Is “IDX” Really That Hard to Write?

Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearing was held last week, and the event unfolded fairly predictably. Even though Orrin Hatch has stated that he’ll vote against Kagan, and Jeff Sessions has made noises about a possible filibuster, the general consensus is that she’ll be confirmed. One issue did spark some controversy, however: Kagan’s writings on abortion. As an associate White House counsel during the Clinton Administration, Kagan was one of the staffers involved in the discussions of a potential ban on so-called “partial-birth abortion”

Much has been reported and opined about Kagan’s work on this issue, but whether the subject comes up in mainstream media, conservative publications, or liberal websites, one piece of the story remains consistent: the use of the term “partial-birth abortion.” The casual and pervasive use of this term clearly represents how anti-choice language has gained acceptance in the mainstream, particularly as it is not an actual medical procedure. What the misnomer refers to is intact dilation and extraction (IDX), a rare procedure[1] used only in the later stages of pregnancy, which is generally defined as the beginning of the third trimester. IDX is performed by dilating the woman’s cervix with the aid of medications and removing the fetus through the birth canal. To safely remove the fetus, it is necessary to reduce the size of the head, which is done through the physician making an incision at the base of the skull and inserting a suction catheter to collapse the skull.  [Read more...]

Arizona Senate Advances Anti-Choice Bill

6a00d8341bf80c53ef00e54f380ef18834-800wiThe Republican-dominated Arizona Senate advanced two pieces of anti-choice legislation on Wednesday. The first bill would mandate a 24-hour waiting period before a woman could obtain an abortion. The second bill would increase the penalties for doctors who perform late abortions. (For a great analysis about the terminology surrounding the terms “late-term” and “partial-birth” abortions, check out this podcast from NPR.) The state GOP has tried to pass similar bills on 9 separate occasions, but former Governor Janet Napolitano, a staunch women’s rights supporter, vetoed them every time. Arizona’s current Governor Jan Brewer is very anti-choice. She has promised to support both pieces of legislation if they pass through the legislature.

The 24-hour waiting period has become a key strategy on the anti-choice agenda. Similar laws have passed in a number of states, and each time the wording is the same. Forcing women to wait 24-hours to receive medical care is unconscionable. Women driving to the city from a rural area have already had to travel at least 3-4 hours to receive care, if not more. They probably had to take time off of work, and they may have had to arrange for childcare and/or transportation. If they are unable to receive care on the day that they arrive for their first appointment, those hurdles must be surmounted a second time when they come back to obtain the actual abortion. According to Planned Parenthood Arizona:

Supporters of abortion rights said the provisions of the bill would reduce the number of Arizona communities where abortion is available from 10 to three. The requirement that a physician meet with a woman at least 24 hours before the procedure would limit the areas where it can be provided because physicians would be less willing to make multiple trips to rural areas, according to Planned Parenthood. [Read more...]