Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Not that they're biased

Who says there's no liberal media bias? This article in the Beacon News starts out sounding like a Planned Parenthood press release:

A lack of women's health services in the region, particularly abortion providers, prompted a full-service Planned Parenthood medical office on Aurora's far northeast side.

Scheduled to open the middle of September, the medical complex will offer reproductive and women's health-care services, with an estimated 10 percent of that coming from abortions.

If women need abortion services now, many have to travel to Chicago's North Side, where Planned Parenthood operates a clinic, said Steve Trombley, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood/Chicago Area.

"Because of the limited number of providers unfortunately women have to travel long distances," he said.

An informal survey by The Beacon News found few local hospitals and large-scale health providers willing to perform elective abortions, those medically necessary or both.

Then, looking at the history of abortion practice in Aurora, the paper noted:

An Aurora women's health clinic had provided abortion services until it closed down last year. Louis S. Meyers was evicted in October 2006 from West Suburban Gynecology Clinic on Galena Boulevard in Aurora. Dr. Aleksander Jakubowski operated that clinic from 1991 until retiring in 2005.

About a month after Jakubowski opened his clinic ... 16 people were arrested outside the clinic for criminal trespass and mob action. They had chained themselves to the front porch.

But they didn't give any background on Jakubowski, who was such a bad apple that a feminist newsletter tried to get him shut down. Jakubowski's "clinic", Bread and Roses, claimed to be a woman-centered feminist abortion center. Advertisements for Bread & Roses promised "care and counseling to women as we would like to receive it ourselves," and the Executive Director said that the clinic "has always been conscientious about" not being "a cattle call the way it is in some places." But Feminist Voices took the clinic to task in a rare display of pro choice rank-breaking. The following stories were related in a Feminist Voices expose published in September 1988.

Among those whose stories Feminist Voices shared were former employees of Bread and Roses:

  • "Laura" quit after six months, disgusted, feeling that she was misled by the facility's reputation. She told Feminist Voices that counselors were told to "round up a group of women for counseling" during peak periods.

  • "Margaret," who was laid off August 1987, said of Bread and Roses, "The real philosophy is, each woman is worth X amount of money, and the more women we can see, the more money we can make." She also said that the day the clinic "hit peak patient load, the doctor took everyone out to celebrate."

  • "Jenny" resigned in 1987, saying, "They want to attract feminists, but ... when we find out what it's like, we're going to leave."

  • "Judy" said Bread & Roses "just fuels the fire for the pro-lifers, and that worries me."
    Both Jenny and Laura said that they were trained to "maximize the marketing potential" of women calling the facility. Feminist Voices said that they heard from former employees, who "likened the clinic to an 'assembly line' and a '7-11.'"

    "As business began to pick up, ...they were pressured to move women rapidly through the clinic so Jakubowski...could attend to other commitments."

    "Former employees also said [Bread and Roses abortionist Aleksander] Jakubowski routinely left the premises before patients were fully recovered from surgery. Though Executive Director Zinner maintained the doctor always stayed until he felt the patients no longer required his presence, ex-staff said they were often uncomfortable about his absence."

    Ex-employees who spoke to Feminist Voices also alleged that Jakubowski had then "push" twilight sleep on patients at $60 a dose, sometimes threatening to send a woman home if she refused. The twilight sleep was not being used for patient safety, but for Jakubowski's convenience. Other abortion providers interviewed maintained that such use of twilight sleep put patients at unnecessary risk, and was used by some doctors "because they don't have to deal with the patient."

    Other allegations made by former staff talking to Feminist Voices:

  • Originally the clinic would not do abortions prior to 8 weeks because the smaller size of the fetus makes it difficult to abort successfully, but that when "patients were few," they would do them as early as 5 weeks to increase business.

  • Plastic disposable cannulas were sterilized and re-used to save money.

    After the original expose, Feminist Voices was deluged with letters, many of which they printed:

    "Hooray!! For un-covering the awful work being done at the Bread and Roses Clinic!! This past summer a close friend and I went through an abortion at that factory. We too, were taken in by the feminist jargon purported by their literature. ... It's an assembly line factory.... They say they offer counseling -- what a joke; all they do is take you into this little room, ask how you are today, technically explain the procedure (what's going to be stuck where!) and take your $275. ... In the recovery room, they tried giving my friend aspirin -- which she's very allergic to, but they kept wanting her to take them. And funny thing, no doctor came to see her in the recovery room, imagine that!! A few days later when my friend experienced a lot of bleeding, they wouldn't let us talk to the doctor, and after numerous calls they told us he was unavailable for phone calls!"
    Letter from "Christi" published December 1988/January 1989

