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Physian refuses to save a woman's life...

kama_s

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...by performing an abortion. Why? Because he never performs abortions. Ever. Even if the fetus is dying anyway. Even if it means a woman will die otherwise.

What kind of bullshit is this?????

Link: http://www.salon.com/life/feature/2011/05/26/abortion_saved_my_life/index.html

--------

Abortion saved my life

I almost died in an emergency room because the doctor on call refused to perform a necessary procedure
By Mikki Kendall

There's this lawmaker out of Kansas, Rep. Peter DeGraaf, who has a lot to say about abortion. He's currently best known for saying that women should plan ahead in case of rape and not expect their regular insurance to cover an abortion after an assault. And I could spend a lot of time discussing the flaws in his logic, or even hashing out when life begins, but what I'm really concerned about is the idea that anyone besides a pregnant woman should have a say in what she does with her body after finding out she's pregnant.

I'm a mom, and I love my sons more than anything. And it is because I love them that I had an abortion at 20 weeks. It was my fifth pregnancy (I'd had two earlier miscarriages), and, as it turned out, my last. There was trouble from the beginning; I didn't experience any of the normal indicators of pregnancy, so I was already ten weeks along when I found out. I hadn't so much as missed a period; in fact, I was seeing an OB/GYN because of the increased heaviness in my cycle. When we found out, I talked it over with my husband and we debated an abortion before deciding we'd try to make it work. My doctor told me that my pregnancy was very high risk and that she wasn't sure of a good outcome. Per her instructions, I took it very easy because I wanted to give the baby the best possible chance. But I kept having intermittent bleeding and I knew there was a good chance I wouldn't be able to carry to term.

I was taking an afternoon nap when the hemorrhaging started while my toddler napped in his room when I woke up to find blood gushing upward from my body. Though I didn't know it at the time, I was experiencing a placental abruption, a complication my doctor had told me was a possibility. My husband was at work, so I had to do my best to take care of me and my toddler on my own. I managed to get to the phone and make arrangements for both of my children before going to a Chicago hospital.

Everyone knew the pregnancy wasn't viable, that it couldn't be viable given the amount of blood I was losing, but it still took hours for anyone at the hospital to do anything. The doctor on call didn't do abortions. At all. Ever. In fact, no one on call that night did. Meanwhile, an ignorant batch of medical students had gathered to study me -- one actually showed me the ultrasound of our dying child while asking me if it was a planned pregnancy. Several wanted to examine me while I lay there bleeding and in pain. No one gave me anything for the pain or even respected my request to close the door even though I was on the labor and delivery floor listening to other women have healthy babies as the baby I had been trying to save died in my womb.

A very kind nurse risked her job to call a doctor from the Reproductive Health Clinic who was not on call, and asked her to come in to save my life. Fortunately she was home, and got there relatively quickly. By the time she arrived, I was in bad shape. The blood loss had rendered me nearly incoherent, but she still moved me to a different wing and got me the painkillers no one else had during the screaming hours I'd spent in the hospital. After she checked my lab tests, she told us I would need two bags of blood before she could perform the procedure. Her team (a cadre of wonderful students who should all go on to run their own clinics) took turns checking on me and my husband. They all kept assuring me that soon it would be over, and I would feel much better. My husband had to sign the consent for surgery (I was clearly not competent enough to make decisions), and they took me away along with a third bag of blood to be administered during the procedure.

Later I found out that the doctor had taken my husband aside as they brought me into surgery. She promised him she would do her best to save me, but she warned him there was a distinct possibility that she would fail. The doctor who didn't do abortions was supposed to have contacted her (or someone else who would perform the procedure) immediately. He didn't. Neither did his students. Supposedly there was a communication breakdown and they thought she had been notified, but I doubt it. I don't know if his objections were religious or not; all I know is that when a bleeding woman was brought to him for treatment he refused to do the only thing that could stop the bleeding. Because he didn't do abortions. Ever.

