Tag Archives: abortion

SuperBowl, Commercials, #tweetstorms, and Freedom

Oh, my.

Sometimes, I know I should look the other way, not say anything, and go on with my life.  However, other times I feel like I just have to say something.  This is probably one  of those times that several readers will fall on either side of the fence and think that I should have done one or the other.  My guess is that we will all have opinions.

And that is the truth, isn’t it? We all have opinions.

To be clear: the SuperBowl is one of my favorite holidays.  I prefer it over Valentine’s Day and Halloween because at Super Bowl parties I get to eat good stuff (like chocolate fondue) and I don’t have to dress up like a clown.  I love how it can pull different groups of people together in a competitive spirit.  And I like watching people watch the game. I learn so much.

Of course, the commercials rarely disappoint.

I love what Doritos has done for the past several years with the “Crash the SuperBowl” contest.  All of the Doritos’ commercials shown during Super Bowl spots were originally part of a contest for amateurs to earn their way into a professional commercial spot. Viewers vote on their favorites, and the prizes are amazing.

Last year’s winner was super funny.  Click here to watch it again.

When I saw one of this year’s ads – the one where the dad ate Doritos during an ultrasound – I laughed out loud.  Seriously.  Super cute.  Did you read that? I said, “Super cute.”

All day yesterday, though, I read tweet after tweet and more tweets responding to those first tweets about how the commercial was controversial.

Excuse me? Is this the same commercial I saw?  I am completely baffled by all sides of the controversy.  This was an advertisement, people – a well-developed, entertaining advertisement.  The fact that the wife/mom was annoyed at the crunching sound of Doritos during an ultrasound was hysterical – and almost any woman I know would love for the baby to have that kind of motivation to prompt a quick delivery.

Tomorrow is my son’s 19th birthday (I can’t believe he is that old!).  I found out that I was pregnant with him well into my pregnancy and had to have an ultrasound to determine when he was due.  A year before, I had an ultrasound to check on his sweet older sister.

When I have an ultrasound of an organ, the tech is looking at that organ, right?

When I have an ultrasound of what is growing inside of my uterus, the tech is looking at a baby…albeit one that is not ready to live outside of me at 20 weeks gestation.  This does not have to be a loaded term, and I am so confused as to why it became a #tweetstorm.

I drove for several hours yesterday and watched this play out on Twitter at my various stops along the way.  The only thing that makes any sense to me at all is that agreeing that “the thing on the ultrasound screen” is a baby gives name to “the thing” that some want to be able end its growth – abortion.

Here is the thing: we get upset when we are pushed into a corner.  Right now, all sides of all debates in the political, social, religious, intellectual, etc., arenas are pushing each other into corners because no one is listening to each other.  So – we get upset, we get used to being upset, and then we just start conversations already upset.

And we are not listening…

You say “cells” – I say “baby” – “cells” – “baby” – “cells” – “baby”!

“We’ve got spirit, yes, we do – we’ve got spirit, how about you?”

…we are at a pep rally, and we don’t even like the sport!

Seriously, none of us want to be wrong.  None of us want to drop the ball or be the quarterback who gets sacked.  And we certainly don’t want to lose the game and then have to sit through a press conference just to have the world pick that apart later.  Come on – give the guy a break…he lost a Super Bowl game, and you want him to do a press conference?

I digressed…sorry – that is another post.  The truth is that often our rhetoric comes from a position of being cornered.

None of us wants to be faced with the decision of a pregnancy that puts us in an impossible situation.

None of us wants to be the parents of the girl who has an abortion because she thought we would be angry – or the parents of the boy whose girlfriend has an abortion because he thought we would be angry.

We don’t want these things, yet we play the game as if it were our game to play.  We go out on the field, we line up on the line of scrimmage, and we hope that the other team fumbles so that we can grab the ball, make the play, and dance the victory dance.

All the while, there are real people living real life, making real decisions, and struggling through it all.

We vote for the politician who claims to support our stance on the issue, and then we realize that the Supreme Court holds the cards anyway.  We protest, picket, and plead – each “team” chanting their cheers, slogans, and angles.

Rarely do we listen to each other.  Rarely do we listen to the people who have made decisions in the past about issues or who are faced with them today.

