Thursday, February 08, 2007

Researching the death Romey cited

Tragedy, experience shaped Romney's abortion views
Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has had an epiphany on abortion -- not once, but twice.

The first time was when Romney was a young man in the 1960s and his brother-in-law's sister -- an engaged-to-be-married teen who became pregnant -- died in a botched illegal abortion.

Roughly three decades later, while campaigning for the Senate in 1994, Romney described that tragedy as the event that triggered his conclusion that regardless of personal beliefs, abortion should be safe and legal.


Yeah, legal equals safe. Yup. Yup.
Romney says his moment of illumination about the immorality of abortion came two years ago during a meeting with an embryonic stem cell researcher.

"The comment was made that this really wasn't a moral issue, because the embryos were terminated or destroyed at 14 days," Romney said during a recent campaign stop in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, in a reprise of other recent explanations of his thinking on abortion.

"And it struck me very powerfully at that point, that the Roe v. Wade approach has so cheapened the value of human life that someone could think it's not a moral issue to destroy embryos that have been created solely for the purpose of research, and I said to my chief of staff, and that's been 2 1/2 years ago, I said to her, 'I want to make it very clear that I'm pro-life.'"

I collect conversion stories, so of course this is interesting to me. But my obsession with abortion mortality makes me zoom in on the death of the woman.
Romney later identified the relative as the teenage sister of his brother-in-law, Loren "Larry" Keenan.

So now I have my research cut out for me. Searching for "Keenan abortion" is fruitless, since a Nancy Keenan is the president of NARAL and she pretty much pushes anything else out of the search engines.

Romey doesn't say much that would allow anybody to verify the story. I'll try emails to his exploratory committee, but like other "I'm prochoice because of somebody I knew who died from an illegal abortion", I'm betting that this one isn't going to pan out with anything verifiable.

9 comments:

Tlaloc said...

"Yeah, legal equals safe. Yup. Yup."

no. But safer? Yes. Legality allows for monitoring/licensing and the use of best known techniques and equipment.

If you had the option of buying a prescription medicine from the licensed pharmacy store down the street or some guy in an alley way which would you choose? And why?

Tlaloc said...

"So now I have my research cut out for me. Searching for "Keenan abortion" is fruitless, since a Nancy Keenan is the president of NARAL and she pretty much pushes anything else out of the search engines."

if you are using google you can add "-nancy" (without the quotes). That will not return any page with the word nancy on it. I tried "keenan abortion -nancy" and it still returned some pages talking about nancy keenan (because they didn't specifically mention her first name) but the first three at least were about other people.

If you aren't using google there may be a similar function depending on how advanced the search engine is. Some will let you use logical operators (AND, OR, NOR, NOT) in which case you'd put in "Keenan AND abortion NOT nancy".

GrannyGrump said...

Tlaloc, legality might marginally improve the safety for the individual woman, but any improvement is offset by the leap in the number of women being exposed to the risk.

And we can look at the population being exposed to the risk. With illegal abortion, the population exposed to the risk will primarily be women fully committed to the abortion, no ambivalence, and aware that this is a risky behavior. With legal abortion, the women exposed to the risk are often ambivalent women who would not have otherwise sought abortion, who are not fully committed but often very ambivalent, and unaware that they're undertaking a risky behavior.

Reducing the at-risk population makes public health sense. And there are so many other things that can be done that don't require exposing more women to the risk, things that we were doing for an entire century such as improvements in overall health and medical care. Training professionals such as doctors and social workers on how to identify at-risk women and help them get help so that they're not seeking out abortion in the first place, teaching doctors how to promptly identify and treat abortion complications, etc.

The problem was being effectively addressed, and there were more things we could have done to reduce the damage even more. Instead we just legalized and stuck our heads in the sand.

GrannyGrump said...

Thanks for the search hints, Tlaloc.

GrannyGrump said...

No dice. Oh, well. Thanks anyway.

Tlaloc said...

"No dice. Oh, well. Thanks anyway"

you might be able to narrow the search to massachussetts, assuming it happened there (I don't know if all of romney's family lives there).

Tlaloc said...

"Reducing the at-risk population makes public health sense."

Why does it make sense on only this one case though? Why not ban all elective surgeries?

Want a mole removed? No, too dangerous. A little nip/tuck? Of course not, we know better. A gastric bypass? Fuhgedaboutit.

We can throw out all dental surgery since cavities and crooked teeth kill fewer people than anaesthesia.

Why is it only in the case of abortion that you think you should step in and tell women that *you* won't let them get it?

GrannyGrump said...

Tlaloc, you don't seem to grasp that abortion isn't like getting a mole removed. You personally may think they're raving lunatics for feeling so, but an awful lot of women -- even prochoice women -- find abortion tramuatic, they grieve, they're devastated by it. I've yet to encounter a single human being devastated by the removal of a mole.

If the idea is to reduce human suffering, then why put women through the needless risk that they'll end up like Stacy Zallie, or even like women like Jennifer?

And even women who have no qualms about abortion would prefer to avoid it. A prevention approach is good for everybody except people who might lose their livelihood if abortion became rare.

Tlaloc said...

"You personally may think they're raving lunatics for feeling so, but an awful lot of women -- even prochoice women -- find abortion tramuatic, they grieve, they're devastated by it."

A lot of women are also devestated by having a mastectomy. Yet if they choose to have it you have to assume the benefit outweighed the bad stuff.



"If the idea is to reduce human suffering, then why put women through the needless risk that they'll end up like Stacy Zallie, or even like women like Jennifer?"

Because two cases of problems out of millions of abortions isn't exactly a terrible problem. You might as well suggest we get rid of all books because one person once was bludgeoned to death with a book.

Why is it you so magnify the extremely rare bad cases but have no problem preventing the millions od good cases? Why is it that the suffering of Jennifer is bad but you are fine with making a million other women suffer forced conception?

Oh right, because that isn't a problem as far as you are concerned. It's okay for them to suffer so long as they suffer a fate you personally don't care about.



"And even women who have no qualms about abortion would prefer to avoid it. A prevention approach is good for everybody except people who might lose their livelihood if abortion became rare."

No kidding! I would vastly prefer people use contraceptions. But remember it is also YOUR SIDE that fights against good sex ed and that fights against making contraceptions available! Just what sort of prevention do you plan to use?