Tag Archives: Pregnancy

Poll: 66% Opposed to Ban on Abortion after 20 Weeks

Planned Parenthood volunteers help bring the f...

Planned Parenthood volunteers help bring the fight for health insurance reform to the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sixty-six percent of people believe that abortions should be legal after twenty weeks if the woman would “suffer serious long-term health problems” from a full-term pregnancy, according to a new survey.

Sixty-one percent said the procedure should be legal in cases when the fetus is not viable, or when the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest.

Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/abortion/319509-poll-finds-opposition-to-20-week-abortion-ban-in-specific-cases?utm_campaign=Choice&utm_medium=Argyle%2BSocial&utm_source=twitter&utm_term=2013-08-30-16-26-09#ixzz2dWVPylOx

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Arizona Anti-Abortion Bill Starts Counting Fetal Age Before Conception

pregnancy test

pregnancy test (Photo credit: slayerphoto)

A week ago, hundreds of Catholics rallied in Phoenix, Arizona to protest the Affordable Care Act. The Catholic Sun has a nice gallery of photos on Flickr, in which placards are visible in the sunshine, reading “Pray to End Abortion,” “God’s Will Not Obama’s Will,” and “Religious Freedom for All.”

Less than a week after that protest, the Legislature state passed the most restrictive anti-abortion legislation we’ve seen since the Great Republican Takeover of 2010. In Arizona, they’re going beyond “fetal pain” bills like Nebraska’s, which outlaw abortions twenty weeks into the actual pregnancy.

Last Thursday, the Arizona House passed HB 2036, which would make abortions illegal after twenty weeks, but what matters most is when those 20 weeks begin. Confused? Kate Sheppard of Mother Jones breaks it down:

…Arizona’s law would actually be more restrictive than others, as the bill states that the gestational age of the fetus should be “calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period of the pregnant woman…”

Most women ovulate about 14 or 15 days after their period starts, and women can usually get pregnant from sexual intercourse that occurred anywhere between five days before ovulation and a day after it. Arizona’s law would start the clock at a woman’s last period—which means, in practice, that the law prohibits abortion later than 18 weeks after a woman actually becomes pregnant.

Amanda Marcotte, writing in RH Reality Check, points out that this isn’t about preventing abortion so much as it is about combining legal authority with moral and using both to restrict women’s sex lives:

Now with this Arizona bill, if a woman is deemed pregnant two weeks before she actually is, prosecutors could even have a chance to look at your choices when you weren’t even pregnant—before you even had the sex that made you pregnant—and blame those choices for bad outcomes. They’re creating, brick by brick, the legal basis on which to prosecute a woman who drinks some alcohol, becomes pregnant two weeks later, and miscarries, even though she didn’t drink while pregnant. And you best believe that when feminists protest this, they’ll just paint it as if we’re more interested in protecting drunken sluts than “babies.”

When you ask why a party would gin up a fake federal war against Catholicism while at the same time it passes laws like this, you’ve likely answered your own question.

Via MSNBC.

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Pop Five: Reasons the United States Has Lost Its Mind

A 3D ultrasound taken of a fetus at 20 weeks.

A 3D ultrasound taken of a fetus at 20 weeks. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the Huffington Post, Soraya Chemaly has written a searing critique of the Republican male interest in keeping women pregnant. “The rest of the civilized world,” she writes, “thinks this country has lost its mind. It’s no wonder. Look at this list of frenzied misogyny.” Blow are Ms. Chemaly’s top five reasons the world thinks the U.S. is crazy.

5. Disabling women or sacrificing their lives by withholding medical treatment or forcing them to undergo involuntary medical procedures. We impose an obligation on women to sacrifice their bodily integrity for another. (Take, for example, the case of Tysiac v. Poland, where a mother of two became blind after her doctor refused to perform an abortion that would have halted the course of a degenerative eye disease.) If my newborn is in need of a kidney, and you have a spare matching one, can I enact legislation that says the state can take yours and give it to her? No. We do not force people to give their organs to help others. One of the most fundamental of all human rights is that humans be treated equally before the law.

