Monday, November 01, 2010

Alas for the poor aspiring abortionists

Abortion Training: Hard To Get?:

Family physician Jules Marsh, MD, did a year in emergency medicine before switching to family medicine. During both residencies, she set up month-long electives to learn how to perform abortions. Otherwise, she said, she would not have even heard it discussed.

If what she means is, "Alas! Nobody was teaching us the joys of being an abortionist, and letting us practice dismantling babies!" then I'd say "Thank God!"

But really, abortion DOES need to be discussed in medical school. Family doctors need to know (as do OB/GYNS) that ambivalence and rejection are common and normal in early pregnancy. They need to be reminded of their responsibility to try the less drastic and reversible treatments before resorting to something as drastic and permanent as abortion.

They need to be educated about the real needs of women with health problems, and women facing prenatal diagnoses.

They need to be, in short, un-brainwashed.

And doctors in emergency medicine need to be taught how to spot and treat abortion complications. And they need to know to suspect ectopic pregnancy in women who have recently undergone abortions. Lives could be saved if doctors learned that it's not safe to assume that if she just had an abortion recently, she can't possibly be pregnant.

Family physician Debra Stulberg, MD, said she had an equally difficult time seeking out training she wanted. She ultimately set up an elective at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Chicago during her family medicine residency. But it wasn't easy.

It was so hard to be trained in killing babies. *Cue violins*

"I came in knowing I wanted to be trained in the full scope of women's health..."

Which would include opening your mind to a bit of reality instead of just working on the unproven assumption that if a woman has the idea of an abortion in her head, it means that an abortion will really be palliative. See my first point, above.

The number of facilities offering abortions declined 11% between 1996 and 2000.

I wish I had a stock video of celebration and fireworks. Lamenting a decline in abortion facilities is like lamenting a shortage of machetes among warlords in Darfur. "Gosh, it's just so HARD to get the arms and legs yanked off babies anymore!" Yeah. As if that's going to break my heart.

"There are a lot of residents interested in learning the full scope of women's health, but they're not getting the opportunity."

Yes, as I said before. The medical schools are failing to teach about the normal psychology of pregnancy. Which is inexcusable.

And there's more good news:

The American Medical Association leaves members to decide individually where they stand on abortion. AMA policy "encourages education on termination of pregnancy issues," but further states, "any direct or indirect participation in an abortion should not be required."

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education doesn't require abortion training for family medicine residents, but residents can take it as an elective.

Though, of course, it'd be nice if they'd get it out of their heads that it's even POSSIBLE to "help" a troubled woman by dismembering her baby. And if she really wants the baby dismembered, she needs psychiatric help.

The ACGME requires that all obstetrics and gynecology residents learn how to handle abortion complications.

Which is as it should be. They're likely to be the ones cleaning up the circuit-riders messes. As are emergency physicians and family doctors, who also should be required to learn to treat abortion complications -- or at least to quickly recognize them and call in expert help.

"I don't think there's a problem of our future generation of ob-gyns being unable to treat women adequately," he said.

The fact that many of them operate under the assumption that the normal ambivalence of early pregnancy should be "treated" by killing the baby indicates that there is CURRENTLY a crop of ob-gyns who don't know how to treat women adequately.

NAF researchers said an official on the ACGME's Residency Review Committee for Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1997 estimated that 35% of residents completing their fourth year of ob-gyn training had not performed a single abortion.

The sad thing is that this means that 65% of ob/gyn residents HAVE killed at least one unborn baby. This is like being told that 65% of priests have molested children. It's not a comforting thought.

If a hospital were to deny residents access to abortion training, it would be open to disciplinary actions, including loss of accreditation, according to ACGME program requirements.

If they mean "deny residents access to training in killing unborn babies", then this is akin to disciplining a seminary for failing to promote pedophilia. If they mean, "deny residents access to training in how to identify and help abortion-vulnerable women, and to spot and treat abortion complications", then I'd agree that loss of accreditation might be appropriate.

But hey, aspiring abortionists, Steve Brigham will train you and offer you a lucrative job! Despair not! Baby-shredding remains a viable career option!


Anonymous said...

Here's hoping it gets a whole lot harder, too ;)

Lilliput said...

Christina, you can't have it both ways. Lament that only quacktitioner doctors perform abortions and be happy with no abortion training in medical school. An obs/gyn is so much more likely to say to a long term patient coming into his practice, " I know you've said you want an abortion cause the baby's daddy is a waste of space but why don't you take a couple of weeks to think about it and we can see how you feel then?"

