Sunday, July 5, 2015

Raising Unwanted Children

The Tennessean did a fine job describing what has changed regarding new abortion laws beginning on July 1, 2015, and described a lawsuit filed about the 2014 vote on Amendment 1 (see 

The Yes on 1 campaign was victorious (53%) giving state legislators the right to decide about girls’ and women’s reproductive health, including birth control and abortions, instead of letting females make such decisions in consultation with their families, doctors and faith leaders. The lawsuit disagrees with how the vote was counted, and a judge last week agreed not to dismiss that suit.

Tennessee has enacted legislation that makes it almost impossible for some women to get good reproductive healthcare and/or abortions, and the fee for abortions has now almost doubled.  Now, we are not just discriminating against the poor but against rural Tennessee citizens who often travel to larger cities to receive excellent healthcare.

Some women now need to travel two days instead of one if they are seeking consultation about abortion and choose that route. Missing work adds stress and often loss of income. Those who voted Yes on 1 and those who didn’t vote at all have given our legislators the power to make such changes.

Some say, “Most women don’t really think about these matters or consult with others. They just get pregnant and decide quickly and easily about abortions.”  Think again.  Women do not take lightly the termination of a fetus.  Having practiced as a psychotherapist for over 25 years, I can tell you that women suffer greatly about making such decisions.

And, men? Are they clamoring to support unwanted babies?  Children may be born before parents have a high school education or the skills to raise a healthy child. 

Pregnancy can occur by accident, by sexual assault, and when using appropriate birth control. Think about adolescents and other women who cannot afford or take good care of a child. Think about the children. What a difficult way to come into this world.

It seems like the same people who dislike welfare numbers also want to ban abortions. Because of these new laws, there will be more babies whose mothers cannot afford abortions, who may need public assistance to help their unwanted children have the very basics, like food and shelter. They may not be as able to support their children’s emotional needs.

Add in the stress of parents working 2 - 3 jobs to make ends meet, and how families are negatively impacted by the absence of parental involvement and the effects of parental stress. Domestic violence increases.

Is this the kind of world we want to live in, one that helps babies be born with so many strikes against them?  I hope children can be born into healthier environments so that our state flourishes and becomes a better place for all people.

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