4. Forcing women to undergo involuntary vaginal penetration with a condom-covered, six- to eight-inch ultrasound probe. Pennsylvania and eleven other states are considering that option. Trans-vaginal ultrasounds undertaken without a woman’s consent are rape, according the legal definition of the word. This violates a woman’s bodily integrity and is torture when used as a form of control and oppression.

3. Criminalizing pregnancy and miscarriages and arresting, imprisoning, and charging women who miscarry with murder, like Rennie Gibbs in Mississippi or at least forty women in Alabama or like Bei Bei Shuai, a woman who is charged with murder after trying to commit suicide while pregnant. Pregnant women are becoming a special class subject to “special” laws that infringe on their fundamental rights.

2. Consigning women to death to save a fetus. Abortions save women’s lives. “Let women die” bills are happening all over the country. Every day, women die because they do not have access to safe abortions.

1. Making women carry still-born fetuses to full term because cows and pigs do. This week, Georgia State Representative Terry England supported a bill, which, taken tandem with other restrictions, will result in doctors and women being unable to make private, medically based decisions, and some women being forced to carry their dead or dying fetuses. Rep. England cited his empathy for livestock in arguing for the bill. Women are different from farm animals. This bill, requiring a woman to carry a dead or dying fetus, is inhumane and unethical. By forcing a woman to do this, you are violating her right not to be subjected to inhuman treatment.

There’s a lot more where that came from. In fact, Ms. Chemaly’s original post was ten reasons the world thinks the U.S. is crazy. I recommend you click here to read her thought-provoking article.

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It’s Not about Birth Control: How “Moral Conscience” Objections Endanger Women’s Lives

Ectopic pregnancy by R. de Graaf in the monogr...

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There has been a lot of discussion about the contraception coverage mandate. Much of the talk has focused on women’s sex lives and the types of birth control that doctors prescribe for women, as well as on the separation of church and state and the mandate’s infringement on religious freedom. There has been less talk about women’s health, women’s rights, and the use of birth control pills to treat medical conditions, including polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriosis. Both of these conditions can cause severe pain and lead to other health problems. The Institute of Medicine, a non-profit advisory panel, recommended the contraception coverage because “those services are basic to individual health.”

Many Americans think that contraceptive coverage arebasic.  Catholic bishops, however, believe that contraceptive coverage and some hospital services are in conflict with the church’s “moral conscience.” The bishops contend that the church has the right to deny certain types of health insurance coverage for women who work for Catholic institutions. The church’s position is that all female employees of Catholic institutions should be denied access to all forms of contraceptives and not be provided medical insurance that would cover the cost of certain medical procedures. The bishops also believe that certain types of treatment and procedures should not be provided to women at Catholic hospitals.

In January 2011, the National Women’s Law Center issued a report about women’s lives being at risk at some hospitals because of religious restrictions. The NWLC report includes an analysis of its study, which focused on Catholic-affiliated hospitals’ treatment of women with pregnancy complications.

From the National Women’s Law Center:

The Center’s report, Below the Radar: Ibis Study Shows that Health Care Providers’ Religious Refusals Can Endanger Pregnant Women’s Lives and Health, demonstrates that certain hospitals, because of their religious beliefs, deny emergency care, the standard of care and adequate information to make treatment decisions to patients experiencing miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies. The study and report focused on cases where no medical intervention was possible that would allow the patient to continue her pregnancy and where delaying treatment would endanger the woman’s health or even life. These hospital treatment practices violate federal laws and regulations that are intended to protect patients and ensure the delivery of quality health care services at hospitals receiving Medicare funds…

“Most women assume that when they go to a hospital they will be offered the best medical treatment options for their diagnosis,” said NWLC Co-President Marcia D. Greenberger. “But this report paints a chilling picture of women with ectopic pregnancies or suffering miscarriages who are not offered the full spectrum of medically appropriate treatment options because they have gone to a hospital whose religious affiliation conflicts with the provision of those options. To make matters worse, women denied certain medical options may never even be told that these options could, for example, improve their chances of having a healthy pregnancy in the future. Women who fail to receive appropriate treatment or to be informed that preferable options would be provided in another hospital can suffer serious harm with long-term adverse consequences to their lives and health.”

