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Reducing abortions in the U.S.


10/1/2006 - 8:00 AM PST

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By Matt Abbott
Op/Ed
Catholic Online

The following is the text of the eighth chapter of 'Lime 5,' a book written by pro-life activist Mark Crutcher. Crutcher is the founder and president of Life Dynamics Incorporated, www.lifedynamics.com. (Thanks to LDI for providing me with this material for my column.)

"A Contract with American Women"

As the rest of this book attests, abortions are often far more legal than they are safe. Of course, some of these problems occur as a result of the natural risks associated with any type of surgery. However, most are an indirect result of the political power of the pro-choice movement. For over 20 years, abortion proponents have been extremely effective in insulating abortionists from the usual checks and balances applied to other forms of medicine. Practices that are so far beneath the minimum standard of care that they would never be tolerated in any other health care environment are “business as usual” in abortion clinics.

Primarily, these are the issues which the nine initiatives in this chapter are intended to address. As long as abortion is legal, our nation has a moral obligation to see that women who have abortions are protected against the criminal acts, anti-social behavior, and inferior medical practices of abortion providers. Of course, the most radical advocates of unrestricted abortion will argue that these proposals are too harsh and go beyond what is required of other physicians. This is not true. But even if it were, a legitimate argument can be made that abortionists should be held to a higher standard of care than other physicians, not a lower one as is currently the case. After all, the overwhelming majority of their patients come to them young and in perfect health.

In fact, women are often healthiest when they are pregnant. It is indefensible that a physician who makes an honest mistake while performing a delicate, complicated procedure intended to save the life of an injured or desperately ill patient should be held more accountable than one who injures or kills a strong, young, and perfectly healthy woman while performing non-medically indicated surgery that the abortion industry claims is simple and virtually risk-free. This chapter contains Life Dynamics’ proposals for addressing that issue.

REVISE THE STANDARDS FOR INFORMED CONSENT

Any woman who seeks an abortion has a right to be completely and accurately informed about the risks she faces. If an abortion is likely to aggravate her physical, psychological, or social problems, the abortionist should either refuse to perform the procedure, or at least fully inform her of these risks. One widely-published abortionist has even concurred that an abortion should not be performed until the patient’s pre-existing medical or psychological conditions have been treated.

Unfortunately, that is not what is happening. Today, there are abortionists who openly admit—even flaunt—the fact that they provide no decision-based counseling whatsoever. Wisconsin abortionist Elizabeth Karlin recently confessed that, “I—we—are not doing pregnancy options counseling because people have made their choice when they come in ... women know exactly what they want.” In another example, New Jersey abortion clinic counselor Marilyn Bennett said, “If a woman comes in and clearly states that she wants to have this termination, I don’t ask her, as though I think she is a moron, ‘Have you thought about this?’” The result of such irresponsible behavior is that every year thousands of women suffer devastating emotional injury from abortions they wished they had never had. Without legislative intervention this situation will not improve. We should establish in law that it is the abortionist’s responsibility to screen women for emotional and psychological factors which might contra-indicate abortion.

Regarding physical injury, there must be new guidelines requiring that women be informed about all the risks relative to the actual circumstances under which their abortion will be performed. For example, studies show that abortion injuries are far more likely to occur when the procedure is performed by a resident rather than a practicing physician. If a woman is told that a particular injury only occurs once in every 100 abortions, but there is evidence that residents inflict this injury once in every 50 abortions, she has been lied to if the clinic is having a resident perform her abortion. (This problem is especially relevant today, since the abortion industry is working overtime to pass legislation which would allow non-physicians to do abortions.)

Often, the informed consent given to a woman does not match the circumstances of her abortion because counselors quote risk factors for all abortions, instead of for the abortion she is actually having. Since virtually every risk factor increases ...

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