My two kids at home almost lost their mother because someone decided that my life was worth less than that of a fetus that was going to die anyway. My husband had told them exactly what my regular doctor said, and the ER doctor had already warned us what would have to happen. Yet none of this mattered when confronted by the idea that no one needs an abortion. You shouldn't need to know the details of why a woman aborts to trust her to make the best decision for herself. I don't regret my abortion, but I would also never use my situation to suggest that the only time another woman should have the procedure is when her life is at stake. After my family found out I'd had an abortion, I got a phone call from a cousin who felt the need to tell me I was wrong to have interfered with God's plan. And in that moment I understood exactly what kind of people judge a woman's reproductive choices.
 

Circe

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Which part of "First, do no harm" was it that he didn't understand?

This nauseates me. I lost a pregnancy at 19 weeks: the heartbeat stopped, and I had to be induced, to avoid infection and then given a D&C when the induction went wrong (and, given my state of mind, to preserve my sanity - if I'd had to carry my dead baby indefinitely, I genuinely think I might have gone mad). Without my compassionate doctor, and my liberal state statutes, I cannot even imagine how much worse my situation would have been.

I feel terrible for this woman, and what she went through: I shudder to think of the possibility that he family would have had to go on without her; I hope that that doctor who ignored her plight has his license yanked, and that each and every politician who has made it possible for him and those of his ilk to continue working is disbarred and/or drummed out of office.

But, hell. It only affects women, so who gives a damn? Ugh.
 

jstarfireb

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I'm very pro-choice and was shaking my head with disgust after reading about how this woman was treated.

BUT...I'm not sure if the doctor on call should have performed the procedure. I say procedure because I'm not sure what it was - maybe a hysterectomy given that she had a placental abruption, rather than a D&C or D&E, which are the procedures people normally think of as abortions.

Now, if it were a hysterectomy, he had no excuse. That's part of any OB/Gyn's training, because it's not unheard of for a full-term pregnant woman to come in hemorrhaging, have the baby delivered by C-section and worked on by the pediatricians, and follow immediately with a hysterectomy to control the bleeding. In that case, despite the pregnancy not being full-term, this doctor should have known what to do and how to do it, and there should have been no hesitation, despite her not being full-term.

However, if she needed a D&E instead, I don't think this doctor should have done it, but instead they should have involved the other doctor MUCH earlier. Because if he doesn't do these types of procedures on a regular basis, then he wouldn't have the necessary skills to do them in an emergency situation on a woman who was nearly bleeding to death.

Bottom line: Politics shouldn't get in the way of saving lives, but doctors also shouldn't perform procedures they're not trained to do.
 

HollyS

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I'm not sure, but I don't believe he has a legal right to not take all measures necessary to save a patient's life, unless directed to not intervene by the patient or their legal guardian . . . and even then, it would be a matter of not taking extraordinary measures to stop what would be a normal progression to death. To refuse to give life saving treatment should cost this doctor his license.

If I were on his hospital board, he would be fired, and the licensing board notified of his 'malpractice'.

If I was the next of kin of a woman he allowed to die, I would sue.
 

heb1976

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:rolleyes: I call BS on this article. The article begins by complaining about a pro-life lawmaker and then descends into a pro-choice diatribe without any facts or names to backup the claims (i.e. what type of "procedure" she had). The treatment for severe placental abruption with hemorrhaging is NOT an abortion but immediate Caesarian delivery and then a hysterectomy.
 

jstarfireb

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Actually that's kind of what I was alluding to...I'm not an OB/Gyn, but I believe hysterectomy rather than D&E is the procedure that would have been done in this case. The author describes it as "abortion" because it did end the pregnancy, but she also talks about not being able to have any more children.

As I mentioned, all OB/Gyns should be able to perform an emergency hysterectomy, so if this were the case, the doc on call should have done it.
 

FrekeChild

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Ugh.
 

icekid

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jstarfireb|1306617671|2932658 said:
Actually that's kind of what I was alluding to...I'm not an OB/Gyn, but I believe hysterectomy rather than D&E is the procedure that would have been done in this case. The author describes it as "abortion" because it did end the pregnancy, but she also talks about not being able to have any more children.

