Shorter Amanda Marcotte: You Don't Need to Be a Surgeon to Rip Apart a Baby with a Vacuum

August 29th, 2013 5:02 PM

"Things are looking pretty bleak in the world of abortion care" with "[a] wave of states" having been "disturbingly successful at shutting down abortion providers by passing medically unnecessary restrictions on clinics," abortion rights absolutist and Daily Beast contributor Amanda Marcotte lamented at the open of her August 29 Women in the World blog post.

But alas, there's a bright ray of hope in the womb-like darkness, Marcotte found in her post tagged as a "call to arms" piece (see screen capture below page break; WARNING disturbing image attached at bottom of the post): deep blue states like California working to liberalize abortion laws:

The state of California, bucking the anti-choice trend in most legislatures at the moment, is about to pass a new law that would increase the number of people who can perform a legal abortion in the state. Recognizing that one doesn’t need high-level surgical skills to administer a pill or perform a one-minute vacuum-aspiration abortion, lawmakers in the state have passed a bill, which Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to sign, that would allow midwives, nurse practitioners, or physician assistants to perform first-trimester abortions after taking a training course in how to do them.

A move like this could not only increase the number of abortion providers available to women in California—and to women from neighboring states like Arizona, where clinics are rapidly being closed—but it opens up the possibility of integrating abortion into everyday health care, making it both more normalized and harder to attack with predatory regulations. While the abortion-clinic model of care initially arose to make women’s lives easier as a one-stop shop for a rare procedure, the existence of stand-alone clinics has made them sitting-duck targets for restrictive laws. Part of what “sells” the claim that abortion clinics need to meet ambulatory-surgical-center standards and have hospital-admitting privileges—two regulations that are being used to shut down clinics—is this widespread but utterly false belief that abortion is an intense and dangerous surgery. Allowing a nurse practitioner or a midwife to offer abortion services would drive home the reality that first-trimester abortion really is a relatively minor medical procedure that hardly merits the term “surgery,” especially in cases where it’s just a matter of taking a pill. This move could also help lower the price of an abortion, much in the same way these types of providers offer a bevy of more affordable care.

Surgical abortion is no big deal? Do procedures that "hardly merit" the term "surgery" result occasionally in some cases in "heavy blood loss, infection, and moderate to severe pain"?

What's more, according the the National Abortion Federation, women seeking an abortion can expect the following at a clinical visit prior to the operation (emphasis mine):

Once you are inside the clinic, the clinic staff will need certain information about you so they can tailor the experience to your physical and emotional needs. This usually requires the following:

A complete health history, including information about previous pregnancies and any medications you may be taking.

Exams and lab work, including:

A blood test to establish whether you are anemic and whether your blood is Rh positive.

A pelvic exam and/or sonogram to establish that you are pregnant and exactly how far along you are.

A counseling session to explain the procedure, discuss your options and to be sure you understand and are comfortable with your decision.

Additionally, NAF stresses that after an abortion, women need to be alert to the following symptoms:

  • Severe cramps
  • Chills, or fever of 100.4 degrees or more
  • Bleeding that is heavier than the heaviest day of your normal menstrual period, or that soaks through more than two maxi-pads an hour for more than two hours
  • Bad-smelling discharge from your vagina
  • Continuing symptoms of pregnancy

NAF also stresses that women who have had a surgical abortion should go to "a follow-up visit within 2 to 4 weeks... to confirm that you have not developed any complications."

Again, that doesn't sound like something you do for a procedure that Marcotte insists rather cavalierly to not "merit" being called surgery.

In Ms. Marcotte's dream world, there would be no restriction on abortion whatsoever anywhere in the United States. Until then, however, she seems to have become a fan of federalism, if only because it means some states can be more fatal for the unborn baby than others:

The best solution for women, of course, would be for the needless restrictions on abortion to end and the current ones to be lifted, ensuring equal treatment for all women regardless of what state they live in. However, that day is a long way off; in the meantime, women will continue to need abortions and will often get desperate trying to find ways to get them. Having more liberal parts of the country step up and find new ways to expand abortion access can relieve part of the burden, and hopefully help redefine abortion care in ways that will secure a more pro-choice future for all.

By the way, below is an image of a dismembered unborn child killed via a vacuum aspiration abortion (via the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, a British pro-life group):