Planned Parenthood protesters interviewed
HOUGHTON -- Planned Parenthood has come to Houghton and been met by a storm of protest from such well known figures as minister Keith Snyder and broadcaster Bob Olson. I prepared a questionnaire and interviewed both of them as they picketed the Planned Parenthood Express office on Shelden Avenue.
People in favor of free choices in deciding when and how many children they want to have in their family may not be aware of the inroads already made in the attack on their freedom.
Not even Snyder and Olson were aware of Michigan's new law that makes the killing of a fetus a form of manslaughter, thereby giving a fetus the rights of a real person. Specifically the law provides that if someone assaults a pregnant woman or, for example, if a drunk driver injures a pregnant woman and her fetus dies or miscarries as a result, the perpetrator may be charged with manslaughter. This applies to any stage of pregnancy, no matter how
early. (See editor's note.)
Feticide would be the Latin term corresponding to homicide, murder of a person; fratricide, murder of a brother; patricide, murder of a father; etc. Of course, under the law there are degrees of wrongful death
-- ranging from involuntary manslaughter, a two-year felony, to premeditated murder, which can be punished by life imprisonment.
What about punishment for taking a life?
The only difference between Snyder's and Olson's views was that Snyder is strongly in favor of the death penalty; Olson is not. But both view abortion as premeditated murder; both believe that doctors and medical technicians who do abortions should be prosecuted for premeditated murder. In addition, they believe if a woman who has an abortion realizes that what
she's aborting is the fetus for a human child, she should be prosecuted, too, for premeditated murder.
It's lucky Michigan doesn't have the death penalty or people like Snyder would demand death for a woman who has an abortion.
It's as absurd as making suicide a capital crime.
Surely the choice of aborting an unwanted or unplanned or known defective fetus is traumatic enough without having to subject a woman to prosecution for premeditated murder.
Premeditated murder is, of course, murder in the first degree, not manslaughter, and in most states could invoke the death penalty. It would be ironic, indeed, if the right to lifers would consider the death penalty for a woman who has an abortion.
I interviewed two other pickets another day who were in favor of sterilizing men and women who have children out of wedlock and support them on welfare. Neither Snyder nor
Olson was in favor of the state intervening and sterilizing people who have illegitimate children or raise them on welfare.
What these protesters should be doing instead of picketing Planned Parenthood is discussing sexual abstinence with the youths of our county. In towns like Lake Linden and Atlantic Mine teenage sex is reportedly rampant. Planned Parenthood
didn't cause it. Our lack of community standards did.
Nationally, however, I've read that it's not the raging hormones of teenagers that are behind the majority of abortions, but that the most common person to have an abortion is a married woman who already has more than one child. In Russia, where contraceptives were difficult to obtain, abortion was the drastic alternative for birth control.
Taken together, these factors and the extreme opinions of the pickets show that the problem in our community is not Planned Parenthood, which, like a symptom, comes after the onset of a disease, but people like Olson and Snyder whose perceptions of societal problems are not based on fact but on preconceptions and misplaced religious convictions.
Learn more about the author of this guest column, Harley
Visit the Keweenaw Now discussion forums to comment on this
Editor's note: We regret the delayed posting of Harley
Sachs' column, which was submitted to Keweenaw Now in September 2001. We have been trying to find out more about the law Mr. Sachs
mentions. Thanks to Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Michigan, we have this information:
The bill in question was signed into law as PA 1 and 2 of 2001
(passed last year as SB 70 and 71, sponsored by VanRegenmorter and
Schuette). The bills amend the Michigan Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure to add eight new felonies and five new misdemeanors for crimes involving pregnant women by adding
"death" of a fetus or embryo. The sponsors say the addition was needed because, if the pregnant woman is murdered and a miscarriage or stillbirth doesn't take place, there is no way to prosecute for the death of the fetus. Laws passed in 1998 already covered crimes that result in a miscarriage, stillbirth or
"great bodily harm" to the fetus as a felony and those causing "serious or aggravated physical
injury" or "physical injury" to the pregnant woman and the fetus as a misdemeanor.
Planned Parenthood opposed the 2000 bill as unnecessary and as establishing a precedent giving the fetus rights as a person.
Check Planned Parenthood's statewide Public Affairs Office Web Site for more information.
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