An Oregon District Attorney denied the abortion request of an apparently suicidal woman who was in custody after she attempted to set herself and a hotel room on fire. DA Brad Berry argued that the woman, 23-year-old Bridget Burkholder, was not mentally fit and shouldn’t be allowed to get an abortion — just as she shouldn’t be allowed to get a boob job:
District Attorney Brad Berry said the case raises very difficult issues.
First and foremost, he said, is the issue of Burkholder’s mental competence to make an informed decision with such long-term consequences. He said that allowing a mentally incompetent person to undergo any elective medical procedure raises potential red flags legally.
He 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? He said a guardian might have to be appointed to make that decision for her.
Berry’s argument doesn’t hold water — if he believes she wasn’t mentally competent enough to have an abortion, why would she be any more capable of being a mother? Giving birth is, after all, another decision with “long-term consequences.” It’s disturbing that state officials were comfortable forcing a woman they believed to be unstable to carry a pregnancy to term.
The News Register notes that if she hadn’t been poor, “Burkholder would have been free to pursue the procedure on her own,” but “she lacked the means to meet her bail.” The judge and sheriff in the case also made it nearly impossible for Burkholder to terminate her pregnancy, refusing to authorize it and passing the responsibility back and forth to one another.
Berry’s comments are simply the latest example of rhetoric that disparages women seeking abortions as selfish, frivolous party girls “who would abort a pregnancy to fit into a prom dress.”