Shelve the Human Life Amendment

If Gail Sikes ("Were abortion numbers accurate?" Jan. 29) is opposed to abortion, I would think she would be happy about the decrease in the abortion rate, and would want to see these rates decrease even further.

 

It is unfortunate that she does not support prevention methods such as Plan B, which she erroneously refers to as the new "morning-after pill." This is a Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive method that is easily accessed over the counter at most pharmacies, and is a major reason why the abortion numbers have decreased. This extra-strength birth control prevents pregnancy; it does not harm or terminate a pregnancy.

The Human Life Amendment (H.R. 536) Ms. Sikes referenced does nothing to prevent unintended pregnancy or abortion. Its supporters blatantly state that their intention is to outlaw legal abortion in Georgia, but fail to educate the public on the potential broad medical and legal ramifications. This amendment puts women's health in real jeopardy.

Potentially, a pregnant woman experiencing complications that threaten her life or health would be unable to obtain an abortion. Doctors treating a pregnant woman for a disease or condition that might harm the fetus could be medically liable for prescribing the care that would protect the health of the woman.

It sounds simple, but this amendment has far-reaching implications and is worded so vaguely that its true effect is difficult to predict. It could affect access to birth control, trigger investigations into miscarriages and interfere with medical decisions in treating pregnant women and women with fertility problems. This could lead to massive lawsuits and could bog down our courts.

The Human Life Amendment goes too far -- it puts a woman's health and her ability to make her own medical decisions in real jeopardy.

Mary Beth Pierucci, Augusta

(The writer is director of public policy for Planned Parenthood of Georgia in Augusta.)

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