Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Referred Law 6 Info Meeting

The Radical was graciously given a pass from the dinner dishes today to go to a talk by Dr. Marv Buehner about the negative effects of Referred Law 6 (nee HB1215) on health care for women, and how it's absolutely unacceptable to him and the vast majority of medical professionals.

Everyone there was a hero/heroine in my book.

When I got there, I was first greeted by the smiling faces of some friendly folks. I'm really glad they were there, because it was going to a rough trip in there.

Arrayed in a long line in front of the front door to NAU, there were some angry bloody-sign carriers, who were yelling at me to put down my camera, and telling me I needed to read up more on the "truth." Of course, they had no compunction about videotaping me. As I've come to expect, here's a protester hiding behind her message and, symbolically, behind her 3 x 5 foot reproduction of Nordic Jesus.

It was a pretty ugly situation. As I entered the lecture hall with my camera, the Healthy Families folks were concerned I may be one of the bad guys trying to take pictures of individuals to incite violence etc. so they were a little nervous to see me taking pictures. I did ask verbal permission before I took a few pictures of the room.

Dr. Beuhner talked to the group about the realities of health care for women that HB1215. He described medical conditions that commonly require women to weight their health against continuing pregnancies, for example, a pregnant women diagnosed with cancer has to choose between abortion or postponing cancer treatment until after pregnancy. Continuing the pregnancy puts the life of the mom and baby at risk. And the mom may not be around for her baby and the rest of her family if she decides not to have an abortion. Dr. Beuhner also described the insulting process that doctors and patients have to go through now under current law, the 24-hour waiting period, the santimonious script the doctor has to read to the patient, the "investigation" by the state health department. This is government in our face, of the first order.

A brave woman, Kirsten, talked about her difficult pregnancy and how it came out okay but at no small sacrifice to herself and risk to her and her baby, but that it worked out, under Dr. Beuhner's compassionate care. Kirsten is diabetic and for her at this point, pregnancy would mean a choice between having an abortion or likely blindess, stroke, or kidney failure. She said she did not have the luxury of seeing the world in black and white. Her testimony had me in and many others in tears of frustration that the protesters outside did not have ears to hear her story.

One awful moment is when I asked who got the push-poll that we got at my house today that asked
Referred Law 6 has a provision for victims of rape
and incest. Knowing that there is such a provision, are you more likely to vote yes on Referred Law 6?
HALF the folks in the room had gotten the deliberately misleading push-poll call that day. SOMEONE *is* getting big bucks for this campaign, and it isn't Planned Parenthood.

On the plus side, Sen Tim Johnson has helped out SD Healthy Families in the No on 6 cause with a recorded phone call asking folks to vote against RL6. Good for you Sen. Johnson.

Dr. Beuhner took a few questions, but there honestly wasn't much to say, this is all very hard. We are worn down by the angry accusataions, when in reality we who are against RL6 all feel painfully aware of how awful abortion is, and how necessary it is that it remain a safe legal choice, especially in the first trimester. The government shouldn't have the right to take these hard decisions from women and their families. Standing up for the right to make our own tough decisions really takes a lot of energy in this hostile environment.

After the meeting I met filmmakers Renn Reed and Mark Barth. They are working on a video about the RL6 referendum controversy. Renn produced a video interviewing people in Spearfish about BH1215 is linked from her page:

This is sure a hard push, but hang in there everyone! As a note of encouragement, today, a vote was cast against RL6: mine! (My absentee ballot came in the mail today.)

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