NonNegotiable Abortions

Published 3:18 p.m. Thursday

By Ada Fisher, MD

The 2017 death of Norma McCovey, the infamous "Jane Roe"\ in the Roe vs. Wade case legalizing abortions and the street fights between ProLife and ProChoice forces are sickening in fighting over abortions in a manner framed to inflame but not resolve the issues.  Abortions are a medical procedure and should be looked at in that framework.  The cowardice of Obstetricians is flagrant in not demanding that such considerations not be the sole province of politicians, nor moralist bent on denying physicians the use of these often necessary procedures.  The courts and politicians should limit their intrusions on medical practices for they are not licensed for such often missing humane medical practices.  Subjecting physicians who perform abortions to legal penalties with jail time is ridiculous and should be halted.

I find it appalling that legislation to define who can do, obtain and determine when abortions may be done without medical input into procedures is a political pawn rather than kept in a medical context. 

In my youth, the news was replete with examples of young women who suffered the consequences of back alley abortions using coat hangers or a cola douche which often resulted in severe infections and death.  The first pregnant patient I was assigned was severely beaten in her 4th month causing her to begin to spontaneously abort her fetus whose arm was dangling out her cervix.  I delivered three anencephalic (no brain) fetuses within one month whose existence was incompatible with life, one being so toxic as to threaten the well-being of its mother.  Within ten minutes I saw a pregnant patient lose four of her eight pints of blood due to unexpected complications of a pregnancy which required its termination.  In 500 deliveries I dealt with pregnancies so rare and unusual that Duke and Wilmington, NC Obstetrical/Gynecologists physicians commented on the availability of care for them which saved their lives in a rural setting.  Most of my pregnant patients didn't realize they were such until after the second month long after the sixth weeks and heart beats weren't always detectable. 

I’ve seen pregnant women go into status epilepticus (repeated seizures) due to preeclampsia and a host of other problems which would medically justify an abortion.  People fail to appreciate that tubal pregnancies, molar pregnancies, pregnancies accompanied by cancers and other conditions may threaten maternal existence which are reasons to consider terminating that pregnancy.  Selective abortions of women carrying more than four fetuses are often considered -- women are not dogs or animals carrying liters and such intrauterine numbers on board threaten the health of the fetuses and mother. 

The decision to have and perform abortions are not taken lightly. These should not be perceived as choices on demand but rather medically indicated options.  It is seldom about women’s rights or choice but should reflect medical necessity. Until you are standing there at that moment, you have no earthly idea about the considerations which must be taken into account.  Emergencies are often quick and unexpected. They require immediate action not a mandated waiting period.  Get out of people’s beds in dictating their behavior and leave the affairs of a woman’s womb to those who appreciate the problems which can arise in a pregnancy.  

Abortions are not birth control as many with a one child philosophy such as China or the pro-choice movement seem to support. Nor are abortions anti-Life as Pro-Life forces seem to push without consideration of the woman as well as the child affected.  Pregnancies by rape and incest are issues not to be ignored but are choices that should be allowed further consideration by women forced into such against their will for females are not chattel property.  By the same token, denial of consenting adults the right to use birth control as determined in the Griswold versus Connecticut Supreme Court Case is unconstitutional.  I have seen women forced into sterilization by state edits and in rural hospitals where folks felt emboldened to limit options feeling they already had too many children as if someone made them G-d.

Over half of all conceptions are spontaneously aborted likely because of genetic abnormalities incompatible with life.  This tissue, if studied, has value in promoting life for today’s and future generations. To save the life of the mother is a consideration of Judaism which appreciates the bond of mothers with children as well as their required protection of their children’s lives. 

It is intriguing to note that the conservative southern states are being accused of trying to deny women a right to abortion while the declining birth rate among the white population is being missed as a neglected factor in the stance of many.  Over decades, as I’ve watched White House signing ceremonies around the issue of abortion. I am sadly struck that those present are usually white men who aren’t likely to get pregnant, though they can impregnate many, or women past child bearing desirous of censuring reproductive actions on women.  There is room for Planned Parenthood on many fronts but the federal government should not fund it or elective abortions nor Viagra or IVF for those still trying to stay in the game.  

Those desiring reproductive choices should be willing to pay for their legal choices, not taxpayers.  The courts must allow physicians to legally practice medicine as indicated and stay out of medical choices which are best left to doctors and their patients.