As I mentioned, all OB/Gyns should be able to perform an emergency hysterectomy, so if this were the case, the doc on call should have done it.
This does not make sense to me either, jstar. This preterm fetus would die anyway, given the hemorrhaging abruption so this does not exactly sound like an "abortion." I know docs who are pro-life and will not participate in an elective abortion, but this case was clearly not elective.
 

movie zombie

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additionally, some are not being trained in the procedure. also, even when the fetus is dead a physician has refused to perform the abortion. the risk of infection and the woman's possible death meant nothing to him. and infection can mean infertility. didn't matter a whit to him. sorry can't find the link to the article.

MoZo

ps

common sense from a congresswoman
http://www.care2.com/causes/politics/blog/congresswoman-tells-of-her-own-abortion-during-title-x-debate/

legislation to stop teaching abortion
http://www.care2.com/causes/womens-rights/blog/war-on-women-lets-refuse-to-teach-doctors-life-saving-procedures/
 

kenny

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chemgirl

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kenny|1306630145|2932771 said:
Some people are just against abortion even if the pregnancy continuing threatens the mother's life..

Uhm, if the mom dies the fetus dies too so, you don't even have to consider the thorny question of when life begins or [if it begins at conception] which life is more valuable, why not save one life instead of letting them both end?

Did you see this story?
http://abcnews.go.com/WN/Media/church-excommunicates-nun-authorized-emergency-abortion-save-mothers/story?id=10799745
I went to a religious highschool and we had "hot topic" debates. They were canceled after the majority of the student body brought this point up during the abortion debate. The administration didn't really have a response.
 

AGBF

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kama_s|1306611488|2932612 said:
My two kids at home almost lost their mother because someone decided that my life was worth less than that of a fetus that was going to die anyway.
That's why I am glad I live in the United States and not in Afghanistan. We cannot let the Taliban continue to make health care decisions for women.

Deb/AGBF
:read:
 

Circe

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AGBF|1306631700|2932778 said:
kama_s|1306611488|2932612 said:
My two kids at home almost lost their mother because someone decided that my life was worth less than that of a fetus that was going to die anyway.
That's why I am glad I live in the United States and not in Afghanistan. We cannot let the Taliban continue to make health care decisions for women.

Deb/AGBF
:read:
The religious right of any denomination, frankly. In fact, insofar as I'm aware, Islam is somewhat more lenient than Christianity, when it comes to abortion and the lives of women: it's understood before 4 months, and always preferable to the death of the mother. Sorry to be pedantic ... I had a distant niggling of memory, and this actually inspired me to look it up.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_and_abortion
 

charbie

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I'm pro-choice, but I do feel like this is filled with propaganda. While I understand the reasoning, I feel like the author has some motives and continuing to use the word "abortion" sort of irks me. There are other terms to use when it is not an elective abortion, and I feel like she is using the term to stir emotions. And I get this is an emotional issue, and she has every right to be upset, I just feel like this could have been written and better received without the skew.
 

Circe

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charbie|1306634018|2932797 said:
I'm pro-choice, but I do feel like this is filled with propaganda. While I understand the reasoning, I feel like the author has some motives and continuing to use the word "abortion" sort of irks me. There are other terms to use when it is not an elective abortion, and I feel like she is using the term to stir emotions. And I get this is an emotional issue, and she has every right to be upset, I just feel like this could have been written and better received without the skew.
If she was denied care because the doctor on-call considered the procedure she needed "abortion," doesn't it sort of become the issue at hand?
 

charbie

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Circe|1306634791|2932801 said:
charbie|1306634018|2932797 said:
I'm pro-choice, but I do feel like this is filled with propaganda. While I understand the reasoning, I feel like the author has some motives and continuing to use the word "abortion" sort of irks me. There are other terms to use when it is not an elective abortion, and I feel like she is using the term to stir emotions. And I get this is an emotional issue, and she has every right to be upset, I just feel like this could have been written and better received without the skew.
If she was denied care because the doctor on-call considered the procedure she needed "abortion," doesn't it sort of become the issue at hand?
Im not denying that what happened was wrong. If the point of the article is for her to prove that what happened was not in fact an abortion, but a medically necessary procedure, why say, "I had an abortion."? Is it bc that's what the doctor labeled it as, so therefor to prove her point she is using the same terminology? If so, ok, that's fine, but to me it just means that this is a bit more skewed.

