Columns/Opinion, Letters to the Editor

Abortion rights fight looms large in future

Bob Jones, Morgantown

The editorial pages in the July 22 The Dominion Post outdid itself with high quality commentaries and letters to the editor. The newspaper continues to provide a popular forum for community dialogue on important issues.

Two themes, abortion and nonprofit organizations, came together in my mind to provide clarity regarding the direction in which health care services for women seems to be moving in our state.

According to recent reports in the newspaper and elsewhere, we’re on the verge of major changes in how government regards abortion and women’s right to choose health care services.

If predictions come true in changes with the U.S. Supreme Court, the right to choose abortion will be discontinued sooner rather than later and the matter will be determined by each state.

In addition, if Wanda Franz is correct in her assessment, voter approval in West Virginia of Amendment 1 will require that women who request “elective” abortions will have to pay for them themselves.

My guess is that the situation will resort to the circumstances when women were entirely on their own in obtaining abortions and often these were unsafe and dangerous. And a system of health care rationing based upon wealth and income will ensue.

The haves will have the right to safe abortions and the have-nots will go to the back alleys.

I believe this situation is intolerable. Our society will not accept a return to these circumstances.

So, the question seems to be how to protect the right to choose for all in the face of drastically diminished opportunities and possible criminal penalties.

The most likely option is for highly committed and economically well-off citizen activists to band together in non-government organizations, possibly without tax exemptions to provide health services for women that are banned by the government. The extent to which these services operate outside sanction by the community remains to be seen.

It’s an unusual situation that occurs when an aspect of health care is not socially approved.