Then you have a specialist in all matters female - ectopic or otherwise. I don't know why you are so against this one stop women shop.

Christina Dunigan said...

Lil, a properly trained doctor wouldn't just say, "Why don't you take a couple of weeks to think about it and we can see how you'll feel then?"

He'd say:

"First of all, this feeling of being unable to cope and unready to parent is normal in early pregnancy. There are two things that typically help -- a chance for the baby to become real for you, and getting you hooked up with some support to address your problems.

So I'd recommend things that have helped other women in your situation. First of all, I'd like to show you the baby on ultrasound. Eighty percent of women who see the ultrasound and have a trained technologist showing them the baby change their minds about wanting abortions.

The other thing I'd recommend is that you visit one of these organizations. Here are their brochures, that tell about the help they offer."

Something like that. A doctor's responsibility is to ACTUALLY HELP his patient, not to just be a technician who allows patients to self-refer for surgery, with no education and no screening and no attempts to use less drastic measures first.

I once thought I wanted jaw surgery to correct a disproportion between my upper and lower jaws. For TEN YEARS I thought I wanted this surgery. And I was seriously pissed off that the doctor wouldn't just buckle down and do what I wanted. Until after I realized that he had used his experience and training to get me to really consider all the ramifications of what I was considering. I changed my mind, and was grateful for the fact that he was more concerned about doing right by me than he was in just doing surgery on everybody who walked in asking for it.

Why should a woman be entitled to less just because she's pregnant?

Lauren said...

Is there any reason that a doctor would need to learn how to perform an early abortion as opposed to simply learning how to do a D&C for a miscarriage?

I can see how learning to do a D&C would be important, but not why the baby needs to be alive before the procedure.

Christina Dunigan said...

Lauren, the abortion advocates do have a point that performing an abortion requires that you dilate a cervix that is trying to protect the baby, which you don't need to do if you're doing a D&C post-miscarriage. But I believe that they learn to do dilations in surgery for fibroids and other situations.

What I really think the goal is, is normalizing abortion, and getting the aspiring doctors to break the taboo and force them to overcome their revulsion. They hope that if they do it once, it'll be like losing your virginity. You've passed a threshhold and entered into something else, become something else, something you weren't before. In this case, a killer.

Lilliput said...

Christina,if abortion isn't normalized with proper doctors then you get the abnormal freaks and perverts doing abortions like your later post.

And I agree with you that a proper doctor would advise or refer her for a scan and other helpfull organisations - but if after that she still wants to have an abortion then it should be part of the service he/she offers. Otherwise that women is forced to go to a pervert or deviant quacktitioner.

I don't know how else to solve the problem of unwanted pregnancies.

Christina Dunigan said...

Lil, I'll address your last point first: It's a myth that "unwanted pregnancies" mean unwanted babies. I had a VERY unwanted pregnancy, but loved my baby from the moment he was placed in my arms. Nothing even remotely unwanted about him. And I'm not alone in that.

Now, as for the issue of the doctors, what do you think would happen if doctors were trained to handle stressed out pregnant women with well-trained professionalism, giving them information and access to resources, and resorted to abortion only if the less intrusive and drastic measures failed to alleviate her distress?

I would bet that the abortion rate would plummet.

It might even plummet to the point where the prolife movement lost momentum, because they couldn't get any public outrage over a few thousand abortions a year.

It would be worth trying, wouldn't it?

Kathy said...

Lilliput, there are two parts to the term "unwanted pregnancy" -- "unwanted" and "pregnancy". While you may see that only one of those terms can be changed to reduce the numbers of unwanted pregnancies -- i.e., reduce the numbers of pregnancies by abortion; the reality is, you can reduce the "unwantedness" of the pregnancy, and also reduce the numbers of unwanted pregnancies, without resorting to killing the fetus.

Christina Dunigan said...

Kathy, that's a great way of expressing it!

There's also a difference between not wanting to be pregnant, and wanting the baby to be dead. And unless the woman WANTS the baby do be dead, does she really want an abortion? Or does she want a way to cope with her situation that relieves her distress?

For example, imagine somebody who inherits a horse from their uncle. They don't want the horse -- meaning they don't want the responsibility for the horse. That doesn't mean that they want somebody to shoot the horse. They might want to keep ownership of the horse if it turns out the uncle also left them enough money to pay somebody to care for the horse, so they can have the pleasure of the horse without the responsibility. They might want to give the horse to a therapeutic riding charity. They might want to sell the horse. There are many options for dealing with this unwanted horse -- some of which might actually make it a wanted horse -- that don't require killing the horse in question.