The reports highlight stark cases where doctors noted a discrepancy between the medically-accepted standard of care for miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy and the treatment provided by hospitals due to their religious affiliation. For example, while the standard of care for certain ectopic pregnancies requires patients to receive the medication methotrexate, doctors in the study reported that their hospitals forbade the use of the drug. Instead, patients were either transferred to another hospital or required to undergo unnecessary and invasive surgery to resolve their condition, thereby being denied the standard of care.

One doctor in the study reported several instances of potentially fatal tubal ruptures in patients with ectopic pregnancies at her Catholic-affiliated hospital. She said that her hospital subjected patients with ectopic pregnancies to unnecessary delays in treatment, despite patients’ exhibiting serious symptoms indicating that a tubal rupture was possible. These patients, therefore, were denied emergency care to which they were legally entitled.

In some of the miscarriage cases described in the Ibis Study, the standard of care also required immediate treatment. Yet doctors practicing at Catholic-affiliated hospitals were forced to delay treatment while performing medically unnecessary tests. Even though these miscarriages were inevitable, and no medical treatment was available to save the fetus, some patients were transferred because doctors were required to wait until there was no longer a fetal heartbeat to provide the needed medical care. This delay subjected these patients to further risks of hemorrhage and infection and could have violated their right to receive emergency medical treatment under federal law.

Early last year, the NWLC filed a complaint with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in which it identified violations of health care provider obligations “under the Medicare Conditions of Participation (CoPs) resulting from these practices.” The complaint urged “HHS to issue a notification reminding hospitals that they are bound by all CoPs; to require hospitals to institute policies and procedures to protect patients’ legally enforceable rights; to investigate the failure of hospitals to provide standard of care and informed consent, and to take corrective action to prevent further violations.”

Jill Morrison, Senior Counsel for NWLC, said that religious dictates should not “trump bedrock legal protections that entitle patients to the standard of care and informed consent in the American medical system.” She claimed that hospitals have disregarded their obligation “to prioritize women’s health and lives” for too long.

It is of great import for women to read the study. According to the National Catholic Reporter, “Catholic health care facilities form the largest not-for-profit health service sector in the United States, caring for nearly one-sixth of all U.S. hospital patients each year.”

In his article in the March/April 2011 issue of The Humanist, Rob Boston wrote about Catholic Hospitals’ usurpation of patients’ rights:

Healthcare has been in the news a lot lately, but much of the discussion has centered on the bill backed by President Barack Obama that Republicans in Congress are trying to repeal. Americans obviously have different opinions about that legislation. We can hope, however, that most Americans don’t support medical decisions being made subservient to religious dogma.

Yet about a fifth of all U.S. hospitals abide by a series of directives promulgated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The directives ban abortions for any reason, forbid distribution of birth control (often including “morning after” pills for rape victims), deny sterilization operations such as vasectomies and tubal ligations, and nullify advanced directives and “living wills” that conflict with Catholic doctrine.

Catholic hospitals impose these narrow doctrinal views—which are so strict that even most American Catholics don’t support them—while receiving a windfall of public support through direct government subsidies and participation in Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Americans are increasingly finding that medical services they took for granted have evaporated as a spate of hospital mergers across the country has subjected many people to the bishops’ directives. Why is this? Because when Catholic hospitals merge with non-Catholic institutions, the latter are required to accept the directives as part of the deal.

Women’s rights groups and advocates of reproductive freedom have been speaking out, but too often their complaints fall on deaf ears. In Montgomery County, Maryland—an affluent suburb of Washington, DC, with a well educated population that leans toward progressive politics—state regulators recently ruled that a Catholic hospital group could build the county’s first new hospital in thirty years. In making this decision, the board bypassed a rival proposal from a group run by the Seventh-day Adventists. Although both groups are religious, the Adventists had promised to provide the full range of reproductive services.

Asked about the lack of reproductive healthcare at the new facility, one hospital regulator blithely said that people who needed those services could go elsewhere.

Excerpted from Jonathan Turley’s wonderful blog.