I live in America where opinions are allowed, tolerated, and encouraged. I get to stand on my side of the field, and you get to stand on your side of the field – regardless of whether that side is the same side as mine or not.  Tolerance means that I let you think your way even when I strongly disagree.

Sometimes, our freedom gets away from us, and we get a little carried away. If only there were a flag on the freedom field for taunting…

It is time to start listening.

Several years ago, I taught a high school speech class.  When it came time for students to present persuasion speeches, abortion came up very often.  As I listened to the speeches, I was stunned at the anger with which high school students could already have toward someone who disagreed with them.  I asked them all to take some deep breaths and to reconsider their rhetoric.  Consider what it might be like to have an abortion.  Consider what it might be like to believe that abortion is murder.

For high school students, the answers seemed easy until they had to consider the other side – not the argument but rather the shoes which the person on the other side of the argument wore.  I’m not saying that abortion is a grey issue – what I’m saying is that we become less angry about difficult issues when we start to listen to people who disagree with us.

When we listen to those who disagree with us, we win the game.  We can have firm convictions, attempt to influence legislation, and help to alleviate the suffering of those around us while listening to those who disagree with us.  We might even be able to work together.

Consider what seems to be an odd pairing of pro-life Catholics with Atheists for Life.  They have some fundamental differences; however, they both want to end abortion.  Rather than focusing on that which divides them, they work together on what they hold in common.  My guess is that this required some listening to each other.

As I wrote this post, I watched the “controversial” commercial again a couple of times.  I still do not see it – neither of the possible “its” that the #tweetstorms suggested.

What I did see was that ultrasounds have gotten a whole lot better than they were 19 years ago when I looked at my son for the first time and found out that he would arrive only six months later.

It kind of makes me want to have another baby just to see that cuteness on the screen in this new way.

Hold on.  Strike that.

I’ll wait – some day, maybe I will get to see a grandchild’s ultrasound in color.

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What I Want for Mothers’ Day

Frequent readers, friends, and family members know that my mom passed away nearly ten years ago.  I do not remember the last Mothers’ Day I had with her; in fact, I do not think I was with her.  I actually do not think, at the time of Mothers’ Day that year, that I had accepted that she would die even though all indications had made that pretty clear.  I do not remember the first Mothers’ Day after she died or any particular ones after that one.

Sometimes we choose to forget things that are painful.

Mothers’ Day should not be a day filled with pain, regret, fear, hurt, disappointment, or sadness. Yet – because life is what it is – we know that it is not pain free.  We read it on the internet, we hear it from friends, and we know it in our hearts.  Most of our greatest celebrations in life come with that tinge of some unwelcome feeling.

Sitting on my dining room table as I write these words is a box. On that box, my daughter has written, “Happy Mothers’ Day!”  I will open this gift tomorrow, and I will love whatever is in the box because my children put thought and time into choosing something to give me.

What they do not know and may never fully understand is that no gift could ever be better than the fact that they exist.  To be their mom has been one of the top three most defining and fulfilling experiences in my entire life.  They are the best gift that they could give me, and that has already happened.

But what I want this Mothers’ Day is not a thing, an experience, or even my kids.

I want things to be different for people who cannot celebrate well on this day.

I want “wanna-be moms” to know that they are important and have something to give regardless of whether they have children from their own wombs.  I do not use “wanna-be” in a derogatory sense here, and I apologize if anyone takes it that way.  Most of the time if we want to be something, we see something in a position or other person that we want to emulate or copy.  There are so many women – who want to be moms and who would make great moms – who are not.  For Mothers’ Day this year, I want them to know that they are important, have much to give to children around them, and are a vital part of society.  I want these women to be celebrated rather than relegated to the sidelines.

I want all kids to grow up with moms who raise them well and with a lot of love.  This is a pretty tall order, but I want it.  I do not want foster care to be a need in our country.  According to adoptioninstitute.org, “Between 1971 and 2001, U.S. citizens adopted 265,677 children from other countries.”  Imagine – if that many have been adopted, how many more remain without forever families?  At the same time, according to childrensrights.org, “On any given day, there are approximately 400,000 children in out-of-home care in the United States.”  We have so much need inside of our own country.  I want children who are currently abandoned worldwide or in United States foster care to find loving homes, and I want the reasons that these needs exists to be erased from our world.

