Abortion Referrals as Compassionate Care?

By: Jon Russell, National Coordinator for Medical Students for Life

I was recently contacted by an OBGYN wanting to get involved with Medical Students for Life as a mentor or speaker. The doctor was very delightful and you could tell by her voice she had a passion for life, but there was something not settling right with me.

You see, in the initial discussion we had over email, she shared her passion for the pro-life cause and wanted to share her pro-life views with others. She further explained that on occasion she referred some of her patients to a “safe” abortion clinic!?!…….Yes that alarm bell going off in your head was exactly what I heard.

During our phone conversation, I asked about her claim of being pro-life and yet referring her patients for abortion. She asked what else she was supposed to do for her patients asking for abortion services. I gently challenged her by saying, she was not practicing as a pro-life physician nor was it consistent with her Hippocratic oath to do no harm. Though she thought she was being compassionate, she was the primary care provider to both the mother and the growing fetus inside her. If she sends her patients to the abortion clinic, one or maybe both are not coming back to her clinic for a follow-up visit because one or both of them would be dead from the abortion. Referring patients for abortion is lethal and uncompassionate to both patients.

I also compared abortion referrals to the blacksmith who was asked to fix slave chains for a slave owner in the early 1800’s. The blacksmith was against slavery and had to say no to the slave owner and refused to refer the slave owner to another blacksmith.

Refusing to refer for abortion is the compassionate thing to do for your patient. The physician’s role is to heal illness, alleviate suffering, and provide comfort. Not to assist in taking a life.

I believe this doctor was divinely inspired to contact Medical Students for Life and to be challenged on her practice. I believe fully that our conversation was a new starting point for her. Please pray for doctors across the country to live out their convictions fully without compromise.

Join Us For A Webcast This Tuesday: What are your alternatives to prescribing contraceptives?

Join us for a national webcast on Tuesday, November 27th at 9:00 PM EST to hear Dr. Marguerite Duane discuss all the options available to physicians when counseling patients on family planning options.

As medical students you will one day be asked to prescribe birth control pills. Do you have all of your options? Do you know there are alternatives?

Fertility is a normal, healthy physiologic state.  Women’s hormonal cycles determine the fertile window when a couple will most likely conceive.  An understanding of the cycle and recognition of the external signs that determine each phase has led to the development of more environmentally friendly and highly effective forms of family planning.  Despite these advances, there is limited information about fertility awareness based methods (FABMs) being taught in medical school and residency and the majority of health professionals are trained to approach fertility as a disease state.

By the end of this presentation, participants will be able to describe the scientific basis for different types of FABMs and discuss the evidence supporting the effectiveness of these methods to both avoid and achieve pregnancy.  Participants will also be able to list the basic characteristics of the different methods to determine the appropriate population for use.  Finally, we will briefly introduce the participants to FACTS – the Fertility Appreciation Collaborative to Teach the Systems – a dedicated group of physicians and other health professionals committed to teaching our colleagues about fertility awareness based methods of family planning.

If you are having trouble with the webcast join online here:  http://InstantTeleseminar.com/?eventid=35177088

Battle Over Mentally Disabled Woman’s Pregnancy

KOLO TV Reporter: Kendra Kostelecky

RENO, NV – A hearing taking place in a Washoe County courtroom is getting national attention. The legal guardians of a mentally disabled pregnant woman are claiming the court wants to force her to have an abortion against her will. As you can imagine this case has tempers flaring, not just as an issue of choice, but civil rights.

Family Court Judge Egan Walker has asked KOLO 8 News Now not to identify the woman at the center of this case out of respect for her privacy. He also expressed concerned that she could become the target of predators in the future if her image was made public. That woman is 32-years-old, but has the mental capacity of a five to seven-year-old. In addition she has a number of physical disabilities related to fetal alcohol syndrome including epilepsy and bipolar disorder for which she takes medication.

One of the unanswered questions before the court is how she got pregnant. She currently lives in a group home and according to testimony she’s been known to disappear for hours or days, sometimes having sex with men at a local truck stop. It’s not known if her pregnancy is voluntarily or the result of rape. It’s also unclear, based on what we heard in court Thursday, whether she wants to keep her child. Her adopted parents, who are also her legal guardians are clearly in favor of that choice.

Representatives for the Washoe County Public Guardian’s office say they never requested an abortion. As a matter of procedure, they requested an investigation into her medical, psychiatric and psychological condition only after her doctor notified the County his patient was pregnant, and her guardians had failed to submit required annual reports. That investigation will also review the appropriateness of her placement in a group home.

Meanwhile, the court heard differing opinions from local doctors. Based on the medications, physical condition, and choices of the mother they were asked if it would be safe for her to carry to term. One expert testifying that there are significant risks for both mother and child. Another doctor argued that all pregnancies and terminations are inherently risky. He also recommended a Caesarean section based on the mother’s mental state.