I had a miscarriage requiring medical intervention. When looking up information requiring the meds I had to take to prepare my body for the d&c, I was pissed that the pill I was to take was labeled 'the abortion pill'. I would never refer to what was happening as an abortion, although I guess maybe now I can see others would. Even if my doctor refused to do a d&c, citing it as medical intervention to end the pregnancy, I myself would not label it an abortion.
 

jewelerman

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I understand that this topic is an emotional one, but I would ask that the language used in the posts be respectful of all Price scope readers and the use of words like bullsh** not be used.
 

jstarfireb

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CherryBlossom|1306625791|2932741 said:
Such BS. These types of doctors and the pharmacist who refuse to administer Plan B always rub me the wrong way.

Also, not to generalize too much, but why is that most of the people who I see at the forefront of the pro-life movement - either as an organization or in the political sphere - always a bunch of white men? I don't get it. I know there are many women who are pro-life, but why is that the "leaders" of this movement usually end up having a penis and take it upon themselves to talk about issues concerning a woman's health.
Agreed...and it's because it's not really about health. It's always been about controlling women's sexuality. Otherwise, the anti-choice crew would be fierce advocates for birth control, because birth control is hands-down the best way to decrease the number of abortions. But those who are against abortion are often against birth control too. Also, when I say "anti-choice" as opposed to "pro-life," I'm not talking about the women who say "I would never get an abortion" - I'm talking about the people who want to restrict others' rights to choose it. I think this is a minority of people who happen to have a really big legislative voice. I do think that most pro-life women aren't out there to restrict others' choices, but just wouldn't choose abortion for themselves.

I could go on and on about this (it's a huge soapbox issue for me), but we're not supposed to talk politics here, so I'll stop!
 

AGBF

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jstarfireb|1306643115|2932932 said:
I could go on and on about this (it's a huge soapbox issue for me), but we're not supposed to talk politics here, so I'll stop!
I don't see this as a political issue. I see this as a medical malpractice issue. If the government allows medical practitioners to deny healthcare to women a la the Taliban (and Circe, the Taliban does do that regardless of Muslim law as written in and practiced in other, more progressive, Muslim places) then it becomes an issue that I hope all Americans will rally round as they did the idea of rousting the Taliban in order to protect women's rights.

Deb/AGBF
:read:
 

jstarfireb

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AGBF|1306645931|2932958 said:
jstarfireb|1306643115|2932932 said:
I could go on and on about this (it's a huge soapbox issue for me), but we're not supposed to talk politics here, so I'll stop!
I don't see this as a political issue. I see this as a medical malpractice issue. If the government allows medical practitioners to deny healthcare to women a la the Taliban (and Circe, the Taliban does do that regardless of Muslim law as written in and practiced in other, more progressive, Muslim places) then it becomes an issue that I hope all Americans will rally round as they did the idea of rousting the Taliban in order to protect women's rights.

Deb/AGBF
:read:
Deb, I agree that the main topic of the thread isn't a political issue, but I think my tangent on pro-choice/pro-life/anti-choice ideology, abortion, and birth control was getting quite political!

At any rate, I believe medical practice and procedures should not be legislated for any reason. Medical practice is not the government's business...it's between patients and their doctors.
 

