Monday, January 5, 2009

Abortion in Washington Heights

I hadn't known this existed: Dominicans in Washington Heights are taking half of RU486 without prescription in order to induce abortion because they are uninsured or afraid of community disapproval or of immigration consequences, so unable to get a legal abortion. The most surprising thing is that women getting an illegal abortion have been arrested, one in Massachusetts.

[I'm not sure who is reading, so to be up-front about my bias: I'm the standard moderate "Abortion should be legal, but rare.", a 3rd generation Planned Parenthood supporter: my grandfather was a pediatrician very active pre-Roe, and even found an illegal abortion for the teenage daughter of a leader in the state legislature who had six months earlier blocked the bill that would have legalized abortion in Indiana.

I also donate to a fantastic organization, Efrat, that helps poor women in Israel who want more children but are considering abortion for economic reasons. (Israel is also the only country whose national health insurance pays for IVF; they cover I believe two completed pregnancies by IVF, without limit on the number of IVF cycles, and even for women who already have several children.) I know someone whose mother was coerced by his father into ending two pregnancies that she wanted, and they always wondered what these younger siblings would be like. No one regrets being alive and no women who choose to keep their pregnancies regret it. But choice is the key issue.]

All that said, I can't imagine not doing something to ensure that these women in Washington Heights and elsewhere have access to legal and safe abortion. How awful.

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