There is some urgency in this case. The court racing to examine the best options before the mother passes her first trimester when risk factors will increase. She is now 11 weeks into the pregnancy. Still the question remains – if the mother chooses to keep her child regardless of the facts presented, can the court order her to terminate the pregnancy?

Read More Here

Fall Med Students for Life Tour Swings Through Mayo Medical School

Tomorrow, The Med Students for Life Tour will be at Mayo Medical School in Rochester, MN. Mayo CMA & CMDA will present Dr. Bill Toffler @12:00PM CST at 2-35 Kendall Hench Hall Guggenheim Building 3rd Ave SW Rochester, MN 55905. Dr Toffler will be speaking about Physician Assisted Suicide from the doctor-patient relationship perspective. .

Dr. Toffler has been with the Department of Family Medicine at Oregon Health Science University since 1985 and serves as the Director of Predoctoral Education. He is the co-founder and National Director of Physicians for Compassionate Care Education Foundation (PCCEF), a non-profit organization that promotes compassionate care for severely-ill patients without sanctioning or assisting their suicide. PCCEF physicians affirm an ethic based on the principle that all human life is inherently of value and that the physician’s roles are to heal illness, alleviate suffering, and provide comfort for the sick and dying. He is committed to defending the long-standing, medical prohibition against doing harm and has worked actively to support human life from conception to natural death. He is frequently invited to speak about these and other medical ethical issues at both regional and national conferences. Dr. Toffler has been a member of Focus on the Family Physicians Council for the past six years.

Also, please pray that Dr. Toffler will reach the hearts and minds of the many medical students he will meet. If he can change just one heart tens of thousands of lives will be saved!

So far in the tour Dr. Toffler has spoken at UC Davis, Dartmouth and University of Minnesota. Mayo will mark his 4th appearance out of five on our Fall Med Tour. If you are in the Rochester area, please join us for tomorrow’s lecture.

Tonight: National Webcast on “The Future of Medicine Under the Affordable Care Act”

Please join us for tonight’s National Webcast on “The Future of Medicine Under the Affordable Care Act” with Dr. C.L. Gray, MD at 9:00PM EST.

How will the new Affordable Care Act effect your decisions on issues of Life as a health care professional? This is a great concern for many med students as rights of conscience and medical ethics are under attack and the future of medicine is changing.  That is why we are inviting you to attend this very important webcast.

The webcast will be joined by Dr. C.L. Gray and he will discuss what you, as a med student, can expect under the new healthcare law and what to prepare for as you chart your course as a physician.  Dr. C. L. Gray is a nationally known writer, speaker, and board certified physician practicing hospital-based medicine in North Carolina. In 2006 he founded Physicians for Reform, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving patient-centered healthcare. Now in its second printing, Gray’s book, The Battle for America’s Soul, resulted from a decade spent in research and analysis of the history and philosophy of medical ethics. This book presents findings that link America’s present cultural divide with the practice of Post-Hippocratic medicine.
This webcast is open to all med students and health care professionals.  So, please join me on October 30th at 9:00pm ET!

Join by phone: 206-402-0100, caller ID 402116#

Join online:   http://instantteleseminar.com/?eventid=34680396

Please don’t miss this exciting opportunity to gain the tools and understanding to chart your course as a pro-life medical professional.

LR-120 would require that doctors notify parents at least 48 hours in advance of the abortion

By Kyle Schmauch Community News Service UM School of Journalism October 14, 2012 4:00 pm Click here for full story.

Seventeen years after the courts struck down an early attempt to require minors to notify their parents before getting an abortion, the contentious issue is back on the ballot this fall.

Legislative Referendum 120 is almost exactly like a 1995 law struck down by a Montana court as violating the Montana Constitution — with one key change.

“The difference is that the age is lower,” Jeff Laszloffy, head of the Montana Family Foundation, said, explaining the referendum would apply only to minors under 16. The previous law applied to girls under 18.

LR-120 would require that doctors notify parents or legal guardians at least 48 hours in advance of the abortion if the patient is under 16. If the minor does not want the notification to occur, she can obtain a waiver from a youth court. Notice would not be required in the case of a medical emergency.

Under the proposal, any doctor who fails to notify the parent or receive a waiver could face six months in jail and a $500 fine.

Debate over impacts

Both proponents and opponents of the referendum say their primary concern is the health and safety of young women, but they disagree over the proposed law’s impacts.

For Laszloffy, the proposal is about ensuring parents know what is happening in their family. He said LR-120 is “primarily a parental rights issue.”

He added that far less significant decisions like getting a tattoo or body piercing require parental consent ̶ a stricter requirement than notification.