Lilliput said...

I get what you're saying but where exactly is the help and resources. I don't see poor single moms with living children getting much support - and they are some of the women who are having the abortions as they know they don't get support - or its their friends who see them struggle to bring up their children.

Where are all these resources and why aren't they given to the poor in the US today?

Kathy said...

Lilliput, women could give their children up for adoption; they don't have to kill them. Infants, and particularly newborns, are highly adoptable. Yet every time that's brought up, you bring up that *some* people who were adopted regretted their adoption and wished that they had been raised in their birth families.

A lot of the help that is available to women is not flashy nor from big organizations. We do have government hand-outs, although some people seem to think that they should be able to live comfortably on it, and are surprised when it is only a safety net and not a trampoline. But a lot of help -- the best kind of help -- is from organizations that don't have a whole lot of overhead, and have a personal touch.

Is it a perfect system? No. But at least nobody's being murdered as a result. If you're waiting for perfection before you'll stop advocating for the use of abortion to rid the world of people you think shouldn't be here, you'll be waiting a long time.

Christina Dunigan said...

Lil, the poor single moms I work with get:

1. Subsidized housing (means paying about $30 a month for an apartment worth $400 a month)
2. Subsidized utilities
3. A free cell phone with enough minutes to maintain necessary communication (not to yak with your BBF all day, but enough to look for work and check in with the babysitter)
4. Free medical coverage
5. Free medical transportation
6. Free transportation to work programs
7. Enough in Food Stamps to feed twice as many people as are actually in her family
8. Supplemental WIC checks, redeemable for staple foods such as rice, cheese, milk, cereal, bread, fruits and vegetables, etc.
9. Free child care
10. Free mental health services
11. Free job training
12. Paid work activities
13. Free job search assistance and job placement
14. Up to $2,050 toward the purchase of a car
15. Subsidized car repairs, licensing fees for the car, state inspections, and car insurance
16. Free eyeglasses and hearing aids
17. Back-to-school packages for the kids including backpacks, coats, gloves and hats, shoes, and school supplies
18. Christmas packages including food, clothing, and gifts for the kids
19. Free job interview outfit and enough clothing for a week on the job
20. Fees paid for professional testing and licensing

That's just off the top of my head. I've also seen poor families get free appliances (refrigerators, stoves, washing machines and dryers), free furniture, and cases of diapers and wipes.

And that's if they're just an ordinary poor household that nobody has taken a special interest in. Our church also "adopts" families and lavishes gifts on them at Christmas time. I've seen prolife bloggers raise money for a single mom who needed to catch up several months of back mortgage to avoid foreclosure. A local church does outreach to at-risk pregnant women to provide mentoring, necessities, and whatever they need. I saw them find a nice apartment and raise the money for all the deposits (security deposit and utility deposits) and to start off the rent.)

Women willing to work are currently eligible for a program that pays their rent for up to six months, helps with back utility bills, etc., with a focus on money management training.

Of course, you have to take advantage of all of it. We've seen single moms buckle down, get their education, and get good jobs. We've seen other single moms who just blow off all the opportunities they're given and instead get in trouble with useless men. We can make it available to them, but we can't force themselves to better their lives if they're determined to just rot on welfare.

Yeah, on the one hand, welfare sucks. But I just sat down with a client today and added up all her monthly subsidies, and divided by the amount of time the state expects her to participate in job training in exchange, and it works out to $14.50 an hour. That's better than what I'm making by a long shot, and I have a college degree and have been working since I was 14 years old.

Lilliput said...

So then what's the problem. There is help out there for mothers who would like to keep their babies - so if a women decides she still doesn't want to have the baby - what can you possibly do?

On adoption - I still think its a system that finds parents for babies not babies for parents. There are plenty adoptable children languishing in care that don't have a home.

On another note I have to add from personal experience of friends with children living on state benefits. Its not just money that a mom requires to bring her children up to be healthy adults but support from friends and family. If a mom doesn't get space and time away from her kids she can become depressed and overwhelmed - which doesn't help the kids much either. So I take it that women contemplating abortion are also thinking who will help me with this child by babysitting if and when I have things to do or need some time alone or with my husband/partner?

Kathy said...

There are many "adoptable" children that are not adopted; and there are many children in foster care that are not able to be adopted. Neither of which changes the fact that babies are nearly 100% certain of being adopted, unless the mother or father refuses to relinquish their right to the baby. Are you insisting that 100% of children currently in foster care be adopted, before you consider adoption a viable alternative? Do you happen to know what percentage of children in foster care are "adoptable" and which ones are not?