I want women who have lost children due to death, miscarriage, or abortion to feel joy on this day again. I have no idea how to make this happen.  I feel like a broken record as I keep saying this.  But I want it.  I want those who feel that today is all about loss – a harsh remembrance of the grief that they feel – to know that today can be a day when they honor those who are no longer … or never were … with them.  For some, they do not appear to be mothers because there was no child outside of the womb. I say to you, “You are mothers!” I realize that I may be causing controversy by including mothers who aborted children in this paragraph, but my interactions with those who have chosen abortion tells me that their loss is similar – and as complicated – to those who have lost children through other ways. How can we – as a society – show them that they are still honored today? I want moms who deal with the death of a child – however it occurred – to know that God’s love is great.

I want those who have lost moms to be comforted.  I used to think that time healed fully.  What I have realized is that time creates a scab on wounds and that days, events, reminders, pull those scabs off and reveal the wound again. Mothers’ Day can be one of those events.  As the ten years have passed, the wound under the scab has become less intense, but the removal of the scab – whatever pulls it off hurts.  The pain is intense for a while, and then it goes for a while.  Some of us search for other people could “be mom” to us, but that only goes so far.  Eventually, we realize that it just is not enough. And it never will be.  I would love for moms to stop dying, but that is not the world that we live nor will it likely ever be.  If they did not mean so much to us, it would not hurt so much when they were gone.  Even if our relationships were strained, we hurt for what could have been.

As I wrap up this post, I want to share a bit from my faith-walk in this area.

God does not ignore us or turn a blind eye to our pain.  He sees us, He hears us, and He wants things to be different as well.  The mystery of free will means that pain will stay in our lives, but – in knowing God through His Son – we can see things differently.  We can look up from our situation and see that there is more going on in a situation than just our pain.  We can cry out in agony to the God who hears.  He will turn our mourning into dancing.  He will – some day in heaven – dry every tear, hold us close, and whisper, “You are mine, and you will never hurt again.”

Until then, may we be that voice for each other.

Whether you know it or not, You belong to God.  He sees your pain today and every day – whether Mothers’ Day related or not.  And He wants to hear from you.

Happy Mothers’ Day!

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40 Years…and a Re-post

I started to write a post this morning about the 40 year “anniversary” of Roe v Wade, and I found myself stumbling over words.  It may be the fact that I do not feel well and am staying home to recover.  Or it could be that I was far more articulate a year ago. 

So – I went to that post, and I have copied and pasted it into this post.  What I would have said this morning would have not been in reaction to a news story but rather in thinking about 40 years of making something legal, its impact on women and their decision-making about desperate situations, and how those decisions have injured them. 

May we show love to girls and women so that they can choose life, regardless of what is legal – for their babies and for themselves.  May they know our love.

black

——January 31, 2012: Abortion Clinic Licensing——

I read the news on my phone every morning when I wake up and every night when I go to bed.  For some reason, I cannot fall asleep until I know what has happened in the world since waking, and I cannot get up in the morning until I know what has happened in the world since falling asleep.  This is a ritual that I rarely skip.

On Saturday night, the following headline actually ended up keeping me awake (along with some poor choices in terms of the amount of food I had consumed that day):

Some MN Lawmakers Want to License Abortion Clinics

Click on the title to read the news story yourself.

Interrupting myself: I identify myself as someone who is pro-life. I believe that we should avoid taking life whenever possible through abortion, war, euthanasia, and yes – even – the death penalty.  Side note: I want to support the death penalty because I am a revenge-seeker; however, it is not my revenge to seek, and I do believe that taking that life is wrong.  However,  I am not someone that you would find holding a protest sign calling a woman a “murderer” as she enters an abortion clinic.  If I were at the clinic at all, I would be there to offer an alternative, help through that choice, and love through the situation that brought her to want an abortion at all.

Back to the news: I read the article with great interest. Although I think we are a nation a long way from making abortion illegal again, I am always hopeful that limiting the scope rather than broadening scope will occur with each legislative session.  I had no idea before this news story that abortion clinics in Minnesota had no regulations to follow and no one to whom they answered.  How could this be?  Abortion is typically a surgical procedure – surely it needs regulations for safety, codes of ethics, and concern for women.