“(Abortion) is the only exception where a 13-year-old can make this type of decision,” he said. “This is what happens when political correctness trumps common sense.”

But Julianna Crowley, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Montana, stressed the proposal would put vulnerable girls in harm’s way. “It’s about privacy and it’s about abortion rights,” she said.

Planned Parenthood of Montana, which opposes the ballot initiative, estimates that 80 percent of minors already tell parents or guardians about their pregnancies.

“(A notification law) puts young women who can’t go to their parents in dangerous situations,” Crowley said. “For voters, think about teens who they know may fear a violent reaction from their parents.”

Laszloffy countered that he was also concerned about a girl who faces possible violence or abuse at home.

“If she has a dangerous home situation … this (working through a youth court) is a way she could actually end the abuse.” He also said it is dangerous for parents not to know when their child has gone through a medical procedure.

Both sides acknowledge the referendum would affect only a few Montana teens each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 43 reported abortions occurred among teens ages 15 and under in Montana in 2008 (the most recent year available).

Déjà vu?

Thirty-seven other states have some version of a parental notification law on their books, but Montana has been here before.

In 1995, Montana’s Legislature adopted a parental notification measure. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Parental Notice of Abortion Act was constitutional under the United States Constitution.

However, a state district court ruled that law unconstitutional under the equal protection and privacy clauses of the Montana Constitution.

Crowley said LR-120 would raise the same legal concerns as that case. Laszloffy acknowledged that while the PNAA was thrown out as unconstitutional, lowering the age of girls covered by the law helped address the issue.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer decided differently last year when he vetoed the same legislation passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature.

The governor made note of the lower age of affected minors, but declared in his veto letter: “Given the strength of the 1995 … decision rejecting as unconstitutional an almost identical parental notice law, and a subsequent decision of the Montana Supreme Court solidifying Montana’s strong privacy provisions not only generally, but specifically in the abortion context … , I have chosen to veto SB 97.”

If the voters approve the new notification language, many observers expect an immediate and perhaps protracted legal fight over the issue.

What is it about informed consent?

What is it about informed consent that frightens abortion advocates?

Barbara Kay | Oct 4, 2012 11:02 AM ET Website

I think we’re going about this abortion debate the wrong way. We all know when life begins in the DNA sense: It begins at conception. The only people who have a bulletproof logical position on abortion are those for whom it is never ever permissible, because it is murder at any stage of gestation.

But that’s not most of us. Most of us believe abortion is admissible under certain conditions. But very few of us believe abortion should be permissible at any time before actual delivery of a live baby.

The honest amongst us do not call the fetus a wad of tissue. We know that even an embryonic baby is still a human being-in-waiting. Now we have to convince ourselves that it is okay to kill this homunculus before it gets to a stage where its resemblance to us begins to gnaw too painfully at our conscience to go through with the killing.

Everyone has a different reason for killing her unwanted fetus. Reminding them of when life begins is not going to change their minds, even those who are killing them for gender reasons.

I think we need another approach. We should not be looking at regulations over women’s bodies, but at regulations over their minds. By that I mean we should consider imposing a set of regulations to ensure that when abortions take place, they are occurring in the light of informed consent. And we need an abortion registry to gather data. Almost everyone in this abortion debate is ridiculously under-informed.

At the moment, women are hardly informed of anything about abortion before they give consent. As I have written previously, more than one previous induced abortion (IA) is a well-known risk for a premature birth in a future pregnancy. This is not a hypothesis. It is settled science. Premature birth is associated with a host of potential physical and mental deficits, the most dreaded being Cerebral Palsy. It would be interesting to have research done on all the cases of Cerebral Palsy in Canada to find out how many of them are linked to more than one previous abortion.

Risk of death also increases with each abortion. A 2012 Danish study (Priscilla Coleman, Bowling Green University) found that “Increased risks of death were 45%, 114% and 191% for 1, 2 and 3 abortions, respectively, compared to no abortions after controlling for other reproductive outcomes and last pregnancy age…”. The subjects for this study were Danish women. Since 1973 Denmark has had a national induced abortion registry. So it was not necessary to actually interview women in order to ascertain their IA history.

Read more here

What a Great Start to our SFLA Fall Med Tour!

We are over a quarter of the way through our 2012 Fall Med Tour and already we have provided pro-life medical lectures at North Texas University, UC Davis, Texas A&M, Dartmouth, University of Minneapolis and Jefferson College.

To date, over 400 med students from across the country have heard a pro-life medical lecture in the last two weeks. We have seen hearts changed and medical students taking a new interest in caring for both mother and preborn baby as patients. We are serious about changing the dialogue on med school campuses to help bring the field of medicine to a patient centered focus, where life is affirmed and valued.  Over time these lectures will result in a dynamic shift towards life on Medical school campuses.