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Georgia Democrats Introduce Bill Banning Vasectomies in Response to Attacks on Abortion Rights

English: Close-up of the Georgia State Capitol.

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The Georgia House Judiciary Committee will take up a measure that would prohibit abortions past the twentieth week of pregnancy.

The bill sponsored by Doug McKillip (R-Athens) attempts to tighten “life of the mother” exceptions to abortion:

No such condition shall be deemed to exist if it is based on a diagnosis or claim of a mental or emotional condition of the pregnant woman or that the pregnant woman will purposefully engage in conduct which she intends to result in her death or in substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.

In response, House Democrats scheduled a hearing at the state Capitol to propose a bill that would ban Georgia men from seeking vasectomies.

From the press release:

“Thousands of children are deprived of birth in this state every year because of the lack of state regulation over vasectomies,” said Rep. Yasmin Neal, author of the bill. “It is patently unfair that men can avoid unwanted fatherhood by presuming that their judgment over such matters is more valid than the judgment of the General Assembly, while women’s ability to decide is constantly up for debate throughout the United States.”

House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams added, “The Republican attack on women’s reproductive rights is unconscionable. What is more deplorable is the hypocrisy of HB 954’s author. If we follow his logic, we believe it is the obligation of this General Assembly to assert an equally invasive state interest in the reproductive habits of men and substitute the will of the government over the will of adult men.”

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Study Reveals What Kind of Woman Has a Second Trimester Abortion

English: Histogram of abortions by gestational...

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Nine of ten abortions in the U.S. occur very early in a pregnancy, but until now we didn’t know much about the sort of woman who has an abortion in her second trimester.

Guttmacher Institute researchers conducted analysis of 9,493 women who terminated their pregnancies after the twelfth week of gestation. Women who receive second trimester abortions tend to be young, uneducated, poor, and black, until sixteen weeks’ gestation. After that point, the demographics shift: women receiving abortions at sixteen weeks or later tend to be high income and using health insurance to pay for the procedure.

Because the cost of an abortion increases as the weeks pass, women with high incomes or good health coverage would be more likely to be able to afford a procedure after sixteen weeks. Teens and women with low levels of education might have later term abortions because of a lack of knowledge about their options or access to reproductive health services or because it takes them time to secure the money necessary.

In general, the poorer and less educated a woman was, the greater the chance was that she’d have a second trimester abortion.

More than half of women who received abortions at sixteen weeks or later were terminating intended pregnancies, which means we can infer that some of those procedures may be due to a threat to the mother’s health or an insurmountable birth defect.

The results of this analysis may seem obvious, but they’re important in building a case for more access to contraception and first-trimester abortion providers for young, poor women, as late-term abortions are not fun, and they usually involve women who wish it could have turned out differently. Furthermore, the myth of the flippant pregnant woman deciding to have an abortion at 20 weeks needs to be debunked once and for all.

Via Jezebel.

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Michigan Senate Requires Women Buy an Extra Rider If They Plan to Have an Abortion

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Asking women to pay for extra health insurance covering abortions in advance won’t work because the procedures are in response to unplanned pregnancies.

Nonetheless, Michigan Health Policy Committee members sent to the full Senate two bills that would require health insurance policies to not cover abortions unless women buy an extra rider on their policies.

The bills were approved 7-1. State Sen. Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor) was the sole vote in opposition.

The bills were denounced by choice advocates and a leader of the Michigan National Organization for Women, who called the legislation “sexist.”

Jean Doss, a consultant for Planned Parenthood Advocates, said it’s not likely that women would buy the extra rider because they don’t start a year intending to have the procedure. “No woman plans on having an abortion,” she said.

Ms. Doss said abortions are typically the result of failed contraception, rape or incest, or something going wrong with a pregnancy. “The outcome will be that women are going to shoulder the burden, they’re going to delay services and delay the health care that can lead to serious problems down the line,” she said. “The public is sick of this issue. They want to look at a way to prevent abortions by preventing unwanted pregnancies.”

Mary Pollock, legislative vice president for the Michigan National Organization for Women, called the bills discriminatory and questioned whether the lawmakers would take such steps for procedures faced only by men.