Apparently, I was wrong.  This would be new to Minnesota abortion clinics, and abortion advocates are opposed to it.  According to Linnea House, with the Minnesota Abortion Rights Action League, “this is a veiled attempt to limit access to abortions and gives the state unprecedented authority to close abortion clinics down if they have a high enough number of violations that go uncorrected for a lengthy period of time.” (Quote directly from the article).

Did I hear her correctly?  She is more concerned about clinics staying open than she is about safety?  That is what I hear when she says the state should not have the authority “to close an abortion clinic down if they have a high enough number of violations that go uncorrected for a lengthy period of time.”

Let’s think about this in some different situations.  If my child’s daycare has a “high enough number of violations that go uncorrected for a lengthy period of time,” the state has the right to close the daycare.  If a hospital has a “high enough number of violations that go uncorrected for a lengthy period of time,” the state has the right to close the hospital.  If my grandmother’s nursing home has a “high enough number of violations that go uncorrected for a lengthy period of time,” the state would have the right to close the the nursing home.

By the way, none of my grandmothers are in nursing homes – using them was merely for dramatic effect – they would all understand…and that is my digression for the day.

The point is that we take a great deal of care with our toddlers, with those in the hospital, and with our elderly.  Why would we take less care of our women in the midst of a very emotionally charged surgical procedure?  Regardless of the “side” of the abortion controversy we find ourselves situated, we all claim to be pro-woman.  I find it interesting that an advocacy group that argues minute-by-minute each day to keep abortion legal for the sake of women is opposed to regulations that would keep women safer.

Should not a clinic that has a “high enough number of violations that go uncorrected for a lengthy period of time” be closed?  I thought to myself, what could possibly be in this bill that would make anyone oppose it?  So – I looked up the bill so that I could read it for myself.  I have always been a proponent of original documents – click here to read the original document.

I read the entire bill – all twelve pages.  Thankfully, my years in online education and charter schools have taught me how to read these things.  Overwhelming and daunting are they.

What could anyone possibly oppose in this bill that is, for the most part, about safety regulations for a clinic performing a surgical “procedure”?  And then I found the issue that would cause opposition from Ms House in subsection 9.e.4  – it requires an ultrasound evaluation and a report on the status of the fetus to the mother prior to the abortion.

So – is the opposition about limiting access to women?  I do not think so.  If they want to continue to beat that drum, they certainly can, but I do not buy it.  As I stated, the opposition to safety for women cannot hold.  Regardless of where we stand on the abortion issue itself, no one should be arguing against safety in medical procedures. Our plastic surgeons must be regulated – we want safety when we are nipping and tucking – why would we not want the same safety when someone is poking around our internal women parts?

The problem has to be bigger than that.

And I assert that it is.  The problem Ms House has with the Minnesota bill is the ultrasound requirement. So then we have to ask, “Why would anyone be opposed to a woman having an ultrasound before an abortion procedure?”

The answer is simple. 

According to a spokeswoman for the Catholic Conference of Illinois, “80 percent of women (seeking abortions) who view ultrasounds of their babies decide against abortion” (quote found by clicking here).  The problem is not that the bill limits abortions; the problem is that the bill requires an ultrasound which pro-life camps assert reduces the amount of times women choose abortion.

If the pro-choice side of the debate is truly about choice, then what is wrong with women choosing not to abort?  And please do not start an argument in the comment section about how this makes women feel guilty about what they are about to do.

As a pastor’s wife, I have had the privilege of hearing from women – a few months after an abortion or many years after they an abortion – and none of them were happy about the choice they had made.  They have lived with guilt from the moment they left the clinic.  They resented the situations they were in at the time, they became adamant pro-lifers who would stand against abortion in the current political realm, and they struggled to forgive themselves for their choice.  Thankfully, there are organizations and people who welcome post-abortive women into fellowship and walk a road with them so that they can learn that forgiveness is there for them.

The abortion industry already had reason to be concerned before this bill ever came along.  According to a newspaper  article this summer, abortion rates in Minnesota are already in decline by 7-10%.  If this proponents of ultrasound use are correct with their 80% number, the abortion industry’s funding would drop substantially.  In 2003, a law went into effect in Minnesota requiring that women wait 24 hours before having an abortion; the data seems inconclusive about the impact on the abortion industry.

