06 Nov Keeping Abortion Viable by Keeping Women in the Dark
By Rebekah Applegate
Are doctors required to give information to patients with which they disagree? I have a metabolic disorder called Phenylketonuria (PKU), which limits my protein intake. Recently I attended a conference to roll out a new drug that revolutionizes the lives of everyone with PKU. However, the pharmaceutical company described one terrifying statistic: a 30% chance of anaphylaxis when taking the drug. The presentation downplayed that danger, of course, because the results of this latest wonder drug more than outweigh such a high risk. Plus, there have been no reported fatalities so far. My doctors do not like dwelling on this information. As a patient, I get the standard response explaining that I will have an Epipen with me and nobody has died yet. My doctors are required to give accurate information regarding the negative side effects of this new drug, but it is clear they don’t give those side effects the same consideration I, or other sufferers, might.
Withholding vital information
Doctors at abortion clinics also find themselves in a similar situation. They often are required to give certain information, even when they don’t like it. Especially when that information may influence the number of women getting abortions. Such is the case with drug-induced abortions. Scientists have discovered that drug-induced abortion is reversible in some cases. Women get two pills for this type of abortion. The first thins the lining of the uterus and loosens the connection with the placenta. The second starts labor. If a woman wants to reverse this procedure, it is possible after taking the first pill. In response to this new possibility, some states have made laws requiring doctors to inform their patients of the chance of reversal, and Tennessee is one of those states. Clinics do not want women to know about this option. A clinic’s economic survival depends on keeping their clientele ignorant of this alternative.
Abortion clinics appeal to clients by highlighting feelings of isolation and vulnerability and telling women they really have no alternatives. Pregnancy is a vulnerable time, and abortion clinics establish themselves as a primary authority on the health of women with inconvenient pregnancies. However, like my doctor that downplayed the risk of anaphylaxis, abortionists downplay the risks of medical and surgical abortion.
Legal abortion is not, as many believe, perfectly “safe.” In fact, legal abortion can be fatal for women. In many cases, abortion is also associated with serious complications such as infertility, infection, blood clots, heavy bleeding, torn cervix, tears on the wall of the uterus, anesthesia complications, and even scar tissue on the uterine wall. Women often have negative emotional side effects too, such as PTSD, depression, and crippling regret.
Shining a light on the abortion industry
Abby Johnson is a former Planned Parenthood director who has gone public with the grim reality of the abortion process. In September, Johnson spoke graphically about abortion at the Republican National Convention, “For most people who consider themselves pro-life, abortion is abstract…They can’t even conceive of the barbarity.” She detailed an ultrasound-guided abortion. “Nothing prepared me for what I saw on the screen- an unborn baby fighting back, desperate to move away from the suction.” The horrors she described echoed in her words, “See, for me, abortion is real. I know what it sounds like; I know what abortion smells like. Did you know abortion even had a smell?” As a result, Planned Parenthood is discrediting and maligning her. Planned Parenthood claims they do not have processes like those she described. It claims she has made up lies to discredit their company and paint her as a crazy person. Planned Parenthood will do anything to hide what happens behind its doors.
While Planned Parenthood isolates vulnerable women and demeans women who expose their tactics, unplanned pregnancy clinics do the opposite. They assist women in difficult circumstances and offer real help, understanding, and hope. These clinics work to support the whole woman, not give a one time, on-the-spot “solution” to their problem.
One of these clinics, Living Alternatives, has expanded to a maternity home and Pregnancy Resource Center. Its mission is to help women understand that there are alternatives to abortion. They also provide necessary resources to pregnant women. The new director has added to their mission a plan, inviting young men to get involved in their partner’s lives and guide them towards fatherhood.
Giving women the information they deserve
I have a condition that is challenging to live with, to say the least. A new drug has improved my ability to live with that condition, but it comes with serious potential side effects. Laws and ethics require doctors and pharmaceutical companies to inform me of those negative side effects and the means to act against them. Women grappling with a pregnancy under less than ideal circumstances deserve the same consideration. Abortion thrives because of misinformation and isolation that pushes women towards actions they often do not want and frequently regret. We need more states like Tennessee that acknowledge the horror of abortion, the lifelong, negative impact it has on women, and the courage to provide those women with the information they deserve before making a choice that will change their lives forever.