And your last paragraph seems to be grasping at straws. You seem to imply that women who might have abortions will have no family support and no friends should they choose not to kill their babies; while all women who don't contemplate abortion will have ample support. Sure, there are going to be times when every mother feels overwhelmed, but this isn't a permanent situation (although abortion is); and mothers may feel overwhelmed with "planned and wanted" children just as much as with children resulting from "unplanned" pregnancies. This whole concept is mindbogglingly childish. Sure, women need support from their friends and family; they need time alone; they may have trouble juggling the needs of their child and job and what-not, but it's nothing but what millions of other women have to learn. And this is one reason why many crisis pregnancy centers (and other organizations) offer free parenting classes and things like that, so that women won't feel overwhelmed when the baby is born.

Christina Dunigan said...

Lil, I'm not pretending that there are easy answers. In fact, that's one of the problems I have with abortion: it pretends that there IS an easy answer. Treat the woman's body, and the child it's nurturing, as if it's The Enemy. Enter the woman's body with chemical and edged weapons, kill the fetus, and declare victory. But this does nothing to address how she ended up there in the first place -- witness the 50% repeat abortion rate.

There's something utterly bizarre about the fact that as a society, we like everything to be organic and natural -- until it comes to women's bodies. We're perfectly okay with women being at constant war with their own biology, waging chemical warfare on their ovaries and bringing in the Bunker Buster to dislodge the fetus.

We teach women to demand something of their bodies that those bodies just are NOT geared up to give -- casual sex without reproduction. Then, when the sex leads to reproduction, we pass judgment on whether it was a technological problem (did the contraceptive fail?) or a user failure. But if in any other area of life, somebody went full tilt against the way their body was designed, you'd think they were insane.

Lilliput said...

I don't know either Christina, but the difference between us is that you're certain that abortion isn't the answer where I think that abortion may at times be the answer.

I also don't know which society you think likes organic - that's the middle class and rich - the majority are too poor to ponder where or how their food comes on their plates. They are too consumed with meeting their survival needs - and of course its life and death - and that's where abortion comes in.

I wonder what proportion of abortions are actually had by mothers - I think that's very telling.

Finally Kathy about adoption - its adoption month here in the uk and I think there are only 25% available for adoption. The breakdown rate for adoption is a third fail.

There are 463 000 estimated kids in fostercare - what's happening to all these kids?

Christina Dunigan said...

Lil, wouldn't you still like to see abortion limited to those women for whom time, a look at the ultrasound, and some love and support won't do the job? Do you really like the status quo, where women are NOT told that these feelings typically pass, that there are X resources in their community to help, and given a chance to talk to somebody who has been in their shoes and ended up happy to have the baby?

And it's not the poor who are in favor of abortion. They end up on the abortion table, but usually crying rather than triumphant. It's the rich granola-munchers who love "natural" things in their own lives who tend to think abortion is Just Right for the Unwashed Masses.

Unless you have a seedy abortionist who's selling abortions to women who got false positives on their pregnancy tests, they're ALL had by mothers.

And most of the kids in foster care aren't available for adoption. The parents haven't relinquished rights. Do you want those parents to have their parental rights just taken away from them? (In a LOT of cases, I'd say yes.)

Kathy said...

Many, and perhaps most, children in foster care are there because of a temporary situation. As Christina asked, should all those parents just have their parental rights stripped without due process?

Btw, are all cases of foster care necessarily non-family, or could a child be considered in foster care if an aunt or grandparent was taking care of them?

There was a woman in New Jersey whose newborn baby was taken from her 3 years ago because she refused to sign a blanket agreement for a C-section upon admittance to the hospital [the situation escalated from that point, with the mother threatening to call the police on the hospital, and the hospital calling a psychiatrist in on the mom]; her parental rights were eventually terminated, although on appeal that ruling was overturned, and there are now more trials. The baby is now 3 y/o and barely knows her mother. The foster family she's lived with since birth wants to adopt her, but can't because the mother may still get her back.

There's another case I know in which a baby was taken from her parents because they dared to have a breech home-birth. The baby is now about 3 months old and living with her grandparents, with the parents having 8 hours of visitation per day; trial set for January.

Friends of mine are foster parents, and got two brothers for nearly 3 years before the mother finally straightened out her life and got them back. The children called my friends "mom" and "dad," and didn't want to go back with their mother who had neglected them (left them alone at 5 & 3 y/o to go out and do drugs), but seem to be okay now. My friends were planning on adopting these boys as soon as possible, once the mother's parental rights were terminated. That never happened. In one way, I can be glad that the mother got clean and the family bonds were kept intact; although I think the boys would have done better with my friends.

