorce, abortion, and sexual abuse. Her passion for freedom propels her to advocate and advance truth in every arena to the minds and hearts of women. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org