Opinion | Consent by Rev. Susan Shumway

Consent by Rev. Susan Shumway


"This past Christmas as I was preparing a sermon, I found in my studies a word that I had not heard before in the birth narrative of Jesus. Mary consented to be the mother of Jesus. Consent is a something that people are encouraged not to take for granted. As a Chaplain, I ask for consent before I touch someone or give them a hug. In relationships, consent is requested and given before the relationship

progresses.


Medical care requires a consent before it is given. Abortion is medical care, no

matter whether a person agrees with the procedure or not. In order for an

Abortion to occur, a lot of mandated information is given to the woman. In

Missouri, the mandated booklet is designed by the lawmakers to make a woman feel guilty if she proceeds with an abortion. I have worked in the healthcare industry since 1994 and have been taught to given unbiased options to people. What Missouri law requires for consent is not unbiased.


Every few months I go and get injections in my knee and have to sign a consent

form for the injection. The consent form tells me of all the risks of the simple

procedure of getting a shot in my knee and it is a page long. Honestly I did not

expect that the literature given to a women who is seeking an abortion in Missouri

to include educational material on what happens in a pregnancy. I also did not

expect it to include how to file to get child support. I would like to be introduced

to the woman who got an abortion because they could not figure out how to file for child support.


My personal viewpoint on abortion has changed over the years. I grew up in a

Republican family and assumed that I was “Pro-Life.” It was in high school that I

realized I was not and it totally surprised me. I didn’t want to be one of “them”

that I heard talked about. Yet the title “Pro-Choice” did and does not address the

sacredness that I give to life. AND the lives of women are sacred and they should

have consent over what happens to their body.


I believe that a woman has a right to choose what happens over her body. This

includes having access to birth control. Interestingly enough, a man can get birth

control over the counter without seeing a medical professional or getting a

prescription. A male can grab condoms from the nearest convenience store, while a woman must wait and plan. Why are women blamed for lack of birth control when it is much easier for men to attain?


I believe a woman should have a safe environment when having an abortion. This

belief has nothing to do with putting additional restrictions and burdens on

abortion providers. It has everything to do with safety. Missouri has minor

surgical procedures completed at Outpatient Clinics and Surgery Centers that are

in many urban and suburban areas. Placing burdensome restrictions on abortion

providers is a personal judgment and inappropriate. It would be like a Jehovah

Witness saying that whatever surgery requiring blood products not be allowed.

There is respect for that belief and the focus is on the safety of the person not

the personal belief hindering medical care for all.


I believe, respect, and appreciate the sacredness of a woman’s life. I have faith in

the medical community to relate the necessary information that will allow me and you to make an informed decision for our healthcare. I have faith that women

make an informed decision when they consent to an abortion. It is not my place to stand in judgment of a woman who decides to have an abortion as I do not know her story and have not walked in her shoes. I am called to and will fight for her right to be safe if she consents to an abortion."