Pandora II

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heb|1306615758|2932644 said:
:rolleyes: I call BS on this article. The article begins by complaining about a pro-life lawmaker and then descends into a pro-choice diatribe without any facts or names to backup the claims (i.e. what type of "procedure" she had). The treatment for severe placental abruption with hemorrhaging is NOT an abortion but immediate Caesarian delivery and then a hysterectomy.
A woman on PS had a placental abruption and haemorrhage - her daughter was born premature but is doing fine and she didn't have a hysterectomy.

I do find the use of the word 'abortion' wrong here. There is 'spontaneous abortion' - miscarriage and 'medical abortion' - termination of pregnancy, but I believe that after 18 weeks an unprovoked pregnancy loss is no longer termed a miscarriage but a foetal death and depending on the country may after 20 weeks be termed a still-birth.

Whatever the ins and outs, the doctor was negligent and should be struck off.
 

jstarfireb

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Well, there are degrees of severity of placental abruption, and sometimes the bleeding can be controlled without hysterectomy, but sometimes it's required. I do think the use of the term "abortion" in this case is misleading, even though that the pregnancy had to end before the fetus would be potentially viable in order to save the mother's life. It's different from an elective abortion, which is why the doctor on call should have been able to perform it (save for the caveat I mentioned earlier in case it wasn't a procedure he was trained to do).

By the way, we're routinely taught in medical training to consider the life of the mother above that of the fetus, even in a full-term pregnant woman. That is, if you can't save both and have to make a choice, the ethically correct choice is to save the mother.
 

Ella

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Please keep all discussion of religion and politics out of this conversation. They are not necessary to discuss a medical issue and are making many feel uncomfortable.
 

beesha77

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heb|1306615758|2932644 said:
:rolleyes: I call BS on this article. The article begins by complaining about a pro-life lawmaker and then descends into a pro-choice diatribe without any facts or names to backup the claims (i.e. what type of "procedure" she had). The treatment for severe placental abruption with hemorrhaging is NOT an abortion but immediate Caesarian delivery and then a hysterectomy.
Exactly this. It's not an abortion, the baby would be delivered and would not survive. The doctor was either a wackjob and completely incompetent or this is BS.
 

DivaDiamond007

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Pandora|1306716729|2933386 said:
heb|1306615758|2932644 said:
:rolleyes: I call BS on this article. The article begins by complaining about a pro-life lawmaker and then descends into a pro-choice diatribe without any facts or names to backup the claims (i.e. what type of "procedure" she had). The treatment for severe placental abruption with hemorrhaging is NOT an abortion but immediate Caesarian delivery and then a hysterectomy.
A woman on PS had a placental abruption and haemorrhage - her daughter was born premature but is doing fine and she didn't have a hysterectomy.

I do find the use of the word 'abortion' wrong here. There is 'spontaneous abortion' - miscarriage and 'medical abortion' - termination of pregnancy, but I believe that after 18 weeks an unprovoked pregnancy loss is no longer termed a miscarriage but a foetal death and depending on the country may after 20 weeks be termed a still-birth.

Whatever the ins and outs, the doctor was negligent and should be struck off.


Pandora is referring to me in her comment and she's right. I had a severe placental abruption at 35 weeks gestation and my daughter was delivered in an emergency c-section. I nearly bled to death in my home before making it to the hospital. It is true that sometimes the uterus is so damaged from the abruption that a hysterectomy would be necessary, but that was not the case for me. My daughter, Grace, spent 16 days in the NICU, 6 weeks at home on an apnea/bradycardia monitor and is now perfectly healthy. Other than being very small you'd never know there was ever anything wrong with her. She's truly a blessing!

I feel horribly for the woman in the article, because having been in her shoes I know how horrifying it is to be gushing blood while pregnant. The doctor that refused to treat her should be struck off (to use Pandora's terms) and the hospital should be penalized. When I abrupted I was lucky that I was able to get proper treatment as quickly as I did and I am forever grateful for that.

The hospital that delivered both of my children considers an unprovoked pregnancy loss of 20 weeks and beyond to be a still birth and will issue a certificate stating such information to be filed with the State department of health.
 