The bills also don’t make sense considering lawmakers aren’t requiring insurance companies to cover the cost of contraception, which could limit the number of abortions.

Via mlive.com.

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Michelle Duggar Suffers Miscarriage of Would-Be 20th Child

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar

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The recent announcement that 19 Kids & Counting star Michelle Duggar suffered a miscarriage inspired waves of sympathy. The baby, due in April, would have been Michelle and husband Jim Bob’s twentieth.

The Duggars have said they plan to choose a name for the baby after they learn if it was to be a boy or a girl. They also plan to hold a funeral.

Michelle says Jim Bob and the children are taking good care of her. “The kids are mothering me now,” she said. “Jill brought me some food and they are taking good care of me.” Daughter Jill is twenty and studying to be a midwife.

According to People magazine, Michelle is recovering at home. Michelle and Jim Bob learned that she’d miscarried at a routine doctor’s appointment.

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Why Banning Abortion Would Be So Bad

This year, rather than fix the economy or create jobs, American lawmakers have opted to make sure that there are as many obstacles between a woman and reproductive control as possible. The impact of restrictive abortion laws is not a mystery; dozens of countries severely restrict women’s access to reproductive health services, and we can glean that an America without legal abortions would be pretty terrible.

Women will die of unsafe abortions. When abortion is outlawed, women die of unsafe abortions. In Latin America, where abortion is restricted (and in some countries banned outright), more women die from having unsafe abortions than in any other region in the world. A 2009 Guttmacher report estimates that 70,000 women die annually from unsafe abortions, and millions of women are seriously harmed.

If women decide to give birth each time they become pregnant, they might die anyway. In countries like Somalia, Uganda, and Niger, where women average six to eight children, the maternal death rate is higher than in countries with lower birth rates. Giving birth is more unsafe than having an abortion.

Victims of sexual assault would be forced to carry pregnancies to term. Last year, in Quintana Roo, Mexico, a ten-year-old girl was raped and impregnated by her father. Because abortion is outlawed in the state, she was denied an abortion. Seventeen other Mexican states have similar abortion restrictions on the books.

Pregnant women with cancer would not be allowed to seek treatment. In Nicaragua, a pregnant twenty-seven-year-old who found out she had cancer was denied treatment because treatment would endanger her fetus (even though without treatment, the woman was projected to die before the baby was even born). Abortion’s been illegal in the country since 2006, and women who seek abortions face jail.

The government’s resources will be further strained. Nicholas Kristof points out that the budget conscious country should consider the implications of forcing millions of unwilling mothers to give birth by providing them with birth control. This will promote economic well-being on both a micro level (diapers are expensive) and a macro level (providing schools for a kids is expensive). Birth control and abortion saves the US an estimated $3.4 billion annually.

Paying detectives to solve miscarriage cases would drain the legal system. Somewhere between one in ten and one in three pregnancies results in a miscarriage; of those miscarriages, 80% happen during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. If fetuses are declared people, how will we find the cause of death? Who will do it?

Via Jezebel.

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A Priest, a Pregnant Teen, and an Old Lady Go to Occupy Seattle… and Get Pepper Sprayed

An Occupy Seattle rally turned chaotic as police scattered a crowd of protesters, including a pregnant nineteen-year-old and an eighty-four-year-old activist, with pepper spray.

The Occupy Seattle movement released a statement late Tuesday expressing support for “a 4-foot 10-inch, 84-year-old woman, a priest and a pregnant woman who as of this writing is still in the hospital.”

Dorli Rainey is an activist who has supported liberal causes in Seattle for decades. A photo showing Ms. Rainey being cared for by fellow activists in the immediate aftermath of the police incident appeared on news websites around the world.

Paramedics examined a handful of people, including a nineteen-year-old woman who is pregnant, Seattle fire department spokesman Kyle Moore said. The woman was taken by ambulance to Harborview Medical Center.

The skirmish Tuesday was the first clash in weeks.

Occupy Seattle moved its encampment to Seattle Central Community College late October. Before that, the group had camped at Westlake Park.

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