My uterus, my right.

I really wasn’t going to go ‘there’. The abortion debate is everywhere and when reading blogs and message boards I’ve managed to stay out of it but GOOD LORD are people misinformed about this latest ruling by the Supreme Court regarding “Partial Birth” and “Late-Term Abortion”. It’s okay to HAVE an opinion. I have good friends that powerfully disagree with me on this topic but at least they KNOW and UNDERSTAND what they are talking about so I’m able to respect their opinions knowing they come from a full understanding of the facts.

So before I go further, I want to warn you that I’m going to explain different abortion techniques in detail below. I think that it’s important and you HAVE to understand the differences to understand the ruling that was made because the ruling was about abortion TYPE, not abortion in regards to DATE.

The form of abortion that was banned was Intact Dilation and Evacuation (or eXtraction so I’ll refer to as IDX from here) and accounts for .17% of abortions performed in the United States (source). In this procedure, the woman’s cervix is dilated and the fetus is extracted whole from the uterus. The fetus is pulled out feet first (breech position) up to the neck and there is a small incision made in the base of the skull and the brain matter is suctioned out of the head to make the head smaller and passage through the cervix easier.

This is a form of ‘Partial Birth Abortion’ which is defined by the federal government as any abortion in which the fetus is extracted “past the navel [of the fetus] . . . outside the body of the mother,” or “in the case of head-first presentation, the entire fetal head is outside the body of the mother,” before the fetus is terminated.

Late-term abortions (abortions at 21 weeks or later) account for 1.4% of all abortions in the USA. Of that 1.4% of late-term abortions IDX is used in 15%. So about 2,500 to 3000 of these abortions are performed annually by about 30 doctors… out of 1.3 MILLION abortions (according to the most recent Guttmacher Institute research) (source).

There are other forms of late-term abortion still legal. DE’s (Dilation and Evacuation) are one. The difference between IDX and DE is that in DE’s, the fetus is dismembered prior to being extracted a piece at a time rather than whole. This is more trying for the woman because 1) the cervix has to be farther expanded, and 2) It’s more time consuming. There are many doctors out there who say this is more dangerous especially in emergent situations, such as a woman suffering from an acute Placental Abruption where because IDX is faster it’s a better option if saving the woman’s life is the priority.

What the Supreme Court said in this decision is that there is NEVER a case when IDX is the beneficial procedure but after listening to many debates on the radio and doing QUITE a bit of reading, this is simply not true. A case in point would be Hydrocephalus, when the fetus has head growth to as much as over 200% the normal size. Now that IDX is illegal there are less options:

1) Deliver normally. Mother and fetus die.
2) DE. Fetus still dies.
3) C-Section with bigger than normal incision. Mother lives, baby dies shortly after childbirth.

A midwifery web site quotes Dr. William F. Harrison, a diplomate of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He wrote that “approximately 1 in 2000 fetuses develop hydrocephalus while in the womb.” About 5000 fetuses develop hydrocephalus each year in the U.S. This is not usually discovered until late in the second trimester. Some cases are not severe. After birth, shunts can be installed to relieve the excess fluid on the newborn’s brain. A pre-natal method of removing the excess fluid is being experimentally evaluated. However, some cases are much more serious. “It is not unusual for the fetal head to be as large as 50 centimeters (nearly 20 inches) in diameter and may contain…close to two gallons of cerebrospinal fluid.” In comparison, the average adult skull is about 7 to 8 inches in diameter. A fetus with severe hydrocephalus is alive, but as a newborn cannot live for long; it cannot achieve consciousness. The physician may elect to perform a D&X by draining off the fluid from the brain area, collapsing the fetal skull and withdrawing the dead fetus. Or, he might elect to perform a type of caesarian section. The former kills a fetus before birth; the latter allows the newborn to die after birth, on its own. A caesarian section is a major operation. It does expose the woman to a greatly increased chance of infection. It “poses its own dangers to a woman and any future pregnancies.” Allowing a woman to continue in labor with a severely hydrocephalic fetus is not an option; an attempted vaginal delivery would kill her and the fetus. source)

So it wasn’t “late-term abortion” that was outlawed. It wasn’t “partial-birth abortion” that was outlawed. It was VERY SPECIFICALLY Intact Dilation and Evacuation regardless of the woman’s health that was outlawed. “Regardless of the woman’s health” is the most important wording because this form of abortion had ALREADY been outlawed, EXCEPT in the case where a doctor found it medically necessary. Now, the doctor doesn’t have the option of choosing IDX as an option at all.

Now, the million dollar question, What do I think? I think that the ACT of an abortion is disgusting. Even typing out the procedures above made me a little queezy. I myself, knowing what I know now (being a mommy) would probably not opt for one. I say probably because there ARE situations out there when I’d never rule it out: Rape, major risk of my own life, severe birth defects, etc.