A year or two ago, these same friends got another foster child -- a little girl that they had for only one weekend, before the hearing on Monday returned her to someone in her family. Two other sets of friends became foster parents as well, and have each had a newborn placed in their care for a short while. Both hoped to adopt the baby if that were possible, but neither has adopted them. [Both of these friends live far enough away that I don't know for sure why they haven't adopted the babies, and I assume it was because the babies were taken back by their mothers, although I suppose it possible that they are actually in the process of adoption, and I just haven't seen it on facebook.]

How many children are in foster care for only a short time? As you said, only 1/4 of the children in foster care in the UK are available for adoption, which means that 3/4 are very likely going to be returned to their parents. And there may be barriers to adoption that could be reduced or eliminated.

Lilliput said...

Kathy, while these examples of children being taken from parents due to bogus reasons are horrific (if in fact you heard the whole story), they are very rare compared to the number of children living through abuse and neglect who are not being taken into care. I think terminating a parent's rights over their children is such a minefield of either waiting too long and giving too many chances or terminating too soon.

Either way, if you have a parent with substance misuse, mental ill health, poverty, isolation, domestic violence and criminality as issues - the kids are going to suffer - and I know its harsh but I'd rather these kids weren't born then perpetuating the misery through generation after generation - many times caused by a series of foster placements.

There is only so much love and support that strangers can give to kids and moms - and even if its given in abundance - if the kids and moms are so damaged they can't receive it - then what to do?

As for the wealthy organic granola eaters - there are so few of them that its hardly worthwhile thinking about them in terms of abortion.

I would imagine that the majority of abortions are had by women with multiple living children who cannot emotionally physically or mentally cope with another child. They are prioritising their existing children. Second are the pregnant teens - and I also am not fond of chilldren having children and I'm sure there are loads of other catagories before the granola's.

Christina Dunigan said...

Lil, I've never understood how anybody could consider it "liberal" to judge other people's lives to be not worth living.

I know absolutely lovely people who were born into appalling circumstances. Did they not deserve a chance to rise above those circumstances, to be brave and resourceful and loving people?

Are only the privileged fit to draw breath?

Lilliput said...

Its precisely because I want everyone to have a life worth living that I care about the circumstances they are born into.

You see, I wonder what you think should happen to those whose damage is too great to "rise above those circumstances,to be brave and resourceful and loving people" then its ok to kill them when they kill others. Or its ok for them to suffer miserable mentally ill lives with multiple suicide attempts - where is your compassion?
You see maybe I'm just spending my time with the ones who didn't fly high enough. I think it would be interesting in seeing the statistics.

I just don't think you understand the concept of quality of life? Think of it in terms of a cancer patient who has to consider a further series of chemo. If these result in side effects that make the person feel so bad that they have no quality of life ie they will suffer too much - then the person ,dr or family members will say no to the chemo and care will become palliative as there is really no point in continuing the suffering.

That is what quality of life means- not that one persons life means more then another

Christina Dunigan said...

But who are YOU to judge somebody else's life to not be worth living?

And it's not like you're doing something to give them a BETTER life. You're saying, "Well, I wouldn't want your life, so I'll do you the favor of depriving you of it." How freaking judgmental can you get? To declare somebody else's entire life to be of absolutely ZERO value, because you yourself would not personally choose to live it.

And if you really believe that to suffer makes your life a burden, why aren't you calling for nuclear strikes on Darfur? They are FOR SURE suffering, right now. And you can end that suffering with a nuke or some Bunker Busters.

Lilliput said...

Christina, you're not getting it.

Can you get it in cats and dogs ie we don't let them breed because there aren't enough homes for them and they end up starving and rabid on the streets. Am I saying I don't value them - I value them so much that I think they deserve a certain standard of living and quality of life below which it is better never to have been.

As for your Darfur comment that comes up again and again - how else can we help them but to eradicate all the disturbed warlords, their soldiers and the child soldiers they have now damaged beyond repair. If that's what you mean by nuking - count me in.

You were quite happy to nuke afghanistan and Iraq - I don't know why you have such a problem with Darfur. Can we also nuke Mugabe and his cronies and soldiers while we're at it!

Christina Dunigan said...

Lil, it's nice to hear the admission that you think certain people are like stray animals who need to be spayed and neutered.

I think poor people might make perfectly capable parents, and rich people might make lousy parents, and that it's not anybody else's place to judge, sight unseen, that somebody else's life is pointless and should be taken away from them.