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Helpful Anti-Abortion Doctors Just Making Up Crazy Sh*t At Senate Abortion Pill Hearing
On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the Texas abortion pill ruling featuring Amanda Zurawski, a woman who almost died after being denied an abortion in Texas; law professor Michele Goodwin; and abortion provider Dr. Nisha Verma speaking in favor of abortion rights. It also included OB-GYNs Ingrid Skop and Monique Chireau Wubbenhorst, who somehow are not actually characters in a Roald Dahl book, speaking against them.
The absolute most glaring thing about the anti-choice side, including both those testifying and those on the Senate Judiciary Committee, was their deep commitment to living in a fantasy world full of hypotheticals, bad science, things that do not actually happen, things that make no actual sense, things that no one can prove, and things that have absolutely nothing to do with whether or not abortion is illegal.
Let's check out some of Dr. Skop's greatest hits.
"Senator [Tammy] Baldwin has reintroduced the Women’s Health Protection Act, which ironically does nothing to protect the health of a pregnant woman from a dangerous abortion."
Actually it's meant to ensure a safe abortion. A dangerous abortion is the kind you have when you cannot get a safe, legal abortion.
"This proposed legislation insists there can be no common sense safeguards to protect a woman. The words choice, voluntary, and consent are completely missing, opening the door to others who will benefit from abortion — sex traffickers, incestuous abusers, and unwilling fathers."
It is not actually legal to force anyone to have any medical procedure against their will, and it is frightening that Dr. Skop, being a doctor, is unaware of that. Her malpractice insurance provider may want to take note of this. All medical procedures are, in fact, voluntary unless one is unconscious and doctors are trying to save their life.
It also stands to reason that the kind of sex trafficker or incestuous abuser who would force someone to have an abortion against their will is probably not going to go "Well, if a safe, legal abortion isn't an option, I guess I better just turn myself in!"
For the record, doctors are mandated reporters who are required by law to tell the police about instances of child abuse. This entire line of thought requires believing that abortion doctors are absolute psychopaths who violate the law at every turn.
"Despite its euphemistic name, the Women’s Health Protection Act prioritizes the death of the unborn human at the expense of the health or even the desires of a pregnant woman."
Oh yes, because doctors are just so excited about getting to kill an "unborn human" that they will do it without regard to the health or desires of the patient. That is definitely a thing that happens regularly and without piles of malpractice lawsuits being filed.
"Mental health complications including anxiety, depression and substance and alcohol abuse are higher after an abortion, particularly after late or coerced abortions or if there are pre-existing mental health issues."
Well, according to the American Psychological Association, "more than 50 years of international psychological research shows that having an abortion is not linked to mental health problems, but restricting access to safe, legal abortions does cause harm." That being said, it is more likely that a later-in-pregnancy abortion was a wanted pregnancy that had complications. Coerced abortions are not legal, so there are no studies on those — although it's likely that would be just as traumatic as a coerced birth. It would also stand to reason that people with pre-existing mental health issues would continue to have those same mental health issues following an abortion. It's also possible that they could be exacerbated by an abortion, just as they could be exacerbated by a pregnancy they don't want (or do want, even).
"European studies document over half of babies survive induction abortions and 69 percent of US late term abortions report they do not routinely kill the fetus first, so it is likely that many babies survived late term abortions and then are passively or actively killed. Infanticide used to be a red line, but no longer."
No, it is not even remotely likely. It is, without question, illegal to "passively or actively" kill a newborn baby. The fact is, babies that live through induced labor (generally performed for reasons related to the health of the mother or serious and unsurvivable congenital anomalies) are not capable of surviving outside of the womb for more than a day.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a systematic review of infant deaths using National Vital Statistics System Mortality Data from 2003 to 2014 and found that 143 (0.05%) infant deaths were clearly classified as involving an induced abortion and two thirds of these (ie. 97 cases) involved a maternal complication or multiple congenital indications. Almost 90% of the 143 infants (n=128) died within four hours of birth, while nine lived between five and 23 hours and the remaining six lived for one day or more.
Skop was not the only person at this hearing who was full of it. Sen. John Cornyn used his time to talk about Kermit Gosnell, while trying to insinuate that this is the kind of thing legal abortion leads to. Sen. Dick Durbin, helpfully, reminded him that Gosnell is in fact in prison and has been since well before Roe v. Wade was overturned, because what he did was illegal.
It was illegal for Gosnell to kill three newborn babies when he did it, and it is illegal now. It would, in fact, be far easier for a Kermit Gosnell to operate in an area where abortion is illegal — because if he were performing illegal abortions while also serial killing newborn babies and the occasional adult woman, people would be less likely to report him for actual crimes because they wouldn't want to get in trouble themselves. Anyone who spends a sufficient amount of time watching the ID Channel could tell you that.
Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana used his time to interrogate the speakers about whether or not they believe abortion should be legal up until the day of birth, which is not a thing that happens in real life. It's a lot like asking "Should it be legal to skydive while giving birth?" or even "Should it be legal to juggle cats while giving birth?" in that this is not something that anyone in their right mind is trying to do. They are not explicitly illegal because one assumes they are really the kind of things people can work out with their doctor.
He also claimed that the Women's Health Protection Act allowed for this, which it does not. It allows for abortion up until viability — approximately six months, when the fetus can possibly live outside the womb — and for termination after that point "where it is necessary, in the good-faith medical judgment of the treating health care professional, for the preservation of the life or health of the person who is pregnant" or in the case of a fatal fetal anomaly.
There is a reason why people like Kennedy keep harping on this and it's not simply because they are daft. It is because they want to insinuate that people who have or perform abortions are doing it out of cruelty, because they get off somehow on murdering babies that could live outside the womb just for funsies.
A particularly jarring part of Dr. Skop and Dr. Wubbenhorst's testimonies was that they seemed to truly believe that termination of a pregnancy for a medically necessary reason does not actually count as an abortion. Skop, standing rather close to a woman who nearly died waiting for doctors to decide if she was close enough to death to merit a lifesaving abortion, repeatedly insisted that those doctors just had everything wrong and didn't understand the law.
Sen. Chuck Grassley asked Dr. Wubbenhorst, "Can you explain how women can still receive compassionate and necessary medical treatment from pregnancy complications without performing an abortion?" and she claimed that termination of a pregnancy in such a case "is not morally an abortion, and therefore it is ethically permissible." Notably, no such legal or medical distinction exists. That's not a thing. There's no "morally an abortion." Whether or not something is an abortion is in no way dependent on whether or not Dr. Wubbenhorst or anyone else considers it "moral" or not.
Is the fact that these people cannot make a case without making shit up a sign that they do not actually have one? I would think so. I would think that if they sincerely believed that there was something wrong with the actual reality of abortion in this country or anywhere else, that they would be making that case instead of imagining legions of women who carry babies for nine months only to ask their doctor to stab said baby in the head as it's being born or pretending that actual infanticide of a newborn baby is legal.
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