House bans funding of abortion training
By a 234-182 vote, the House of Representatives passed an amendment last Wednesday, sponsored by Virginia Foxx (R-NC) that would prohibit teaching hospitals from receiving federal funding if they teach doctors how to perform abortions.
Yes, you read that right. Residents would no longer learn how to "perform abortions," not if their facility wants to continue receiving federal funding for training physicians. The anti-women movement might be forced to concede exceptions for rape, incest, or danger to maternal health, but those can be safely ignored if no one knows how to perform those procedures.
Now, in typical Republican fashion, they've gone and passed this... this ... monstrosity, without considering the larger implications.
Yes, preventing a resident from learning to perform a D&C (dilation and curettage) or D&X (dilation and extraction) means they will not be qualified to perform abortions.
Both of these are common procedures that are used for a number of conditions that have nothing to do with induced abortions. Or even with pregnancy. You could do a D&C to scrape away an abnormal uterine lining that causes a woman to bleed too heavily during menstruation. Or you could do it to obtain a sample for biopsy if you suspect cancer. Or you could use it to remove the placenta in cases of spontaneous abortion or miscarriage. It just so happens that you can also use it to deliberately terminate pregnancy, by removing the fetus. But the procedure itself has any number of other uses, and therefore needs to be taught in med school even if the school has a strict no-abortion policy.
Proving how little they know -- and/or just how little they care -- 234 members of the House voted to ban the teaching of medical procedures that are vital in saving the lives of women who have miscarried, or have complications that endanger their health, or who aren't even pregnant.
Just as "laparoscopic surgery" can mean having one's tubes tied, or appendix removed or a suspected cancer biopsied, so to are a D&C and D&X medical procedures that can be used for a variety of medical reasons, one of which is terminating an unwanted pregnancy.
Mikki Kendall tells her abortion story over at Salon, one of those "exceptions" where a planned pregnancy went terribly wrong, and despite hemorrhaging and a diagnosis of fetal death, she went through hell and nearly died because the on-call doctor "didn't do abortions. Ever." Not even to save the life of a woman whose fetus was dead.
I am one of those fortunate enough to have had a "good" experience after a prenatal loss. In 1988, I miscarried at 15 weeks and had a D&C to save my life. I had caring, competent providers who gave me the medical care and the emotional support I needed. My OB/GYN gently helped me to understand this pregnancy was lost, and explained what needed to happen in order to prevent further blood loss and/or infection. He was even thoughtful enough to admit me to the surgical floor and not L&D. (Due to blood loss, I was required to stay overnight for observation.)
This amendment (which I can only hope has no chance of passing in the Senate) makes me window-breaking, riot-starting furious. Were this ban to go into effect, women like Mikki Kendall and myself would be left to die, our living children left motherless, our spouses widowed, our extended families devastated -- all to "save a life" that was already gone. All of which leaves out the women who will be forced to carry healthy pregnancies to term against their will.
It makes me furious that we continue to see our LEGAL right to a medical procedure eroded day after day.
I'm angry that we women have to keep telling our stories, all but begging people to understand how deeply personal, difficult, and individual the decision is. As Mikki Kendall says, "You shouldn't need to know the details of why a woman aborts to trust her to make the best decision for herself."
I'm furious that women have to keep demanding the right to make our own choices, based on our individual circumstances.
I'm angry that we must keep fighting the mental image of abortion -- the perfectly formed, viable "babies" -- that the forced-birth contingent has planted in the country's collective mind, when 88% of abortions (Guttmacher) are performed in the first 12 weeks -- long before viability is a consideration.
I'm furious that we must force these women-hating monsters to look at the living women who have and will die as a result of their callousness.
I'm angry that we must keep pointing out the hypocrisy of people who claimed single-payer healthcare would mean allowing the government make people's medical decisions for them, while fighting to make sure the government ensures women have no choice in their own reproductive care.
But we do.
We have to keep fighting, have to keep waging this war because the result of Virginia Foxx's sickening amendment and every other anti-choice piece of legislation is this: women will die.
But that's pretty much their goal, isn't it?