Abortion Clinic Standards

Recently the motel I was staying at dropped a USA Today on my door. One of the sidebars on the cover stated, “Court may face abortion rematch: Justices to decide whether to address state restrictions.”

In the article itself the first paragraph discussed how long it had been since the court took up an issue on abortion. The second small paragraph mentioned that both this instance and the last were during presidential elections. And then in paragraph three, it finally gave the gist of what was going on.

Quoting the article, the court may choose to “hear a challenge to tough new limits placed on abortion clinics and doctors in Texas.” Notice the word tough and the word limit. This implies to me limitations that some kind of unreasonable restrictions, but that wasn’t what I found in the article.

The effects of the law were discussed in two parts, the first of which is the new requirements and the second is the result on clinics. The two new requirements are that the doctors must have admitting privileges, for patients who have complications, to a local hospital and that the clinics must measure up to outpatient surgery centers.

What this article communicates to me is that clinics are currently staffed by hacks who do not care enough to have recourse to with deal the difficulties that arise from their procedures and the facilities they do these procedures in are substandard. I would not describe these laws as tough, but as common sense. Anyone opposing them would fit my description of taking advantage of and endangering women. But in today’s climate the idea that abortion clinics be made safer for the women who visit them is filed away as part of a war on women.

The second effect of the law discussed is that it would leave the state with only 10 clinics. The article didn’t say how many clinics will be forced to close, but they implied it was enough to restrict access. They didn’t seem to consider the possibility that these clinics would raise their standards.

How did abortion become such a sacred cow that the clinics need to be protected more than the women who enter them? When abortion was first becoming legal, one of the arguments was to get rid of dirty back alley locations staffed by ill trained workers. Now that abortion is legal the arguments are somehow in favor of these conditions.



The hot topic recently is the vaccination issue. Should parents get their kids vaccinated? Should the government, on any level, enforce vaccinations?

I have a lot to say on both of these topics, but in order to be clear I want to answer both directly. Yes, parents should get their kids vaccinated. No, they should not be forced to do so.

Now let me discuss the topic.

The recent outbreak of measles demonstrates how vulnerable we are to diseases spreading in an unvaccinated population. Not just measles but a number of other, serious and highly contagious diseases, can be held at bay when people continue to stay vaccinated. The rationalization that your child will probably never encounter these diseases is unrealistic. The world is getting smaller.

If they never travel, they will be poorer for it, but not one bit safer because the whole world comes to the United States. Of course you can rely on the government to keep out anyone carrying a disease, I am sure they will just as effective as they are at every other task.

I understand the reasoning why some parents refuse these vaccinations. We have heard reports of things happening to kids after being vaccinated. As far as I know, the rate of those incidents is either very, very low or possibly totally fabricated.

The weakest part of this essay is the first five words of that last sentence – “as far as I know.” I believe the answer to the dilemma lies in better education and statistics. If it is true that all the claims against vaccination are false, demonstrate that, publicly. Instead of spending money on forming agencies to enforce mandatory behaviors in American families, spend money showing the reports to be false, or perhaps just how low the incidences are. I suspect it will cost less in the long run.

Oh I know, our government just spent a lot of energy passing laws to create a new Gestapo and giving them mandate to enforce a lot of healthcare issues. But don’t. Instead just make it clear to people what the positives and negatives are. And no I am not talking about an ad campaign that says, “Immunizations are safe!” I am talking about publishing all possible side effects and their rates, all rumored outcomes and their possible rates, and information on whether the rumors might be real. Allay parent’s fears by demonstrating the dangers of vaccination are less than those of not.

The people you are trying to reach out to will respond to data-good factual data. Right now we get sound bites, and depending on who we are listening to, they may be saying different things.

I suggest this approach, instead of releasing the hounds, because it stands on the side of freedom. I suggest it because I believe the family is a higher institution than the state, having been formed by God first. I also believe the cost of enforcement will be higher than anticipated.

One final word though, what I remember from my high school civics class is the government’s job is to take action to ‘protect public health, safety, welfare and morals.’ If vaccinations stay as low as they are today, we will see outbreaks of many serious diseases which will compel government intervention. I seriously doubt not vaccinating your child is a stand for freedom, and suspect it will create greater governmental intrusion.

Ebola and The Future

Ebola is scary. It has a death rate somewhere between 50% and 90%. There is no direct cure, only treatment of the symptoms. Furthermore it is a hemorrhagic virus, meaning that it causes bleeding, most visibly from the nose, but from other places including internally as well. Victims of Ebola generally bleed to death. Not coincidentally, horror movies have been showing us people dying in this this way for decades and have cemented it in our minds as scary—apocalyptically scary.

Containing the spread of the disease is presently achievable only by isolating the infection. There is no direct treatment of the virus, only management of the symptoms, and the spread of the disease has outpaced the ability of the affected African governments to manage it.

But, for those of us who are not in Africa, we can delude ourselves into thinking it will not reach us. Or perhaps we will choose to believe our technologically advanced nations will manage it better. Unfortunately these assurances have been undermined by the first attempts to deal with cases of Ebola here in the United States.

The case in Texas, which has been all over the news, has resulted in two additional cases so far according to the CDC 10/19/14 update. This one case, has resulted in two additional cases, so far. If we do not get better at containment, if we allow each of these cases to result in two additional cases and if that trend continues from there, then we are already in deep trouble. But I doubt we will continue to see this one to two ratio continue. I believe we will get better at isolating it.

Unfortunately, I also believe the mood in Africa is that infected people are left to die, because local resources are overwhelmed. Desperate people do desperate things. Those with resources will flee the parts of the world where the contagion is spreading. At least some of these will not know they are infected and will bring the virus with them, others will be hiding their symptoms hoping for better treatment.

I will not speculate further on the future of the disease, other than to say it is going to get interesting.