By Tom Holmes
Conrad Murray’s conviction--a blow to the Pro-Choice movement?
Conrad Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter on Nov. 7. I wonder if his conviction is a blow to the Pro-Choice movement.
The reason I say this is that one main premise on which the Pro-Choice is based is the assumption that the decision to end a pregnancy, when push comes to shove, is between the patient, i.e. the pregnant woman, and her doctor.
The reason Murray’s conviction might undermine the Pro-Choice argument is that a jury of his peers found that Murray’s side of the patient and doctor relationship did not have the patient’s best interest in mind, that he was criminally negligent. And, clearly the patient side of the relationship did not have his own best interest clearly in mind. Neither the doctor nor the patient was competent to make a decision in the patient’s best interest.
An isolated case? An NPR report on Nov. 15 charged that healthcare costs are high in this country, because doctors’ remuneration is based on how man services they provide, needed or not. “For years,” said the report, “experts have lamented that fee-for-service payment drives costs up because it gives health providers a strong incentive to do more doctor visits, more tests, more procedures, more hospitalizations.”
In other words, doctors will often subject patients subject patients to unnecessary tests and procedures in order to make more money. When it comes to money, doctors like the rest of us yield to temptation. That’s why THE STATE has to regulate them.
And as far as the patients are concerned, a National Institute on Drug Abuse report stated, “In 2009, approximately 7.0 million persons were current users of psychotherapeutic drugs taken nonmedically (2.8 percent of the U.S. population). This class of drugs is broadly described as those targeting the central nervous system, including drugs used to treat psychiatric disorders (NSDUH, 2009).” Apparently, many patients can’t make good decisions regarding their own best interest either.
I’m not in any way saying that the above totally undermines the Pro-Choice stand. The Pro-Life position has its own weaknesses and blind spots. What I’m leading up to is that neither position has air tight arguments.
In this regard, I was impressed by an interview of a Catholic pro-choice activist named Frances Kissling during a broadcast of the Civil Conversations Project on NPR. She argued that the reason why pro-choice and pro-life people can’t resolve their conflict is due to a reluctance of people on both sides to get vulnerable enough to 1) admit that they have some doubts about their own position and 2) acknowledge that the opposition might have some values that they can appreciate. Defensiveness, she said, is a symptom of insecurity. What is needed, she added, is an “enthusiasm for difference.”
In contending that the Pro-Choice argument has leaks in it doesn’t mean that I think it doesn’t hold some water. What I pray for is that both sides will acknowledge that the other side isn’t the enemy but a potential ally. . . .if we could just talk and listen to each other without having to “win the argument.”