Pretty Soon They'll Ban Abstinence
A lot of people are putting up Melissa Ann Rowland as some sort of martyr for abortion rights, which she isn't. She's definitely a warning shot to States everywhere about how they care for and identify mentally ill patients in this country.
Rowland denied a Caesarian Section on the grounds of its cosmetic disfigurement even though she was warned that the life of her twin children were at risk. While this is an incredibly tough case to defend- the prosecutors rightfully argue that it is "depraved indifference to human life"- it helps to know that Rowland is absolutely crazy, and it still seems wrong to me that anyone can be arrested based on refusing an invasive medical procedure.
On the religious side of things, I don't really see if anyone can argue that the Caesarian Section is a part of a natural law but abortion isn't. IE, "We can force medical procedures that give life when God might not have, but we can't allow patients to choose medical procedures to take it away when God might not have." Coming from where I am- that the position of a God granting and taking life away at appropriate moments is, really, a matter of superstition- you can see why any discussion of this law rubs me the wrong way. I am fed up with pretty much all of the religious law being made in this country, but start codifying "Be Fruitful and Multiply" into the constitution and we're living in the wet dream of a 15 year old Southern Baptist boy. (If you think I'm joking, it was already used as an argument against Gay Marriage.)
So it seems that forcing people to make medical decisions for the sake of the pro-life argument is a slippery slope. I know slippery slope arguments are usually bullshit- you can, in fact, have legal gay marriage without allowing bestiality to be blessed by the court. The slippery slope argument only applies when you change the definition of something, and the slope only goes so far as the language allows. (IE, allowing gay marriage changes the definition of Marriage to between two grown adults of either gender, this means that it does not allow polygamy, group marriage, incest, bestiality or pedophilia.)
But a law defining the refusal of a medical procedure that results in the death of a fetus is very very close to a law defining the choice of a medical procedure that results in the death of a fetus as murder. IE, if you can willingly refuse a procedure that would save a child's life and be tried for murder, what does that say about the right to have an abortion? What does it say about a woman who refuses to stay at home for the last few weeks of her pregnancy and loses the baby? That's is, effectively, refusing medical care and endangering the life of "the child."
Now, Rowlands case is a right-winger dream: It's a woman they contend chose to kill her fetus because she didn't want a big ugly scar on her stomach. This is essentially the caricature of Abortion that Pat Robertson has been waiting his whole life for. It's the sort of case that people can get on the news shows and defend by showing someone straight from the Jerry Springer show. The problem is, Rowland has been hospitalized for mental illness. She's not some limousine liberal getting abortions on the way to the debutante ball for the sake of lifestyle convenience, but you'll see this case pop up in the religious literature- "In this country we favor the appearance of our young women over the lives of our unborn" blah blah blah. It's bullshit.
Imagine if they tried to pull this shit on an Fundamentalist Christian Scientist who refused a Caesarian Section based on her religious beliefs against medical procedures? Or if they paraded pictures of an Amish woman around and made her a tabloid celebrity based on her "murder" of her child based on her resistance to modern medicine. It's the same principle and the same precedent from this case would apply to both of them. But with Rowland, they have their unsympathetic caricature which they can use to break down the dam. Eventually, they'll wind their way to the Amish.
Should Rowland be allowed to have direct and sole responsibility for her living child? No. She shouldn't. She is crazy. She is a crazy, crazy person. People who are capable of making concentrated decisions, however, should be allowed to care for their bodies the way they want to, should be able to accept or refuse any medical procedure that is offered to them, and should not be tried for murder for either one.