Monday, July 11, 2011

A bit more on the Yamhill Co. situation

Last Monday I wrote about Bridget Burkholder's situation where she, an inmate with pre-trial status in Yamhill County (Oregon), needed an abortion and the county would not let her have a furlough to get it nor provide supervised transportation without a court order (but no court order was going to happen). Plus there's that county ordinance that prevents any county employee from "facilitating the performance of an abortion". In the end, Ms. Burkholder was transferred to a mental health facility where she may or may not get the abortion she needs. Anyway, back on Monday (before her transfer), I noted that the county prosecutor, Michael Videtich, had this to say about it:
"Also, this isn't a scenario where there is a medical emergency. I understand that there is a timeline, but it's not an emergency. This is an elective procedure she has a right to have. But she can post bail."
At the time I pointed out to Mr. Videtich that, no, it's not "an elective procedure" as if abortion is just like eyelash tinting. Oregon District Attorney Brad Berry has now followed right along with Videtich:
[Berry] raised the question, "If we wouldn't allow her to have her breasts reduced in this state," or have a benign tumor removed, how could she be allowed to choose an abortion? [...]
Seriously? No. Just no. Neither of those elective procedures are really comparable to abortion. Because what happens if you do not have the benign tumor removed? Probably nothing serious to a person's health. Not have breast reduction? There may be back issues, which can possibly be severe and debilitating. However, what happens if an abortion doesn't happen? Pregnancy--which is not just some easy process even in "textbook good" pregnancies (trust me on this one, Mr. Berry--I know of which I speak here). Labor. Delivery. What happens to the child? Will Ms. Burkholder be forced to put the child in foster care? Find some relative? What will the effects of that potentially do to her (and the child)? So no, Mr. Berry, not having an abortion is not like not having breast reduction or not removing a benign tumor.

Also? That reasoning makes me wonder about Sheriff Crabtree's insistence that he couldn't do anything for her because of her pre-trial status. Sounds like if she was a "regular" inmate, she wouldn't have had the abortion anyway what with your breast reduction reasoning there.

Berry was apparently questioned about the whole idea of "if she can't make the decisions about abortion...what about being competent enough to carry a pregnancy and give birth to a child?" Berry said that:
"If she lacks the mental competence to opt one way", he said, "Then it's hard to argue she doesn't also lack the mental competence to opt the other, putting her potential [legal] guardian in a tough spot."
Berry also assured that everyone in Yamhill County acted with utmost professionalism and neutrality and no one had any intention on influencing "the ultimate outcome" in regards to Ms. Burkholder's abortion.

Whether Ms. Burkholder does get the abortion or not, no one will probably know (at least not for some time) due to medical privacy laws.