Doublespeak on abortion does not help women or children

There is a certain physics in American politics: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. When the Supreme Court announced that he would take on a case challenging the fundamental principles of Roe vs. Wade, the pro-choice lobby responded, unsurprisingly, with the introduction of the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill that would make abortion virtually available on demand.

The problem with the Women’s Health Protection Act, however, is that women’s health is the last thing on her mind.

As an obstetrician-gynecologist with over a decade of experience in the field, I have helped thousands of women through the difficult stages of pregnancy. Along with many of these women, I have witnessed the miracle of life. But I have also witnessed the grief that comes with losing a premature child. When this happens for women who have had abortions, many have told me the same thing: “I wish I had known”.

What my patients refer to are the complications that occur in subsequent pregnancies following abortions. The majority of abortions performed in the United States are surgical, with the frequency of medical abortions increasing, and it is an injustice that many women undergo these procedures without knowing the long-term costs to their own health and that of their future children.

Even with advancements in medical science, premature births continue to be rampant in modern society, resulting in over 3 million infant deaths worldwide each year. And abortions are driving that number up. For women who have had a surgical abortion, their risk premature births increases by 30 percent. If they have had two abortions, their risk increases by almost 90%. These women are also at increased risk of lasting neck injury, placental problems and postpartum hemorrhage which can put their own life and that of their baby at risk. Perhaps most alarming is the risk of preterm delivery in future pregnancies. mounted 300% for women who need surgery for a medical abortion.

Elective abortions can have an immense physical and emotional impact on women later in life. I have seen this suffering first-hand in many of my patients, but one memory stands out among the rest.

It was her fifth pregnancy. The first two ended in surgical abortions, but the next three were all intended pregnancies. Unfortunately, she was unable to carry any of these children to term due to cervical damage from previous abortions. We have done everything we can to keep the fifth child alive, including a special procedure to strengthen the mother’s cervix so that she can carry the baby until she is viable. But that too ended in heartache. Her daughter was born just before the age of 21 weeks – too small to survive – and she died within minutes, held in her mother’s arms.

I remember crying with my patient, who was now mourning the loss of her fifth child. The pain she felt at that point was far deeper than anything I knew how to treat as a doctor. She felt hopeless and I, unable to comfort her, felt helpless. Over and over she said, “I don’t think I will be able to do it again.” She couldn’t go through another pregnancy, almost certainly knowing the outcome would be just as tragic as the first five. Like so many millions of women across the country, my precious patient had been sold the idea of ​​abortion under the banner of “women’s health”. He had been sold a lie.

A woman stands with her child in a stroller during a pro-life rally outside the Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Center June 4, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri.
Michael B. Thomas / Getty Images

This is what the pro-choice lobby doesn’t want you to know: according to the Guttmacher Institute’s own study Numbers, the overwhelming majority of abortions in the United States are performed for socio-economic, not medical, reasons. Even so, proponents of choice claim that abortion and women’s health are one. This is not the case, and in fact there are thousands of case each year of abortions causing cause damage to a woman’s health.

That is why I am challenging a bill on abortion on demand called the “Women’s Health Protection Act”. The American people – and American women in particular – deserve to be educated about the serious health risks associated with abortions. They deserve to be told the truth, not to be made to believe that abortion and women’s health are synonymous.

True, there are cases when the separation of mother and fetus is necessary to save the life of the mother. But this represents less than 1% of all “abortions” performed each year. And these predictable tragic deliveries are not real abortions, which are only meant to produce a dead fetus, rather than a live birth. For example, inducing labor before viability due to chorioamnionitis, or infection of the uterus, in order to save the life of the mother – not with the intention of terminating the life of the human fetus – is not considered an abortion (nor called an abortion when speaking with the patient). It is an indicated premature delivery. In addition, in this scenario, the child will often be born alive and can then be held in the arms of its parents.

Even if the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade tomorrow, thanks to current US law, any woman who needed a predictable childbirth to save her own life could still receive one, and if that scenario happens after viability, we can just give birth and take care of the both mother and baby. In other words, the laws we have in place already protect women’s health in these rare circumstances. We don’t need a new one.

So, let’s identify the Women’s Health Protection Act for what it really is: a Trojan horse for the abortion lobby to radically expand access to a procedure that, in too many cases, undermines long-term health of a woman and her health. future children.

Apart from the damage this bill would cause to women’s health, it would also threaten the doctors and nurses who object in conscience abortion by requiring that they perform the procedure or lose their jobs. It would be the same undermine parental notification requirements, limits on taxpayer funded abortion, and informed consent laws. The bill seeks to eliminate nearly all state laws regulating abortion, including the Mississippi 15-week abortion ban, which the Supreme Court is reviewing in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

The pro-choice lobby has called Mississippi’s abortion ban an attack on women’s health when once again it’s the exact opposite. Abortions performed after 15 weeks of pregnancy are surgical abortions that put women at a much higher risk of preterm birth and dramatically increase the rate of neonatal mortality, especially among minority populations. An attempt to curb surgical abortions can therefore preserve maternal health as well as the health of unborn children, which we now know capable of feeling. pain at 15 weeks.

The pressure for a bill on demand abortion in Congress and the campaign against 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi are attempts to strengthen the house of cards Roe vs. Wade. Abortion advocates know that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of Mississippi’s law, it will challenge the 24-week viability threshold set by Roe deer. Thanks to advances in medicine, survival of extremely premature infants is now possible after only 22 weeks gestation. Because sustainability is a moving target, this was never a reasonable standard for abortion law to begin with.

Whether it’s viability, fetal pain, or maternal health, medical science increasingly justifies the pro-life stance. It is time for the advocates of choice to embrace science. It is time for them to be honest and up front about the health risks associated with abortion. And it is time for them to stop hiding behind double talk, like “women’s health” or “reproductive choice,” which actively harms women and children.

Dr. Christina Francis is a Certified Obstetrician-Gynecologist and Chair of the Board of the American Association of Pro-Life OB / GYNs.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.

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