FYI: my tattoo artist required me to wait 7 days between consult and the “procedure.” Chew on that for a few minutes…

I have obviously rambled and lack quite a bit of coherence in all of this.  I did not set out to argue the right or wrong of abortion but rather question the opposition of making it safe or even of reducing the need for it.  I am pro-woman as well as pro-child…and actually – pro-man (it takes two to make the one, right?), and I am tired of women being lied to, hurt in procedures, and left on their own to recover – physically, mentally, and spiritually.  Seriously – what abortion clinic offers counseling afterwards and helps women learn that God forgives?

This debate could be over very easily. 

I think that we all should be about ending the need for abortions at all by looking at factors that lead women to choose it in the first place.  Society is more concerned with “taking care of the problems” through abortion than with working through the problems that make abortion attractive.  Would it not be great if we all came around women (and men) and said, “I know that this is hard.  You are not alone.  Why is abortion the choice you want to make?  If that reason was not there, would you have the baby?  We will help you through that. There are alternatives to abortion.”

That would be a great day…until then, let’s make this as safe as possible by regulating the clinics with the same vigilance we do our daycares, hospitals, and nursing homes and allowing the state to close down the ones that have a “high enough number of violations that go uncorrected for a lengthy period of time.”

Anything less than that seems unacceptable to me.

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Re-Post: Sometimes You Can’t Keep Silent

marilynToday’s blog is not my own words but the words of a dear friend.  Thursday was her birthday, and she posted a beautiful blog that simply begs for re-posting.

Thank you, Marilyn, for not staying silent.

Click on the link to read her post: Sometimes You Can’t Keep Silent

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Abortion Clinic Licensing

IMG-20120130-00162I read the news on my phone every morning when I wake up and every night when I go to bed.  For some reason, I cannot fall asleep until I know what has happened in the world since waking, and I cannot get up in the morning until I know what has happened in the world since falling asleep.  This is a ritual that I rarely skip.

On Saturday night, the following headline actually ended up keeping me awake (along with some poor choices in terms of the amount of food I had consumed that day):

Some MN Lawmakers Want to License Abortion Clinics

Click on the title to read the news story yourself.

Interrupting myself: I identify myself as someone who is pro-life. I believe that we should avoid taking life whenever possible through abortion, war, euthanasia, and yes – even – the death penalty.  Side note: I want to support the death penalty because I am a revenge-seeker; however, it is not my revenge to seek, and I do believe that taking that life is wrong.  However,  I am not someone that you would find holding a protest sign calling a woman a “murderer” as she enters an abortion clinic.  If I were at the clinic at all, I would be there to offer an alternative, help through that choice, and love through the situation that brought her to want an abortion at all.

Back to the news: I read the article with great interest. Although I think we are a nation a long way from making abortion illegal again, I am always hopeful that limiting the scope rather than broadening scope will occur with each legislative session.  I had no idea before this news story that abortion clinics in Minnesota had no regulations to follow and no one to whom they answered.  How could this be?  Abortion is typically a surgical procedure – surely it needs regulations for safety, codes of ethics, and concern for women.

Apparently, I was wrong.  This would be new to Minnesota abortion clinics, and abortion advocates are opposed to it.  According to Linnea House, with the Minnesota Abortion Rights Action League, “this is a veiled attempt to limit access to abortions and gives the state unprecedented authority to close abortion clinics down if they have a high enough number of violations that go uncorrected for a lengthy period of time.” (Quote directly from the article).

Did I hear her correctly?  She is more concerned about clinics staying open than she is about safety?  That is what I hear when she says the state should not have the authority “to close an abortion clinic down if they have a high enough number of violations that go uncorrected for a lengthy period of time.”

Let’s think about this in some different situations.  If my child’s daycare has a “high enough number of violations that go uncorrected for a lengthy period of time,” the state has the right to close the daycare.  If a hospital has a “high enough number of violations that go uncorrected for a lengthy period of time,” the state has the right to close the hospital.  If my grandmother’s nursing home has a “high enough number of violations that go uncorrected for a lengthy period of time,” the state would have the right to close the the nursing home.

By the way, none of my grandmothers are in nursing homes – using them was merely for dramatic effect – they would all understand…and that is my digression for the day.

