Monday, November 05, 2007

Gasp and clutch your pearls, now!

Oh my goodness, doctors don't think Nicaragua's no-abortion policy is a good thing for women's health? Well golly gee, let's rustle up a chorus of "no-duh" for those of us that realize that putting a (dead or dying) fetus above a woman on the importance scale has never been very good for women's health.

Nicaragua's new El Salvador-esque policy of not allowing any abortions at all, even in the case of an ectopic pregnancy, has, surprisingly I know, caused an increase in the amount of maternal deaths in the country. Olga Reyes was a law student who, shortly after getting married, became a victim of this policy.

Law student Reyes was one of the three confirmed fatalities. She knew something was horribly wrong, and went with her husband to their small town's medical center. They were sent to Bertha Calderon maternity hospital, more than an hour away in Managua. There, Perez said, Reyes was given a cursory exam, sent home and told to return the next day.

By that time, the bleeding and cramping were worse. Perez said he rushed her to a hospital in nearby Leon, but after she had an ultrasound that confirmed her condition, they left her bent over and in agony for hours in a waiting room. When a doctor at a shift change saw her condition, she was rushed into surgery. She suffered three heart attacks and an exploratory surgery.

Valladares said doctors should have acted quicker.

"They knew she had a limited amount of time before she bled out. The whole world knows that with an ectopic pregnancy," Valladares said. "They didn't treat her, out of fear."

Emphasis mine, because it just shows exactly why legislation like this, and legislation that's akin to it *coughPartialBirthAbortionBanscough* works to kill women who otherwise would have been helped. Doctors don't want to take the legal risk to help these women.

Some doctors privately admit to carrying out what they believe are illegal procedures, while others say they won't jeopardize their careers.

"Many are thinking that instead of taking the risk, it is better to let a woman die," said Dr. Leonel Arguello, president of the Nicaraguan Society of General Medicine.

Boom. Right there. That is exactly why blanket bans on medical procedures are so dangerous. They create a aura of fear and unknowing about whether or not the procedure the doctor is doing, or would have to do, is entirely legal. No doctor wants to jeopardize their career and degree, and often the hesitation that causes is a factor in the deaths of women in emergency situations that need immediate action, much like Olga Reyes' situation. She would still be alive right now if it weren't for that ban.

However, she was left to die so that a doomed embryo could live a little longer to appease others.

1 comment:

FEMily! said...

I wonder if Matt will read this! He seems to love legislation with vague language and voted on by people who believe that infancy is a stage of prenatal development, OBGYNs are not to be trusted, and women get themselves pregnant.

You know how pro-lifers try to prove their position is morally superior by reminding us that Norma McCorvey is now pro-life or naming a former "abortionist" who is now pro-life? It's like people learn that abortion is wrong the hard way. If abortion were illegal in this country, I'm sure doctors would learn the opposite, that legal abortion is necessary. And it seems that's exactly what's happening in countries like Nicaragua and El Salvador.

And I guarantee you that this legislation wasn't suggested by doctors, or at least doctors who put their patients before their dogma. The majority of doctors don't support such laws, even if they think abortion is wrong, because they know it's more wrong to see a woman dying and do nothing about it. And because they know that leaving a woman to die when a simple procedure can save her life is wrong, outlawing abortion does not relieve any moral dilemma a doctor has regarding choice.