However, I firmly believe that each woman should be allowed the freedom to make that decision for herself. I find it pretty insulting that five MEN on the Supreme Court don’t seem to think that I’m capable of making that decision myself without a counselor stepping in to describe to me in detail what will happen. I also find it troubling that the government has the power to decide what medical procedure is better for me, overruling what my doctor might think. They don’t have the best track record after all. It was just under two years ago that Senator Frist had to unstick his foot from his mouth after swearing on the floor of the Senate that Terri Schiavo was “not somebody in persistent vegetative state”.

Women who believe they they should be in control of their medical future should be scared. Doctors who believe they should be an important factor in the treatment of patient’s life threatening conditions should be scared. I am scared.

7 thoughts on “My uterus, my right.

  1. Agreed. I’m happy to see other blogs out there really trying to get the truth out… people hear “partial birth abortion” and have a knee jerk reactions, they play into the propaganda, and just accept what they’re being fed without doing research. It is truly amazing the amount of misinformation being spread.

    Like I stated in my blog entry on the subject, the case laid out for SCOTUS was so skewed, it’s a wonder the ban was upheld at all. Absolutely disgusting.

  2. the whole thing just makes me ill to think of. I’m not going to tell someone else what they can do, because it’s just not my right. I’m also can’t hide the fact that I’m strongly against abortion and would probably even take the chance of death if faced with going on with a troubled pregnancy or aborting. Who knows though I’ve not been there so I can’t say. I do have another child to think of and would that be fair to her? But I applaud that you actually took the time to write down the procedures because you are right, everyone is shooting off at it.

  3. Wow, geting around to commenting to this late!

    So, I am VERY pro-choice. I believe that ultimately, a woman should have the freedom to make the final decision. BUT! I think that somebody who has three abortions in as many years as a form of birth control should think about investing in some PILLS. Or a PATCH. Or something that doesn’t involve general anesthesia and a sucking things out of her body.

    It’s hard for me to judge buecaue there’s no way I can know what a woman was thinking or what she’s been gone through, etc. But while I am very pro-choice, I am also very much pro-common sense.

  4. In this procedure(IDX), the woman’s cervix is dilated and the fetus is extracted whole from the uterus. The fetus is pulled out feet first (breech position) up to the neck and there is a small incision made in the base of the skull and the brain matter is suctioned out of the head to make the head smaller and passage through the cervix easier.

    I followed your link to your source and you conveniently left out one step that your source had listed– An incision is made at the base of the skull, scissors are inserted into the incision and opened to widen the opening

    Just like I said at Heather’s Blog. They jam scissors into the base of the skull.

    So the whole basis of your personal attack on me and my ridiculous claims was based on your own refusal to acknowledge an inconvenient truth that is found in your only source!! Just because you omit it in your own journal, still does not make it any less true.

  5. I find it funny that somebody would talk about people “less likely to go all postal when they can’t hide behind a computer and an assumed Identity” when that’s EXACTLY what you’ve done here. Unless you really DO live in Paragon City.

    But since you took the time to respond on Heather’s site (and no, I didn’t see it because I didn’t care to go back and look. SEE: I didn’t get all butthurt over what somebody on the INTERNET said), then here, then go off on some wild tangents on your own blog, it’s pretty clear you want the attention so…

    You point out my sources but I fail to see how you could say that your description of “jamming scissors into the skull” is any more credible or “right” than what I described.

    YOUR source:

    During the procedure, generally performed in the second trimester, a fetus is partially removed from the womb and its skull is punctured or crushed

    Tell me again where they talk about jamming scissors into the baby’s skull?

    YOUR source:

    Usually, doctors collapse the fetus’ skull, or drain its content, to permit its removal. This method is known as dilation and extraction, or D&X.

    Again, tell me where they talk about jamming scissors into the baby’s skull?

    You shouldn’t throw the “canned rhetoric” rock around when that is EXACTLY what you are doing.

    I used words like “incision” (which is a term used over and over and over again to describe this procedure and given your mad google skillz, I’m sure you know that). You used terms like “Scissors are then jammed in to the base of the skull” which, HELLO! Right wing rhetoric at it’s best! Or do you actually have a credible source that describes the procedure that way? Unless you do, save your breath and don’t bother responding.

    And congrats for completely tumbling all over your own argument! I’d suggest you not write politics not because you can’t stand people disagreeing with you, but because you suck at it.

  6. Don’t get me wrong it isn’t that I don’t care about this topic, but I found it strange that the response was that delayed. I do however, get these comments to my mailbox and I just wanted to say my new favorite saying is going to be “I Didn’t Get All Butt Hurt” when people are whining.

    Thank you, Anna.

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