Five Myths About Youth-Targeted Abortion Laws
"With mandated parental consent and notification laws come a series of dangerous misconceptions that are erecting barriers to health care for youth instead of increased resources and information."
Read more here: http://rhrc.us/1yUj5Fe
The Kermit Gosnell film raised more than $2 million from 26,574 backers to produce a lurid movie dramatizing the Gosnell trial in what will most likely be anti-abortion propaganda.
Having a severely premature baby strengthened my support for every woman’s right to choose.
At 23.5 weeks I started spotting, and in a matter of hours found myself in a downward spiral from doctor’s office to ambulance to hospital with a level 3 neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) on the other side of town. My cervix was dilating, the baby was coming, and I was diagnosed, in the insensitive language of medicine, with an “incompetent” cervix. For almost 24 hours they worked to stop the progress. I was positioned with my head lower than my feet, in the Trendelenburg position, to try to enlist the help of gravity. I was given magnesium sulfate to slow preterm labor and dexamethasone, a steroid, to speed fetal lung development. I was hooked to a monitor that showed I was having contractions that at first I couldn’t even feel. We found out by ultrasound that it was a girl. A nurse sat by my bed all through the night.
Sometime the next morning the doctors discovered that my membranes had ruptured and that it was not going to be possible to put off delivery. They also discovered that the cord lay between my cervix and my premature daughter, meaning that natural childbirth would be fatal, and if we planned to try to save her life we would need an emergency c-section.
Whether or not we planned to save her life was not a given. Sober-faced doctors laid out in detail what our choices were. We were told that she had no chance of survival without extraordinary medical intervention. We were told that she had about a 25 percent chance of survival if we resuscitated, and that if she survived she had an over 75 percent chance of significant disability and chronic medical need.
We had a choice. We could accept what was happening—that we were losing this baby we so very much wanted, deliver her, and hold her briefly in our arms while her heart, if it was still beating after delivery, stopped. She would go, peacefully, painlessly, and we would begin the grieving process. Or we could resuscitate, intubate, and head down the uncertain and complicated road of medical intervention.
I couldn’t let her go. Lying there pumped full of magnesium, scared and tired, I couldn’t let go of the idea of that child I had become attached to over those almost six months. I couldn’t let go of my expectations of parenthood. I couldn’t accept the inevitability of grief. And so I said, “Do everything you can.” The NICU team was called, I was whisked to surgery, and we began the next stage of our journey.
Bad news not just for abortion doctors, but for the mental health industry as well.
The latest in a long string of state bills requiring doctors to provide such misleading literature to women seeking abortion has popped up in Louisiana. But unlike many of these bills, which require doctors to provide literature with lies claiming abortion causes breast cancer and other physical ailments, this bill is focused strictly on false mental health claims.
Under House Bill 1262, which passed the Louisiana House of Representatives on Monday, abortion providers would be required to distribute a pamphlet that includes information about the “alleged psychological effects of abortion,” and lists names of mental health resources for women who are seeking assistance. Patients would be required to sign a form confirming that they received the pamphlet, and then wait at least 24 hours before returning for abortion care.
The committee that’s been assigned the task of writing the pamphlet is made up of anti-choice activists and politicians. Actual mental health professionals were barred from being on the panel, continuing in the grand right-wing tradition of extreme hostility to actual science and evidence. It’s no wonder in this case, since the research on abortion and mental health demonstrates that having an abortion has no impact on later mental health outcomes, meaning that actual mental health professionals might do something unpleasant, like object to flagrant lying to women in an attempt to scare them out of abortion. The sleaziness of this entire operation is hard to overstate.
[via Amanda Marcotte, RHRC]
A 10-Year-Old Rape Victim Who’s Pregnant With Twins Is Being Denied An Abortion In Senegal
A 10-year old Senegalese girl who became pregnant with twins after being raped by a neighbor is being forced to continue with her pregnancy, thanks to her country’s stringent restrictions on abortion. Human rights advocates have been trying to pressure the government to allow the girl to seek abortion care, but they’ve been unsuccessful so far.
“She is going to have to go through with the pregnancy. The best we can do is keep up pressure on the authorities to ensure the girl gets regular scans and free medical care,” Fatou Kiné Camara, the president of the Senegalese women lawyers’ association, told the Guardian.
Camara explained that under Senegal’s current abortion law, which is one of the harshest among African nations, requires three doctors to certify that a woman will die immediately unless she ends her pregnancy. But poor women in the country are hardly ever able to visit a doctor, let alone three in quick succession.
The country’s abortion ban is based on an archaic penal code that dates back to 1810. The U.N. Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has expressed concern about the draconian law, pointing out that it’s leading to a particularly high rates of illegal abortions and maternal deaths. Doctors who perform abortions, and women who seek them, can be thrown in jail for years. Hundreds of women die from unsafe abortion procedures in Senegal every year.
Camara’s organization is pressuring the Senegalese government to bring its abortion law in line with the African charter on women’s rights, which calls for legal abortion services in cases when a woman has been a victim of rape or incest, when a woman’s life is in danger, or when a woman’s mental health is in jeopardy. Although Senegal ratified that charter a decade ago, those changes to its total abortion ban haven’t been implemented. That disproportionately impacts the poor residents of the country, who can’t afford to seek out illegal services at a private clinic.
The 10-year-old rape victim is an example of this type of economic stratification, too. “Senegal must legalize medicalized abortion so that we never see any more cases like hers,” Camara told the Guardian. “Had we had time and had the girl’s parents been willing, we could have asked a judge to consider guaranteeing immunity from prosecution to an [abortion] doctor. However, the family is poor; the process is difficult enough for them. They were just pleased when the rapist was arrested.”
This issue is certainly not specific to Senegal. A similar situation sparked considerable controversy in Chile last year, when an 11-year-old rape victim was not permitted to end her pregnancy. And there was a massive outcry when a dying Salvadoran woman was initially denied the abortion she needed to save her life, despite the fact that her fetus wasn’t viable. Ireland was recently pressured to slightly loosen its laws in this area after a 31-year-old woman died as a result of being denied an emergency abortion. Across the entire globe, an estimated 47,000 women die each year because they lack access to safe, legal abortion care.
Harsh bans on reproductive health services are out of step with the international community’s stance on women’s rights. Just last week, public health and human rights leaders from over 30 countries issued a new resolution on abortion rights, calling on governments to decriminalize the procedure to prevent women from dying. And earlier this year, the United Nations encouraged countries to remove unnecessary restrictions on abortion to help safeguard women’s fundamental human rights.