Reproductive rights revolve explicitly around the argument that all medical procedures should be between a woman, her doctor, and, when applicable, her partner or family. There is no other case than in a woman’s right to choose where so many politicians, activists and outright strangers feel it is not only their job but their actual right to insert themselves into a private health care decision. It is never appropriate for anyone unrelated to weigh in on another person’s physical health care situation.
No, not even if we are talking about a Romney.
The media is aghast at reports that Tagg Romney, son of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, allegedly had a document drawn up detailing medical situations and decisions between himself, his wife and their surrogate during multiple attempts to have children. The younger Romneys, who were unable to conceive themselves, hired a surrogate twice to help them build their family. The surrogacy itself was supposed to be somehow a political gotcha — after all, Romney as a presidential candidate says that he supports the idea of granting fertilized eggs full personhood recognition, a policy that many believe would make in vitro fertilization illegal or at the very least much less effective.
But deep within the draft of the surrogacy contract lurked a number of clauses that described under what situations either side of the agreement could terminate the pregnancy. For the Romneys, an abortion could be obtained if the resulting fetuses had fetal anomalies or genetic defects, or if one fetus had a condition that could potentially harm the other. The surrogate would be able to initiate a termination if her health was put in danger by the pregnancy.
Many media outlets and progressive sites are positioning the contract as an obvious moment of hypocrisy on the part of Romney family, with Mitt declaring that abortion should only be available in circumstances of rape and the health of the woman carrying the pregnancy. Maybe. But if so, it’s no more hypocritical than supporters of reproductive rights gleefully exposing a private medical contract covering when a family may choose to terminate a pregnancy.
Just as the story of Karen Santorum’s early induction of a non-viable fetus has been wrongly used to try and criticize former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and his extreme, no exceptions anti-choice agenda, what the Romney family does medically speaking deserves just as much privacy as does any family deciding when to have a child, when to not have a child, and in what situations they may decide that an abortion is in their own best interest.
Let’s keep private medical decisions between patients and doctors, regardless of the patient. Yes, even when that patient may be unlikely to do the same on our behalf.