Tag Archives: Reproductive Rights

So, I’m still here

Again I find myself apologizing for the blog silence. There are a few reasons I have been quiet.

First of all, my ex has been reading my posts and complaining to players in our divorce about what I write on here. So, I am not writing more about our divorce on here.

Secondly, I have been pretty busy. I have been doing the holiday thing with the kids, family and friends. I did get a few days off work. I am actually pretty happy to get back. I am enjoying pulmonology, and may look into doing a 4th year elective with the same attending physician. I am getting pretty good at ABGs.

I am not so good at EKGs. I did a module on EKGs using this ECG Wave-Maven, and I am really confused by a 5:4 AV Wenkebach. I could spot the MI’s, which is a relief, I guess.

So, there is more stuff I wish I had the energy to talk about. Mtv had an episode of “16 and Pregnant” called No Easy Decision in which one of the teen moms gets pregnant again, and decides to terminate the pregnancy. I have not seen it, but I think there are actually three young women who discuss choosing abortion. From what I have heard, it is a well put together show. Exhale has put together a site called 16 and loved that supports her coming forward with her story.

California Watch published a report entitled “As early elective births increase so do health risks for mother, child”. Thanks to Jill at The Unnecesarean for covering this.

CNN had an article on CNN.com called “Mom defies doctor, has baby her way” about a woman who had a home birth VBA3C (vaginal delivery after 3 cesareans). She was alternately painted as reckless and also as having no other option. How is a woman supposed to have a VBAC in a facility “with staff immediately available to provide emergency care” if practitioners who deliver in these facilities refuse to attend VBACs?

Anyway, I’m back, at least for the time being. I hope my son’s guardian doesn’t tell me he got an earful about my blog again. I am not airing all of our dirty laundry on here. Believe it or not, this is reticence.


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Excellent blog post on the BS that is abortion parental notification laws *link fixed*

I have always been against parental notification laws because it seems like the teenagers that would have the problems with notifying their parents probably have a good reason, and a good relationship with your parents cannot be mandated by some law. It seemed to be these kids who don’t have good parental support would be the least likely to be able to navigate the legal system, and probably have the least social and familial support necessary to be a successful parent, especially a teen parent.

Also, it seemed ironic that a minor is no longer considered a minor and can make medical decisions for herself once she becomes a parent, and supposedly can be trusted to make decisions for an entire new life – her baby, if she decides to continue the pregnancy and gives birth, but she can’t be trusted to make one single medical decision for herself to not continue the pregnancy. And finally, I was worried about abusive parents or parents that would throw a minor out of the house for becoming pregnant.

At a Medical Student for Choice conference, all of the abortion providers on a panel said it was much more common to see parents come in and try to coerce their minor daughters to terminate, and the daughters to be resistant, than the other way around. Of course, they refused to do terminations under those circumstances.

Well, Harriet at Fugitivus has an awesome post up about what the reality is like for teenagers trying to get judicial bypasses. She describes the many situations she sees, from a missing in action dad, to abusive parents, to dead parents, to illegal immigrant parents, to rape victims, etc. Here is an excerpt from the section on abuse victims:

She may know she’s from an abusive family. She may not. She may simply be used to not talking about it, because it’s so shameful. She may not know there’s anything to talk about, assumes that everybody lives this way.

She will not disclose to us, and she has not disclosed to the clinic, because we are complete strangers. The clinic doesn’t have access to her medical records, which could possibly help them discover the history of abuse. The clinic is not her usual doctor, or usual clinic. This girl does not disclose because abortions are performed as something separate and segregated from other routine medical care, and at a time during which this girl may have the guts to tell somebody what is happening to her, she is surrounded by complete strangers, and called a whore and a murderer whenever she tries to access those strangers.

Please read the entire post. It is wonderfully written, as all of her posts are, and it is chilling and moving. But, most of all, it is rooted in practicality and reality. I think a lot of social conservatives want to wag their fingers and think that is all it takes to make other people live the way they think they should ideally live, based on their own particular lofty standards, and then wash their hands of the consequences of what happens when real people don’t meet those standards. I prefer to live and reality, and would like to make reality work better for the most people. Parental notification laws are the opposite of that.


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Reply turned post, IUDs as EC style

Sungold has a great post up at Kittywampus about the little known use of the copper IUD as emergency contraception. I wrote a reply, and figured I would share it here:

No one seems familiar with this whenever I bring it up, and that includes ob/gyn clinicians. In the US, IUDs are supposed to be just as acceptable to insert in nulliparous (never had a baby) women as parous (has had a baby) women. As Sungold pointed out, that is not the reality for all women. I was actually told by my ob/gyn that I wasn’t a good candidate, even though I had already had a baby, because I was divorced. (!!)

According to a midwife who taught me about birth control, the reason why IUDs were not recommended for nulliarous women were because so many of them successfully sued over the Dalkon shield. The company had to pay a much higher settlement to women who never got to have children due to their injuries than they did to those who already had children. The indications for the newer IUDs, including the copper T, originally said the ideal candidates were parous women, but that is no longer the case. New recommendations say that pretty much any woman who does not have active pelvic inflammatory disease is a good candidate.

The Dalkon shield was a completely untested, unresearched, unregulated piece of scrap metal. The copper IUD is a much more carefully created and substantiated device. It has a higher rate of continuance of use than any other form of birth control. Not only do I have an IUD, but the IUD is an incredibly popular form of birth control among female ob/gyns I have very unscientifically surveyed.

