Analysis

Oklahoma is right: Abortion isn’t medical care

ThinkProgress is outrageously-outraged at Oklahoma for its recently-passed (but not yet signed) bill that would effectively ban abortion for any reason other than saving a mother’s life by revoking the medical licenses of anyone who performs one.

As a purely practical matter, it’s true that the bill will almost certainly be struck down as a de-facto ban on first-trimester abortions, because the Supreme Court doesn’t yet have a majority willing to overturn the fraudulent, indefensible Roe v. Wade.

But while it may have been strategically wiser for pro-lifers to focus their energies on invalidating Roe and reining in judicial activism, that’s an entirely separate question from ThinkProgress’s bogus case that the law is somehow illegitimate and foolish.

First is the nonsense idea that it’s beyond the pale to, as Alex Zielinski puts it, “go after abortion doctors for doing their jobs”:

“We already have a severe physician shortage in Oklahoma,” said Rep. Emily Virgin (D) at a House debate over the bill last week. “Are you at all concerned about physicians leaving Oklahoma if this bill becomes law?”

“Their job” in this case is to butcher children. In doing so, they are choosing to violate their own Hippocratic Oath’s calls to “tread with care in matters of life and death,” to face the possibility of taking life “with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty,” to “above all” avoid “play[ing] at God,” and to heed a “special obligations to all my fellow human beings” (emphasis added). Further, most abortions don’t qualify as medical care for the simple fact that they’re sought for reasons completely unrelated to health.

In light of all that, of course practicing abortion is grounds for losing one’s medical license. And that’s before we even get into the industry’s rampant disregard for the woman’s life and health, or its habit of lying to them.

And no, driving abortionists out of business won’t exacerbate any doctor shortages. Any doctor who wants to keep his or her job is perfectly free to cease abortions once the law takes effect. More importantly, as Cassy Fiano and I have covered in the past, they’re too small a slice of the profession to make a blip.

Abortionists admit that hospitals tend to dislike abortionists and real physicians look at them like “the lowest of the low.” Just 0.2% of doctors provide abortions. According to one survey, only 14% of obstetricians have ever provided abortions. Abortion stigma within the medical community has been observed even in numerous western countries considered more pro-abortion than the United States.

Abortion advocates are constantly telling pro-lifers we need to make abortion policy based on the advice of medical experts, not politicians. Well folks, here’s your chance!

In response to the bill’s advancement, Dr. Mark DeFrancesco, the president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), stressed that this legislation would only put women at further risk, as they may instead turn to unsafe, illegal methods to end their pregnancy. Politics, he emphasized, have no place in an exam room.

More nonsense. Our previous debunkings of abortion’s safety relative to childbirth, the prevalence and danger of illegal abortion pre-Roe, and pro-life laws’ effectiveness at reducing abortions or likelihood of increasing self-abortions all apply here, but of particular note is a new Federalist column by Americans United for Life staff counsel Anna Paprocki, who highlights additional reasons to doubt abortion is as safe as DeFrancesco wants you to believe:

[Vox’s Liz] Plank [last seen here – CF] alleges “abortion is actually safer than childbirth” by comparing two data points from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that the CDC itself has said are not comparable. Maternal mortality and abortion mortality “measures are conceptually different and are used by CDC for different health purposes.” In other words, Plank peddles apples-to-oranges numbers as the basis of her claim […]

Even pro-abortion advocates have said women face significant obstacles when reporting complaints against abortion providers. Susan Schewel, the executive director of the Women’s Medical Fund in Philadelphia, explained that, in her experience trying to work with women to file complaints with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, “The women found the complaint process so onerous and the telling of their stories so personally difficult that they failed to complete the paperwork and abandoned the effort.”

Abortionists have allegedly discouraged women from being truthful about their abortion complications. A former Planned Parenthood employee’s “whistleblower” lawsuit explains that chemical abortion patients who later experienced significant bleeding were told “to go to an emergency room and report that they were experiencing a spontaneous miscarriage.”

So despite the wailing and gnashing of teeth, the fact remains that abortion is not health care. Wouldn’t it be great if states were free to recognize that simple fact?

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