Saturday, January 14, 2006

Idle Question for an Idle Saturday

How come the people who are most insistent about women's bodily autonomy and the right to make one's own medical decisions are the same people who are most insistent about having a strong FDA that can tell us which drugs we can and cannot take?

1 comment:

Rebecca Elliot said...

I'm not sure whether this generalization has a basis in fact. I have a friend who is pro-choice and who is into alternative medicine. We've had conversations about the Fed's attempts to increase regulation of herbal remedies, etc. She thought that was unnecessary bureaucracy, since lots of remedies have been safely used for thousands of years. She saw the regulations as a conservative government's attempts to stifle alternative approaches. I, however, think FDA regulation is necessary to prevent quacks from selling harmful products (see quackwatch.com for more info on these).

For my part, I think that reproductive freedom and FDA regulations ultimately work towards the same end, helping people be healthy and preserving their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

I think abortion should not be a once-and-for-all decision made by the government on behalf of citizens. It should be a carefully considered decision between a woman and her doctor and, in some cases, the man who impregnated her. (In many cases this is impossible or at least extremely ill-advised). I would like one day to live in a world in which abortion does not happen, because everyone has access to contraception, and everyone respects him or herself enough to have sex responsibly. But we are not there yet.

Although I have not actually read Roe v. Wade and so do not know the specifics of the law, I think that having a pro-choice government allows regulation of how and when abortion actually occurs. This minimizes health risks to women and children. Before Roe v. Wade, women died from having abortions. Also, unwanted children have often been abused by parents or other caretakers. So allowing abortion minimizes these risks, and thus is analogous to FDA regulation of drugs, which allows doctors and their patients to decide among the options and feel secure in the knowledge that all their options are reasonably safe ones.

I hope this doesn't sound like a convoluted argument, because I think at heart, it is logical. But it's just what I could come up with on the spur of the moment.