The main issue I can see with using IUDs as emergency contraception is that the standard of care is to screen for and treat STDs, particularly gonorrhea and chlamydia, before insertion. With conventional screening, time for results, and then treatment if necessary, you are probably running over the 5 day window. So, even if USian practitioners were comfortable with using the IUD as emergency birth control theoretically, this protocol may be a barrier.


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And, partial birth abortion

I am feeling better enough to post a rant!

A friend posted a link on his Facebook page to this ridiculous distortion of an article on National Review Online, which accuses Supreme Court of the United States nominee Elena Kagan of distorting medical fact and the positions of ACOG regarding the so called “partial birth abortion” ban, when solicitor general for the Clinton administration.

He wrote “This is the woman who may have a lifetime seat on the most powerful Court in the United States” and linked to the article. Here is what I wrote in reply:

Thank goodness if she is appointed, which seems very likely.

She did not contradict the language in the ACOG draft at all. They said it was never the case that there was “no other option”. There are inferior procedures that are actually more dangerous to the mother, and more difficult for the practitioner. Yes, they were options, and are now the only option. She suggested language that said an intact D & X may still be the best option, which was obviously indicated by the rest of ACOG’s position. As a member of ACOG, I am completely comfortable with that.

I think it is disgusting that this rare and difficult procedure that was only used in the already most difficult of cases has been politicized like this. And, now is unavailable to doctors. Physcians can still perform later term abortions where (and when) it is legal and indicated; they just can’t use this safer procedure. This ban had nothing to do with gestational age, just technique.

In fact, a D & X is a procedure that is psychologically much kinder to the mother in this difficult circumstance, because she can hold the intact fetus, (or baby, if you use the vernacular), which was most likely incompatible with life on its own or with her ability to survive until it could be viable, and have a proper mourning period. Physicians are now forced to dismember the fetus in utero before removing it, making this impossible. I hope you realize this is the implications of the ban.

I am assuming, considering what I know of your other political leanings, you are not generally a fan of government telling physicians what procedures they should use, based on politics. ACOG clearly was opposed to the ban, and her language in NO WAY misrepresented their position at all.

This is completely ironic considering that science and medical opinion was completely usurped in many cases in the Bush administration. Look into the history of trying to get emergency contraception approved for over the counter use, for example. I hope you were as adamant about respecting ACOG’s positions then.

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Invasive abortion law is vetoed!

(Trigger warning, description of forced medical procedures)

Governor Charlie Crist of Florida vetoed Florida HB 1143, which would require transvaginal ultrasound (also known as the affectionately as the “dildocam”) for women seeking abortion in Florida, above and beyond what was medically necessary (which would be more likely a much less invasive transabdominal ultrasound if needed for dating purposes). In fact, many women consider being forced to have a vaginal procedure against their will as medical rape.

Gov. Crist said:

“This bill places an inappropriate burden on women seeking to terminate a pregnancy. Individuals hold strong personal views on the issue of life, as do I. However, personal views should not result in laws that unwisely expand the role of government and coerce people to obtain medical tests or procedures that are not medically necessary. In this case, such action would violate a woman’s right to privacy.”

I was one of the many Florida voters who emailed and called to urge for this bill to be vetoed.

Charlie Crist was elected to governor as a Republican. I have been a fan of his since his election. He has continuously been a moderate who is highly practical and responsive to the state’s will and needs. He is running for Senate now, but will be running as an Independent, due to a far right tea party challenger.

I hope this veto helps him with the moderate and liberal vote. I will be voting for him. Sorry, Kendrick Meek, but Crist continues to deliver.


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My first death threat!

I have gotten my share of hostile comments, but I think I have gotten my first death threat. I considered not letting it through the spam filter, but I decided to let it stand in all its hostile, angry glory.

Funny, I thought my first comment wishing death to me and my children would come from an anti-choice troll. Ironically, this seems to be from a childfree, also anti-choice but anti-choice in a different way, troll. I have always thought it was B.S. when people say being attacked from both sides means you must be doing something right. I am still not sure if it’s the case that I am doing something right, but at least I look better than these balls of hate.


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“Accepting responsibility”

When someone tries to defend being anti-choice because women need to “accept responsibility” for their actions (i.e. having sex), it always confuses me. I even heard a classmate use that as an excuse to be against birth control, also. I have always thought avoiding unwanted pregnancy, and not bringing unwanted children into the world was much more responsible than using babies as some sort of punishment for fertile women and girls.

Please read this article in the Nation about birth control sabotage as part of abuse.

Here is a chilling passage (emphasis mine):

In the largest study of this phenomenon to date, “Pregnancy Coercion, Intimate Partner Violence and Unintended Pregnancy,” published in the January issue of the journal Contraception, lead researcher Elizabeth Miller and others surveyed nearly 1,300 16- to 29-year-old women who’d sought a variety of services at five different Northern California reproductive health clinics. Among those who had experienced intercourse, i.e. who could be at risk of unintended pregnancy, not only did 53 percent of respondents say they’d experienced physical or sexual violence from a partner, but one in five said they had experienced pregnancy coercion; 15 percent said they experienced birth control sabotage, including hiding or flushing birth control pills down the toilet, intentional breaking of condoms and removing contraceptive rings or patches. These figures were consistent from clinic to clinic.

Who do we want taking responsibility for what actions? Who are we blaming for unplanned pregnancy? And, who will suffer if these reproductive clinics (like Planned Parenthood) have their funding stripped?

Sorry about the heavy. I will try to bring back some poop jokes.


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