Bad News for Virginia Abortion Clinics – and Women

Well, the reprieve for Virginia abortion clinics didn’t last long.

Earlier this summer, the state’s Board of Health voted to exempt existing clinics from satisfying new and expensive building requirements. Their decision was in response to a 2011 bill that required abortion clinics to be regulated as hospitals. According to pro-choice advocates, those requirements – which included such non-medical specifications as hallway width and drinking fountain installation – were so restrictive that up to 17 of the state’s 21 clinics could be forced out of business.

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A Short History of How Obstetricians Replaced Midwives

A midwife measures the height of the mother's fundus at about 26 weeks to determine the probable gestational age of the fetus Author:eyeliam (licensed under the Creative Commons At tribution 2.0 Generic license)

Why do women give birth lying on their back?

Sounds like some sort of a stupid riddle, right? We all know that (at least in movies and most hospitals) women always give birth on their back (while screaming their lungs out and cursing the guy whose sperm led to the unfortunate event). The actual answer might surprise some of you. In most medical institutions women give birth on their back because it’s the position which is most comfortable for the attending doctor! A women lying on her back with her legs in stirrups gives the doctor an easy access to where the action is. Significantly, the majority of doctors examining the birthing woman will have gained all their knowledge about birth from books and hospitals and may have absolutely no idea that this position can be the most painful and inappropriate for birth (gravity, anyone?).

Currently, the average American obstetrician is male (in 2001 only 38% of obstetricians were female), has only seen medicated childbirth, and firmly believes that birth is a life-threatening condition and not a natural process. Ahem …they’re wrong! For comparison’s sake: according to The National Geographic, the lifetime risk of dying of heart disease is 1 in 5, cancer is 1 in 7, in a motor vehicle it’s 1 in 84 and due to a fall is 1 in 214! Pregnancy is far behind all these. The lifetime risk of a woman dying from childbirth  is 1 in 3,750 in North America! (That calculation includes dying of complications during pregnancy, birth, or abortion, not just birth itself.) You don’t need to be a math whiz to see that’s pretty slim. What’s more, it’s even lower in Europe, e.g. in Sweden (1 in 11,400 according to the UN) and the Netherlands (1 in 7,100 according to the UN).

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Republicans Decide Paying for Abortions is Too Darn Easy, Resolve to Correct Problem

Another day, another piece of onerous anti-choice legislation in the news. But this week we’ve got a twofer! And it’s only Wednesday …

Republican Representative Christopher Smith has sponsored the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” which made news recently for its use of the term “forcible rape.” Smith’s office claims that that term will be removed from the bill, though as of earlier this week, it still remained. Regardless of what linguistic gymnastics wait in the future, there’s no getting around the fact that the bill would eliminate tax breaks for private employers who provide health coverage plans that offer abortion, as well as prevent women that use flexible spending plans to use pre-tax dollars for abortion care. Oh, and Smith’s bill would also make the odious Hyde Amendment permanent.

Meanwhile, Republican Representative Joe Pitts is sponsoring the Protect Life Act, an amendment to the health care law that would prohibit people that receive health insurance through the state exchanges from buying abortion coverage – even if they use their own money. In addition, this bill would allow hospitals to refuse to perform abortions, even in emergency situations, if doing so would offend the conscience of the physicians and other health care providers.

According to a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner, this legislation reflections the G.O.P.’s focus on “creating a better environment for economic growth and job creation.” Majority leader Eric Cantor considers both measures “obviously very important in terms of the priorities we set out initially in our pledge to America.”

Call me crazy, but it’s a bit of a stretch to see how forcing women and families to pay more for comprehensive health care will be good for our country’s economic growth. It’s equally asinine to claim that attempting to shoehorn punitive measures into an already-passed law is a priority for voters. [Read more...]

What Happens When You Need An Emergency Abortion? (And You’re At A Religious Hospital)

It’s no secret that religious institutions control a significant portion of hospitals and the healthcare industry. Just in Dallas (where I live) we have Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, and Catholic institutions.

It’s also no surprise that those in charge of these institutions are vehemently anti-choice. As I’m sure you remember, a nun in Phoenix was excommunicated earlier this year for providing life-saving care (aka abortion) to a woman.

Wait, what? She got kicked out of the church for saving a life? That doesn’t sound like any church that I’d want to be involved in, and brings up another point. What happens if I’m dying and no one will help me?

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