The following comes from a Sept. 5 posting on National Right to Life News.
I recently saw the movie The Giver (and loved it, just as I’ve loved the book since childhood). It’s still fairly fresh in my mind, so perhaps that’s why I kept hearing Jonas’ mother say “Precision of language, please!” while I read this New York Times article, “The Dawn of the Post-Clinic Abortion” by Emily Bazelon.
Aside from the article’s blasé and almost celebratory attitude toward illegal and unsafe abortion procedures (such as importing abortion-inducing pills from countries with no product testing or safety standards and handing them out like Halloween candy to anyone who wanted them, with no attempt to screen for people who were only posing as women in crisis pregnancies so they could slip them to girlfriends or abuse victims without their consent), what I found particularly disturbing was the author’s apparent inability to distinguish between elective abortion and miscarriage. For example, in the very first paragraph (all italics are mine):
In June 2001, under a cloud-streaked sky, Rebecca Gomperts set out from the Dutch port of Scheveningen in a rented 110-foot ship bound for Ireland. Lashed to the deck was a shipping container, freshly painted light blue and stocked with packets of mifepristone (which used to be called RU-486) and misoprostol. The pills are given to women in the first trimester to induce a miscarriage. Medical abortion, as this procedure is called, had recently become available in the Netherlands. But use of misoprostol and mifepristone to end a pregnancy was illegal in Ireland, where abortion by any means remains against the law, with few exceptions.
Right off the bat Bazelon conflates miscarriage with medical abortion, when the two are not the same. The National Center for Biotechnology Information states: “A miscarriage may also be called a ‘spontaneous abortion.’ This refers to naturally occurring events, not medical abortions or surgical abortions.”
One could perhaps give Bazelon (and the NYT editors) the benefit of the doubt—perhaps they didn’t catch the error because they were too entranced with the romantic image of sailing under a cloud-streaked sky off the misty coast of Ireland (albeit on a ship that should be called the Barge of the Dead)—but it doesn’t happen just once.
Later on in the article, she writes of how Gomperts encourages [women] to lie to medical professionals and claim they’re experiencing a miscarriage instead of a medical abortion, should they need to seek help for complications. “Gomperts says there is no medical reason for women to tell anyone that they’ve used pills. Treatment, if needed, is the same as it would be for a spontaneous miscarriage.”
[Lying to your care providers about the drugs you’ve ingested is always a good idea, right? No one need worry about allergic reactions or potentially dangerous drug interactions. Gomperts obviously has only the purest of motives. It couldn’t possibly be that she wants women to lie so that she doesn’t get arrested, charged, and convicted of drug dealing.]
Ahem. Back to the story.
Further on in the article, Bazelon describes her experience at a training session for “abortion doulas.” “The training included a session on the basics of how misoprostol and mifepristone are administered in clinics and how to help ease the discomfort of miscarriage,” she writes.
Bazelon tells of abortionist Amy Hagstrom Miller, whose Texas clinic is facing closure due to Miller’s refusal to comply with new Texas safety regulations for abortion facilities: “Amy Hagstrom Miller, the founder of a network of clinics called Whole Woman’s Health, told me she has been thinking about what might be possible. Facing the closure of her 11-year-old Austin clinic, she was considering whether she might open some sort of ‘miscarriage management’ facility in the Rio Grande Valley….”
Editor’s note. This first appeared at secular prolife and is reprinted with permission.
To read the entire story, click here.