Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Just What is Their Malfunction?

I've just read this rather harrowing tale of an unfortunate 14 year old girl in Poland.

This young girl is currently pregnant. She is pregnant because she was raped. This is a terrible thing in and of itself. With her family she decided to get an abortion, which is allowed in cases like this under an exception to Poland's strict anti-abortion laws.

Unfortunately she has been unable to undergo the procedure. Originally, she had wanted to have the abortion done in her home town, but a priest barged in on the family while they were discussing the matter with the hospital director, telling her she should give birth. There has also been pressure from various anti-abortion groups on the family and hospitals as well. Both hospitals in her home town refused to perform the procedure.

When the family tried to discretely organise an abortion at a hospital in Warsaw, her harassers somehow found out (a privacy violation worth investigating) and turned up to intrude upon the family once more. They swarmed on the hospital, attacked staff and occupied the office.

These people have continued to harass this unfortunate family, even to the point of submitting a request to police to investigate the coercion of a minor to have an abortion, which is a crime in Poland, and trying to take her away from her mother and put in emergency foster care.

Now is where I get all righteous about this. Just who the hell do these people think they are? This is an extremely traumatic time for this unfortunate young girl, and all they are doing is making things worse. Do they really think that taking this girl away from her family is going to help this girl? Do they really think that persecuting her and following her around telling her what to do will make her feel better?

There is only one person who gets to decide what this girl should do, and only a few people who are allowed to advise her. The ultimate decision is the girls, and only the family, her doctor and those they ask to be involved (this could include a priest, pro-life or pro-choice supporters or whoever else they choose to ask) should be talking to this girl about things1. For everyone else, it's none of their business and they should leave the poor girl alone.

The involvement of all these anti-abortionists in this case has been despicable. It is harassment plain and simple, and the family should be able to get protection from it.

I think it also shows which side on this debate has the crazies and the nut jobs. I've never seen pro-choice activists harassing someone saying they should have an abortion. They agree that the decision lies with the woman, they just want her to have the freedom to decide what they want to do and the ability to carry out their decision. This is a position which is a lot harder to get very fundamentalist about, since it's essentially "You choose", compared to the anti-abortionists "You can't".

The people in this story really got to me because they have caused a lot of grief for this unfortunate girl who has already had a terrible experience and doesn't deserve this. Have they no decency? Are they so self-righteous that they have to further traumatize this young girl? Can't they let her have some peace?

1) In general, two people get to make the decision about abortion. These two people are the couple involved. A doctor should of course be involved for medical advice. Family, friends or others such as a priest may get involved if asked to by the couple, although in the case of minors the family should be more involved. For anyone else it's none of their business and they have no business telling the couple what they should do. In cases like this one, the father obviously does not get a say in the matter.

End Post
Writing time: 45 minutes
Current media: George Carlin's Class Clown

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