Circe

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I don't want to beat a dead horse, but ....

It sort of doesn't matter if this was technically an abortion as we use the word in contemporary mainstream Western society. Neither is RU-486. Neither is Plan B. Neither is the prescription of misoprostol, a drug that is frequently used off-label to end ectopic pregnancy, which is also sometimes a life-saving necessity for the woman, and a non-viable pregnancy.

What matters is that a certain segment of the American medical establishment is using their misinterpretation of all of the above and more as "abortion" as a justification for letting women suffer and, on occasion, die.

I'm generally the first person to scream about the misuse of language, but the problem here does not lie with Mikki Kendall and the piece she published in Salon. It lies with the extreme right, their misappropriation of the term, and the ways in which they're manipulating and abusing the system of care to promote their "morality" at the expense of womens health.

I continue to be, frankly, horrified at the notion that a doctor or pharmacist's religious preferences are allowed to trump their obligation to provide medical service.
 

iLander

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+1 on what Circe said.

Now I'm getting out of this thread while the getting is good . . .
 

diamondseeker2006

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It would be interesting to hear the other side of this story. If the doctor did simply refuse to try to save the life of this woman, then he certainly doesn't need to be working in the ER. I beg to differ with Circe that this does matter to some of us whether this was a medically necessary delivery of a pre-term baby or an abortion. I totally understand the need to deliver this baby early if it was the only option to save the mother's life and do not in any way consider it an abortion. Just because abortion is legal does not make it morally right, and truthfully, there are rare circumstances where it is medically necessary. Again, if this doctor was not doing all in his power to save the woman's life, including the emergency c-section of the baby, he was absolutely wrong. But I do absolutely respect the right of any physician to refuse to do a non-medically necessary abortion.
 

Circe

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diamondseeker2006|1306802839|2934105 said:
It would be interesting to hear the other side of this story. If the doctor did simply refuse to try to save the life of this woman, then he certainly doesn't need to be working in the ER. I beg to differ with Circe that this does matter to some of us whether this was a medically necessary delivery of a pre-term baby or an abortion. I totally understand the need to deliver this baby early if it was the only option to save the mother's life and do not in any way consider it an abortion. Just because abortion is legal does not make it morally right, and truthfully, there are rare circumstances where it is medically necessary. Again, if this doctor was not doing all in his power to save the woman's life, including the emergency c-section of the baby, he was absolutely wrong. But I do absolutely respect the right of any physician to refuse to do a non-medically necessary abortion.
Argh. Diamondseeker, I have no interest in debating the "morality" of abortion: I'm pointing out that the care that she needed does not qualify as an abortion in the eyes of the law, the sane, or, for that matter, this thread. The fact that the doc in question apparently put his status as "never performing abortions" (by his own definition) ahead of the fact that her baby was already dead and she'd soon be following it without proper care is the part that's problematic, the part that makes him unprofessional, and the part that illustrates how wonky our health-care system is.

For starters, there's no way it could be considered "medically necessary delivery of a pre-term baby" - at 20 weeks, the baby would not have been viable, and as she observes in the article, given the degree of hemorrhaging "everyone [at the hospital] knew the pregnancy wasn't viable, that it couldn't be viable given the amount of blood I was losing."

You won't catch me arguing that a doctor has to provide elective surgery, of any sort, not abortion, not a face-lift, not the surgical implantation of a pair of horns. But for an ER doc to pick and choose his procedures? Not okay.

Pharmacists, for me, fall into a different category: if they don't want to prescribe legal drugs, they should find a different line of work. Street preaching might be up their alley.
 

diamondseeker2006

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Circe, I think we technically agree that he had an obligation to treat this woman aggressively to save her life. But we've had doctors on here who said the proper procedure would have been to deliver the baby by c-section. I am agreeing with you that he was wrong in his refusal to treat her on grounds that he does not perform abortions. But the article doesn't completely make any sense because this wasn't really an abortion scenario. Pro-life doctors certainly are pro-life for the mother! (or normally are!)
 
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