Saturday, March 06, 2010

An ultrasound does its job

Converted Planed Parenthood administrator and counselor Abby Johnson describes her moment of truth:

Now, I don't believe that the baby realized it was about to be killed. I think it's a simple matter of moving away from an unpleasant stimulus, as any of us would move if somebody poked a hard, blunt object into us. It's just very telling that the baby responded to the stimulus, after Abby had assured the mother that her baby wouldn't feel a thing.

So much for "informed consent".

Proponents of keeping women in the dark about what abortion does to the unborn may be motivated by paternalism ("Let's not worry her pretty little head!"), compassion ("It's hard enough without her knowing the truth."), greed ("We'll lose a customer if we tell her too much.") or social/political philosophy ("I consider the fetus irrelevant, therefore information about the fetus is irrelevant to all women." But if we're going to treat women seeking abortion like adults, we need to be honest with them. And hiding reality is not being honest.

HT: Eve's Ransom


OperationCounterstrike said...

You are confused about the meaning of "informed consent". In a medical setting, "informed consent" means the patient understands what (s)he will suffer, and what the benefits will be, plus a very general, no-details-necessary explanation of what's being done (eg "I'm taking out part of your bowel.")

"Informed consent" does NOT mean you know any details about how the procedure will be done, and it certainly doesn't mean you have to see pictures, sonograms or x-rays or whatever.

OperationCounterstrike said...

I think women who want to see their sonograms should get to see them, but it's not part of "informed consent".

Christina Dunigan said...

OC, since 80% of abortion-minded women who view ultrasounds of their fetuses end up rejecting abortion, I'd say that viewing the ultrasound is a key element of informed consent.

ANYTHING that makes that many prospective patients rethink a surgery ought to be included.

OperationCounterstrike said...

1. Where in the world did you get that number 80%? Let me guess: a site called, right?

2. Even if it were so, seeing your sonograms would still not be part of informed consent. Not the way doctors use the term "informed consent". You are using the term with reference to what you imagine it should mean, not with reference to what it actually means.

3. Even if your 80% is right, you have to adjust for the fact that the women who REQUEST to see their ultrasounds are the same ones who are undecided in the first place. It's a self-selecting group. This means if you forced everyone to watch ultrasound, the rate would be much lower.

OperationCounterstrike said...

RE: "ANYTHING that makes that many prospective patients rethink a surgery ought to be included."

Not if refusing the surgery means you're gonna undergo something much more traumatic than the surgery! As is the case when you refuse an abortion.

Christina Dunigan said...

Thanks for exposing typical pro-abortion paternalistic thinking, OC! "I consider rejecting this treatment to be more traumatic so I will opt to withhold information from the patient."

And about your claim that informed consent typically doesn't involve seeing ultrasounds and X rays, I think I'm gonna ask my readers about that. I just had two bits of dental work done -- both dentists showed me the x-rays and pointed out where the problem was and talked about why they were recommending the specific treatment.

And when my mammogram came back abnormal, the doctor showed me the films and the mass, and explained why they're recommended a follow up ultrasound. He let me watch the ultrasound screen as that was performed, and pointed to the mass and explained why he thought it looked suspicious and why he thought an additional mammogram wasn't called for, but rather a biopsy. I watched the ultrasound while the biopsy was being performed, and the doctor told me what he thought of how the mass responded to having a sample taken.

And the more I think of it, the more I recall ALWAYS being shown x-rays and ultrasounds and EKG strips and lab results and so forth. When my son broke his hand, they showed us the x-ray. When my ex dropped a car on his foot, they showed us the x-ray. All the medical treatments my boss has been undergoing, they've showed her the MRIs.

Seems that abortion doctors are alone in thinking it's best to treat your patient like she wants to be kept as ignorant as possible.

Kathy said...

Informed consent also entails,

-The ability to understand the consequences of choosing each of the options

While you may say, "A woman getting an abortion only needs to know that the 'consequence' of an abortion is that she's 'un-pregnant,'" when women come to regret their abortions because they later found out about fetal development and such, and *would have made a different choice* had more information been given them, or had they seen an u/s, then an u/s should be a part of informed consent.

It's sort of like circumcision -- some parents are told that circumcision removes "just a little bit of skin," or that it's "just a little snip," or "clipping off the foreskin," -- different ways of minimizing what happens. Few parents are told that their babies are going to be strapped into a board, unable to move, a sharp instrument is going to be shoved between the head of the penis and the foreskin (which is often still securely attached to the glans), that instrument is going to be rotated around the penis to cut the foreskin completely away from the glans, and the entire foreskin (which is about 3x5" in most adult males) will be removed. And this done without anesthesia. I wonder what the circumcision rate would be with a true description of what happens. Minimizing the reality doesn't make reality less real; it only serves to make for regret when people find out the truth, and discover that they gave consent when they were not truly informed.

Christina Dunigan said...

Kathy, thanks for pointing out that there is another common surgical procedure often done without any real informed consent! Though circumcisions tend to go in and out of fashion. When my son was born, only one woman on our ward was getting her baby circumcised, and you could tell they were trying to guilt-trip her about it. Those of us who rejected it just got a nod and a tick in a check-box on our babies' paperwork. Probably there ought to be more informed consent for parents about the rationale for both performing and forgoing the surgery.

We rejected it for our son because it's mutilating a healthy body, and when we researched it on our own before his birth, we concluded that good personal hygiene would do just as good a job at reducing cancer risk. (Though other moms in my husband's unit later tried to guilt-trip me for NOT having my baby circumcised! I had a horrible nightmare about it.)

Lauren said...

Ugh. I had forgotten about the whole circumcision debate. Since I'm about to have another son, we'll have to make that choice. My first son had a hypospadias so there was no question. They had to use the foreskin in the repair.

I'm praying this little man doesn't have the same defect, since the surgeries were painful.

Kathy said...

My mother & MIL both said they weren't asked or even *told* before their sons were circ'd -- the babies were just brought to them one day, and the nurses told the moms that they'd just been circ'd.

I'm glad to hear about your experience (not the getting guilt-tripped part) because there are still hospitals, doctors and nurses that urge parents to get their sons circumcised, although there are no good studies that support routine circ.

Lest I hijack the thread :-) I'll just link to my blog which has several circumcision-related links and posts, and also to Circumcision Decision Maker for an interactive tool to determine if circumcision is right for you (if you're an adult male) or for your son.