Legislative Testimony

Anne Arundel Co., Maryland - Resolution 30-18:

Attempt to Recognize Humanity of Unborn & Dignity of All - 04 September 2018

Testimony

Therese M. Hessler

Director of Administration & Legislation

Maryland Right to Life

Bioethics in Law & Culture

Fall  2018             vol. 1  issue  4 

TO:                 Members, Anne Arundel County Council

 

FROM:         Therese M. Hessler, Director of Administration & Legislation

                         Maryland Right to Life

 

DATE:           September 4, 2018

 

RE:                 SUPPORT – Anne Arundel County Resolution No. 30-18

_________________________________

 

When it comes to the topic of human rights versus a woman’s right to choose, especially as it pertains to public policy, debates and protests are quick to arise.

 

Here in Anne Arundel County, a resolution on the docket for tonight’s County Council hearing has sparked the interest of many leading to much of the same ado that has been occurring since 1973 when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion with case ruling on Roe v. Wade.

 

Council Resolution No. 30-18, was designed to “recognize and declare the humanity of preborn children and urges the citizens of Anne Arundel County to encourage the humane treatment of all human beings, including preborn children, as well as to promote and defend the dignity of all human life.”

 

According to those who oppose the resolution, they state that it is “dangerous” and is an “attempt to restrict the right for women to make personal health decisions for themselves.”[1]

 

Merriam-Webster defines the word dangerous as an adjective to describe a situation “involving possible injury, pain, harm, or loss.”[2]

 

Ironically, the word “dangerous” would be better used to describe abortion; as well as the repercussion and effects on our community if we don’t encourage the humane treatment of all human beings, including preborn children.

 

Abortion is an act that not only causes “injury, pain, harm, and loss” it is an act that destroys human life – ending the life of the preborn child as well as ending the start of a family or the future a woman or man has as a mother or father.

 

Abortion teaches society that human life is not valuable and that terminating a pregnancy is a woman’s only choice if she wants to continue her education, career, or succeed financially.[3]

 

If this is a woman’s only “choice” how does the legality of abortion help her?

The opposition calls Resolution No. 30-18 an “outward assault on women’s rights;”[4] but if a woman has to choose between the life of her preborn child or continuing her education, her career, or her financial success…and has no other “choice” - what rights does she even have to begin with?

 

Resolution No. 30-18 seeks to make a positive change in the way we treat and acknowledge all citizens of Anne Arundel County by “dignified treatment.”[5] It also affirms the protection of our equal human rights as “an affirmative duty of the federal, state, and local governments.”[6]

 

Planned Parenthood of Maryland, one of the most outspoken groups that opposes Resolution No. 30-18 stated, “This resolution sponsored by County Councilman Michael Peroutka is too extreme for Anne Arundel County.”[7]

 

If urging and encouraging the citizens of Anne Arundel County to treat all human beings with dignity is too extreme the future of our county looks bleak.

 

This same group consistently refers to abortion as healthcare, and adamantly argues against any public policy including Resolution No. 30-18 that would require the Board of Health to submit any annual available data regarding intentional terminations of pregnancies in Anne Arundel County, stating, the “information is impossible to collect, especially under medical privacy laws.”

 

However, 46 other states require abortion reporting and have found effective ways to keep patient’s and physician’s personal information confidential; thus it is not an impossible task. 

 

Planned Parenthood’s research arm, the Guttmacher Institute, provides this information directly on their website as well.[8]  They also note there are many benefits of abortion surveillance reports and the information is “key to documenting the success of efforts to help women avoid unintended pregnancy, the precursor to most abortions.[9]

 

Mandatory reporting has many positive benefits for women in Anne Arundel County; as the data can be used to effectively create better resources for our citizens based on their actual needs not guesstimates derived from voluntary reporting. One example would be using the data to evaluate the effectiveness of unintended pregnancy prevention programs.

 

This would be especially beneficial when assessing teenage pregnancies. 

 

According to the 2018 Anne Arundel County Health Report Card, “teenage pregnancies have declined over the past five years. In 2016, there were 13.4 births per every 1,000 women aged 15-19 years in Anne Arundel County, lower than the state and national averages.” [10]

 

However, it is impossible to know why there has been a decline in teenage pregnancies in Anne Arundel County if we don’t have a full scope of the larger picture i.e. any information on intentionally ended pregnancies.

 

If focus is really on “providing the best possible healthcare to the patients” as Planned Parenthood says it is, they should be in support of Resolution No. 30-18 as it aims to create a public policy that would truly provide for the members of Anne Arundel County (including women and preborn children) to make the best decision for their futures.

 

In order to protect all members of our county, we must come together to protect the value of humanity and the future of our community.

 

Please vote YES to Resolution No. 30-18. The future of a woman’s right to protect her preborn child and to become a mother; as well her right to succeed in her education, career, or financial success depend on it.

________________________

[1] http://www.capitalgazette.com/opinion/columns/ac-ce-column-nelson-20180822-story.html

[2] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dangerous

[3] https://www.guttmacher.org/perspectives50/womens-reasons-having-abortion

[4] http://www.capitalgazette.com/opinion/columns/ac-ce-column-nelson-20180822-story.html

[5] Resolution No. 30-18, Line 37, July 16, 2018, County Council of Anne Arundel County, Maryland

[6] Resolution No. 30-18, Lines 6-9, July 16, 2018, County Council of Anne Arundel County, Maryland

[7] http://www.capitalgazette.com/opinion/columns/ac-ce-column-nelson-20180822-story.html

[8] https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/abortion-reporting-requirements

[9] https://www.guttmacher.org/gpr/2015/06/abortion-reporting-promoting-public-health-not-politics#map

[10] https://www.aahealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/2018-AACo-Report-Card.pdf

 

Therese M. Hessler

Director of Administration & Legislation

Maryland Right to Life

420 Chinquapin Round Road St. 2-I

Annapolis, Md 21401

(410) 269-6397

(301) 503-2576

therese@mdrtl.org