The point is that we take a great deal of care with our toddlers, with those in the hospital, and with our elderly.  Why would we take less care of our women in the midst of a very emotionally charged surgical procedure?  Regardless of the “side” of the abortion controversy we find ourselves situated, we all claim to be pro-woman.  I find it interesting that an advocacy group that argues minute-by-minute each day to keep abortion legal for the sake of women is opposed to regulations that would keep women safer.

Should not a clinic that has a “high enough number of violations that go uncorrected for a lengthy period of time” be closed?  I thought to myself, what could possibly be in this bill that would make anyone oppose it?  So – I looked up the bill so that I could read it for myself.  I have always been a proponent of original documents – click here to read the original document.

I read the entire bill – all twelve pages.  Thankfully, my years in online education and charter schools have taught me how to read these things.  Overwhelming and daunting are they.

What could anyone possibly oppose in this bill that is, for the most part, about safety regulations for a clinic performing a surgical “procedure”?  And then I found the issue that would cause opposition from Ms House in subsection 9.e.4  – it requires an ultrasound evaluation and a report on the status of the fetus to the mother prior to the abortion.

So – is the opposition about limiting access to women?  I do not think so.  If they want to continue to beat that drum, they certainly can, but I do not buy it.  As I stated, the opposition to safety for women cannot hold.  Regardless of where we stand on the abortion issue itself, no one should be arguing against safety in medical procedures. Our plastic surgeons must be regulated – we want safety when we are nipping and tucking – why would we not want the same safety when someone is poking around our internal women parts?

The problem has to be bigger than that.

And I assert that it is.  The problem Ms House has with the Minnesota bill is the ultrasound requirement. So then we have to ask, “Why would anyone be opposed to a woman having an ultrasound before an abortion procedure?”

The answer is simple. 

According to a spokeswoman for the Catholic Conference of Illinois, “80 percent of women (seeking abortions) who view ultrasounds of their babies decide against abortion” (quote found by clicking here).  The problem is not that the bill limits abortions; the problem is that the bill requires an ultrasound which pro-life camps assert reduces the amount of times women choose abortion.

If the pro-choice side of the debate is truly about choice, then what is wrong with women choosing not to abort?  And please do not start an argument in the comment section about how this makes women feel guilty about what they are about to do.

As a pastor’s wife, I have had the privilege of hearing from women – a few months after an abortion or many years after they an abortion – and none of them were happy about the choice they had made.  They have lived with guilt from the moment they left the clinic.  They resented the situations they were in at the time, they became adamant pro-lifers who would stand against abortion in the current political realm, and they struggled to forgive themselves for their choice.  Thankfully, there are organizations and people who welcome post-abortive women into fellowship and walk a road with them so that they can learn that forgiveness is there for them.

The abortion industry already had reason to be concerned before this bill ever came along.  According to a newspaper  article this summer, abortion rates in Minnesota are already in decline by 7-10%.  If this proponents of ultrasound use are correct with their 80% number, the abortion industry’s funding would drop substantially.  In 2003, a law went into effect in Minnesota requiring that women wait 24 hours before having an abortion; the data seems inconclusive about the impact on the abortion industry.

FYI: my tattoo artist required me to wait 7 days between consult and the “procedure.” Chew on that for a few minutes…

I have obviously rambled and lack quite a bit of coherence in all of this.  I did not set out to argue the right or wrong of abortion but rather question the opposition of making it safe or even of reducing the need for it.  I am pro-woman as well as pro-child…and actually – pro-man (it takes two to make the one, right?), and I am tired of women being lied to, hurt in procedures, and left on their own to recover – physically, mentally, and spiritually.  Seriously – what abortion clinic offers counseling afterwards and helps women learn that God forgives?

This debate could be over very easily. 

I think that we all should be about ending the need for abortions at all by looking at factors that lead women to choose it in the first place.  Society is more concerned with “taking care of the problems” through abortion than with working through the problems that make abortion attractive.  Would it not be great if we all came around women (and men) and said, “I know that this is hard.  You are not alone.  Why is abortion the choice you want to make?  If that reason was not there, would you have the baby?  We will help you through that. There are alternatives to abortion.”

That would be a great day…until then, let’s make this as safe as possible by regulating the clinics with the same vigilance we do our daycares, hospitals, and nursing homes and allowing the state to close down the ones that have a “high enough number of violations that go uncorrected for a lengthy period of time.”

Anything less than that seems unacceptable to me.

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