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Abortion is not a political decision

The recent death of Norma McCovey, the infamous “Jane Roe” in the Roe vs. Wade case legalizing abortions, and the street fights between pro-life and pro-choice forces are reminders that debates over abortion are usually framed to inflame, but not to resolve the issues.

Abortions are a medical procedure and should be looked at in that framework.  Obstetricians should demand that such considerations not be the sole province of politicians, nor moralists bent on denying physicians the use of these often necessary procedures.

In my youth, the news was replete with examples of young women who suffered the consequences of back-alley abortions using coat hangers or other methods that often resulted in severe infections and death. The first pregnant patient I was assigned was severely beaten in her fourth month, causing her to begin to spontaneously abort. I delivered three anencephalic (no brain) fetuses within one month whose existence was incompatible with life, one being so toxic as to threaten the well-being of the mother. I’ve seen pregnant women go into repeated seizures due to preeclampsia and a host of other problems which would medically justify an abortion.

People fail to appreciate that tubal pregnancies, molar pregnancies, pregnancies accompanied by cancers and other conditions may threaten maternal existence and are reasons to consider terminating that pregnancy. Selective abortions of women carrying more than four fetuses are often considered — women are not dogs or animals carrying litters, and such intrauterine numbers threaten the health of the fetuses and mother.

The decisions to have and perform abortions are not taken lightly. These are not choices on demand but medically indicated options. It is seldom about women’s rights or choice but should reflect medical necessity. Until you are standing there at that moment, you have no earthly idea about the considerations which must be taken into account. Emergencies are often quick and unexpected. They require immediate action, not a mandated waiting period. Get out of people’s beds in dictating their behavior and leave the affairs of a woman’s womb to those who appreciate the problems which can arise in a pregnancy.

Abortions are not birth control, as many with a one-child philosophy such as China or the pro-choice movement seem to believe. Pregnancies by rape and incest are issues not to be ignored; further consideration should be given to women forced into such against their will.

By the same token, it is unconstitutional to deny consenting adults the right to use birth control, as determined in the Griswold versus Connecticut Supreme Court case in 1965.

Over half of all conceptions are spontaneously aborted, likely because of genetic abnormalities incompatible with life. This tissue, if studied, has value in promoting life for today’s and future generations. To save the life of the mother is a consideration of Judaism, which appreciates the bond of mothers with children as well as their required protection of their children’s lives.

Over decades, as I’ve watched White House signing ceremonies around the issue of abortion, I am sadly struck that those present are usually white men who aren’t likely to get pregnant, though they can impregnate many, or women past child-bearing age. There is room for Planned Parenthood on many fronts, but the federal government should not fund it or elective abortions or Viagra. Those who want reproductive choices should be ones to pay for their legal choices, not taxpayers.

Dr. Ada M. Fisher of Salisbury is the N.C. Republican National Committeewoman. Contact her at P. O. BOX 777; Salisbury, NC 28145; telephone,  704-762-5144; email DrFisher@DrAdaMFisher.org.

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