Special thanks to Dr. Anita Showalter, Dr. Maureen Condic, Dr. Bill Toffler and Dr. Byron Calhoun (pictured above) for being our guest lecturers. Without your willingness to travel, those 400 students would have never been reached. And thank you to our financial supporters, who have generously supported this tour so far, we are blessed to partner with you.

Life and law going cheap, abortion pills without prescription in India

Anshu Seth, Hindustan Times
Ludhiana, September 19, 2012

Days after HT’s sting operation showed an MBBS doctor offering foetus sex determination tests at a farmhouse near Mandi Ahmedgarh, our team managed to buy pills for medical termination of pregnancy (MTP) from three different retail counters in Ludhiana, without prescription and thus in gross violation of law. This appears to be the simple, two-step medical procedure involved in female foeticide, though it’s not foolproof and can even lead to the mother’s death.

This correspondent posing as a customer procured MTP kits (mifepristone and misoprostol tablets) without any prescription from Rajindra Brothers (wholesale and retail chemists) near Hero Bakery on Pakhowal Road, JP Medical Hall in Ishar Singh Nagar and GTB Medical Store in Shastri Nagar. These pills are easily available at various drug stores at Chandigarh Road, Tajpur Road, Ferozepur Road, Aggar Nagar, Model Town and various other localities of the city too.

Not only do the chemists sell these pills without mandatory prescription, they also give free advice about the usage, which when discussed with gynaecologists was found absolutely wrong and also contradictory to instructions on the on the MTP kits. The price of each kit bought varied from Rs. 300 to Rs. 500.

In violation of the Pre-Conception (PC), Pre-Natal Diagnostic Test (PNDT) and MTP Acts, a racket in Ludhiana, Sangrur, Barnala and adjoining districts — comprised of midwives, hospital officials, some quacks, lab owners and even doctors — first singles out the pregnant women who already have one or two daughters and are visiting gynaecologists with another pregnancy.

Thereafter, the hospital PROs, midwives or paramedical staff follow these pregnant women and their families, giving them options for sex determination tests.

Those who agree are sent to the laboratory owners, acting as mediators, and the rate are fixed, as was done with the HT correspondent when she acted as a decoy patient in the recent sting operation.

If the test is “negative” (it’s a female foetus), the women are sent to BAMS doctors or gynaecologists, who administer MTP pills to the women irrespective of the pregnancy period. Davinder Singh, the owner of Gurnoor Laboratory in Himmat Singh Nagar, had told this correspondent, while referring us to a doctor in Ahmednagar for sex determination, that he would tell us about an expert for abortion if the foetus was female.

Read More

State Board of Health passes regulations on abortion clinics

Mon., Sept., 17, 2012; 10:53 PM by Mallory Noe-Payne, news editor, Collegiate Times

The Virginia State Board of Health voted last Friday to adopt regulations requiring existing clinics that provide abortions to follow the same building regulations as hospitals.

Abortion rights supporters have described the regulations as unnecessary and cumbersome, and a political tactic for minimizing access to abortion clinics.

In a 13-2 vote, members of the board reversed an earlier decision, which would have exempted existing buildings from the regulations previously applied only to new construction.

Anti-abortion defendants have applauded the board’s decision, although some board members deny the rules have any political agenda, instead saying regulations are only for ensuring health and safety.

“The primary purpose of the regulations is to ensure there is a safe, clean, healthy environment in which these procedures are performed for these women.” said Bruce Edwards, Chair of the Virginia State Board of Health.

The regulations require Virginia clinics that provide five or more abortions a month upgrade their facilities to meet hospital standards. These upgrades would include wider hallways and larger operating rooms, now the norm for new construction. Additionally, it affects the number of parking spaces available.

Olivia Babis, the southwest Virginia field coordinator for Planned Parenthood, said while Planned Parenthood is by no means anti-regulation, these particular rules are purposefully onerous, having “absolutely nothing to do with patient safety.”

“It is designed to shut down facilities performing abortions, there are no other purposes to it,” Babis said. Edwards, who is also the representative on the Board for Emergency Medical Services, disagrees.

“It is aimed at ensuring that things are sized properly so that good care can be provided to these patients,” Edwards said. “It’s important for me to be able to get all the way around the patient.

“I’ve been in small examining rooms… it’s often times difficult to get in there, particularly if the patient is not doing well.”

Blacksburg’s Planned Parenthood provides medical abortions during the first trimester, meaning it prescribes an oral medication inducing a miscarriage. Despite not performing any surgical


procedures, the facility will be subject to these new regulations.

Planned Parenthood in Blacksburg provided 160 medical abortions in 2011. Planned Parenthood in Roanoke, which provides surgical abortions as well as medical, provided 846 abortions in 2011.