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Health care part of issue

Abortion in America is a red-button issue that stirs emotional reactions from people who feel strongly about their positions.

So when Gov. Ted Strickland vetoed a ban on human cloning the Legislature had tried to pass, anti-abortion advocates were quick to criticize him.

The veto came because the legislation would have forbid spending on stem-cell research, something anti-abortion activists disagree with because it destroys embryos.

The legislation could have had a wide-reaching economic impact on the biomedical industry, and not in a good way.

But economics aside, the issue of abortion is marginalized to “pro-choice” and “pro-life.”

What isn’t always told is that the issue simply cannot be so black and white. Anyone who has an abortion is neither “anti-life” nor happy that they had to make such a choice.

But perhaps the most troubling omission of the abortion debate is the fact that it is also a health care issue.

Regardless of anyone’s position on abortion, what everyone should agree on is that a person who chooses to have an abortion — as long as it remains legal — should have access to quality health care so they do not put their lives at risk.

The argument many anti-abortion activists make is there are options for pregnant women. If it is an unwanted pregnancy, they can put the child up for adoption and satisfy an untold number of couples who are wanting a baby.

But the reality is some prospective mothers do not want to go through the emotional turmoil of handing a child over for adoption. There is no escaping that if a woman wants to have an abortion, it will occur regardless of any law that would forbid it.

And because of that reality, government has a responsibility to make sure the lives of those women are not put in danger because they do not have access to the health care they need in such circumstances.

Beyond any debate about stem-cell research, beyond any debate about accountability and beyond any debate about women’s reproductive rights, there should be an understanding that women do not deserve to die for having an abortion.

And Gov. Strickland, a former Methodist minister, is wise to recognize that undeniable truth.