Healthy discussion going on over in the comments of my last post (person with fake emails and all caps not withstanding). But the core of the issue is the line between life and health and who gets to choose.
First off, let’s talk about some different terms.
Technically, the term "Partial Birth Abortion" does not apply to any currently known and used medical procedure, as Maura stated in her comments. However, it is "assumed" that they are usually referring to the procedure known as a D&X.
D&X refers to a procedure called an Intact Dilation and Extraction. The benefits on this procedure are many, including the fact that having an intact fetus allows the family to view the remains if they choose. Remember, also, that this method is used often when a baby has already died. And, as Aurelia pointed out, "is quite often needed for babies with hydrocephalus or severe
cranio-facial disabilities who cannot be delivered vaginally with their
skull and brain intact."
According to this survey, this procedure is performed in 0.17% of all abortions. In other fucking words, HARDLY EVER.
D&E is a different procedure, a Dilation and Evacuation. This procedure is done between 12 and 20 weeks gestation. In this procedure, the fetus is usually, well, separated to allow for easier evacuation of the uterus. 11% of all abortions occur in the second trimester, according to the same study above.
I hope that clears up some confusion for folks about the terms.
Now, the problem with the ban is that the language is NOT CLEAR about which procedure is being banned. Part of the issue is the fact that there are many medical terms that fall into this category–this New York Times article refers to both "intact dilation and evacuations" AND "intact dilations and extractions". The line between the two procedures is very small–and doctors now face, as Maura mentioned, CRIMINAL prosecution for crossing that line–and sometimes they don’t know what procedure a woman need until they’ve actually started the surgery.
Do you see the problem? They are taking a medical decision out of the hands of the people involved–the patient AND the doctor.
Personally, I do not know which procedure I had. At 22.5 weeks gestation (when my pregnancy ended–and that is based on my last menstrual period, remember, not the date of implantation, so the fetuses were really 20.5 week along) I was right on the line between trimesters. Plus the fact that there where two fetus (one barely alive, and one dead) could have impacted which surgery I had.
Other than having a medical termination, the options open to someone in my position are usually either a) emergency c-section, and b) induced delivery.
My doctor believed–given my particular circumstances–that it would be better for both my short term and long term health to not cut open my body if at all possible. My health was in a precarious state, and the option of a medical termination was the fastest, safest, and least complicated procedure to use. It also preserved the health of my uterus for future pregnancies.
Also, my doctor (you know, the man in the room with me, the one with a medical degree and my chart in hand? that guy) knew that inducing me, with my insanely high blood pressure, would be likely to cause me to have a stroke.
Please remember that even if my twins had both been alive, THEY WOULD NOT HAVE SURVIVED. Do not tell me they would have, because you are wrong. There have been NO DOCUMENTED CASES of babies born that early surviving–I don’t care what pro-life websites you send me links to that say differently. THEY ARE LYING.
Trust me. Don’t you think that I wanted those babies and would have done anything I could to save them? And don’t you think that my doctor–who knew about my struggles to get pregnant and called the day of my surgery "the worst day of my professional career"–would have told me if that was possible?
Lastly, let’s discuss, using me as an example, the difference between HEALTH and LIFE.
Where do you draw the line? Was my life actually at risk at the moment they chose to terminate the pregnancy? Well, my blood pressure was going higher and higher and they weren’t able to get it under control with the medications they had available. My kidneys has begun to shut down and I’d stopped producing urine. But I was alive. I could have remained alive, possibly, under those circumstances for a while. Maybe they could have pushed it until I actually began to have seizures. Or maybe until I had a stroke. Or, maybe, since even after a stroke and having seizures I would have still been alive, maybe they would have to wait until after I felt into a coma. But wait! If I’m in a coma, I’m still alive, right? Even if my brain has been irreparably damaged, I’m still ALIVE. Right?
So, my point is, sure– the "Partial Birth Abortion Ban" has a provision for the LIFE of the mother. But there is NO PROVISION FOR HER HEALTH. Or the health of her uterus, or her future children.
To sum it all up, if I hadn’t had the procedure that I had, Nicholas, Zachary, me AND Tori would all be dead.