    "I chose the Bread & Roses Clinic [for my abortion]. Four days later, I began to have severe cramping and nausea. It became progressively worse - I was unable to go to work. I called the woman at the clinic and explained the situation and what I was experiencing. She said that since I didn't have a temperature it was unlikely that I had an infection. ... What ended up happening is that each day, the cramps and nausea got worse but the woman I talked to basically said hang on. Finally, she supposedly conferred with the doctor who called in a prescription for antibiotics to my pharmacy. I went through four days of hell before I got the prescription - I have never been that sick in my life. I found out a few days later from a gynecologist I had gone to that I had chlamydia. ... After I read the article, I wondered if something had actually happened during the procedure that caused my 'sickness' afterwards. Or--what if the instruments weren't sterilized properly after my procedure? I had chlamydia - could it have been passed to another woman that way? ... I feel betrayed - I naively trusted the clinic... Is there anything that I can do to discourage women from going there?"
    Letter from "Debra" published December 1988/January 1989

    A lengthy missive came from a woman identified as "Erica," and was published in Feminist Voices December 1988/January 1989. Erica picked up her friend, whom she identified as "L.," and drove her to the clinic:

    "In the car I told L. that Bread and Roses was supposed to be a good, progressive clinic for women. It is advertised as a Women's Health Center and even had some blurb in its advertisement in Feminist Voices about care and counseling for women 'as we would like to receive it ourselves.' L. seemed a bit relieved by my words; she had heard about what 'butcher shops' these clinics could be."

    Once they arrived, the first trouble began:

    "L's temperature was high and there was some concern on the staff's part as to whether or not she should go through the procedure that morning. Later, in front of L. and without further explanation, the doctor gruffly told the nurse not to worry about it."

    The counseling, which was supposed to help the woman make a decision on whether or not to have the abortion, and to cover informed consent, was not what Erica and L. had been led to expect:

    "The counseling session was nothing more than a chat on birth control and a reconfirmation that the patient was sure this was the option she chose for her pregnancy."

    The financial policy was something else Erica and L. found disturbing:

    "Policy is ... money up front. Checks are not accepted. There were 3 or 4 people who had to leave the clinic in order to cash a check while the woman they were accompanying sat in the waiting room, unattended, nervous, alone.

    L. and I read over the procedure expectations sheet and L. decided she would prefer a shot of Valium over the usual local anesthetic.... The Valuim was to cost us $30 extra, money we did not have with us. I suggested to the ...staff that L. receive the Valuim shot and I stay with her for the abortion... Then, as soon as L. was in the recovery room, I would go and cash a check for $30. They refused.... I returned at 9:45. Somehow the $30 they had quoted us became $35, but I had enough to pay it in full."

    Erica had been led to believe that she would be providing L. with emotional support throughout the abortion. The experience turned out to be frightening and unnerving for both of them:

    "I ... asked the woman at the desk if I could go in with L.... The receptionist said she would check for me and proceeded to talk with 3 other patients about some common acquaintances. ...she went back to the procedure room only to return and inform me that the door..had been closed and it was a big 'no no' for her to open it. She assured me I would be called as soon as L. was in recovery....

    L. first remembers the female assistant having trouble finding a vein to give her the shot. The woman told the doctor of the trouble; he proceeded to grab the needle from her, grab L.'s arm and roughly inject the Valuim. He then ordered L. on the table and threw her legs apart. ... L. felt as though she was some animal at which the doctor was irritated.

    Her entire experience with the doctor was one of fright, humiliation and vulnerability. She wished I would have been with her...to tell the doctor to stop hurting her and stop treating her the way he was.

    I saw a female staff person and L. leaving the bathroom. L. motioned for me to be with her. I went, but lost sight of her in all the doors and hallways. I asked another staff woman if she knew where L. had just gone. She replied that she did not, but added she would get me when L. was in recovery....

    L. had been in the bathroom 'cleaning up.' After the doctor had finished the abortion he told her to stand up. The told him and the female that she felt she was going to pass a lot of blood. They said it was a common feeling... Suddenly, everything the doctor was supposed to have 'cleaned out' via suction passed onto the floor -- fluids, tissue, and what L. believed to be segments of the fetus. The doctor seemed irritated with her...without any apology or reassurance, he ordered her back on the table.

    As I waited to be called into the recovery room to be with L., women who had entered after us were leaving the center. Where was L.? ... Why hadn't they taken me to her? ..what was going wrong? ... After L. had been 'cleaned' by the doctor a second time she was taken to recovery... She asked for me to be with her and they assured her that I would be called. She was rather nauseous, cold and frightened. Needless to say, her request to have me with her was never granted. ... We believe the other 11 women there that morning, as well as countless others, were treated in the same fashion."

    The fact that prolifers tried to shut him down, that the paper considered newsworthy. But the fact that abortion supporters wanted to see him shut down, a real man-bites-dog story, wasn't worth mentioning.

    There's no media bias. And I have a nice bridge to sell you in Brooklyn.
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