Thursday, April 19, 2007

What do 5 members of the SCOTUS and near-sighted gynecologists have in common?

They all have wet noses! (Apologies to the 98% of you that don't get the reference)*

I held off posting on the Supreme Court's decision to be supremely retarded, figuring someone else would write something more measured and that would hit all the points I wanted to hit. Lynn Harris at Salon did a pretty good job.

In general, critics of "partial-birth abortion" bans -- which are also on the books in 26 states (though enjoined in 18) -- have long argued that not only is there no such medical term as "partial-birth abortion," but that such laws define it so as to appear to also include a variation of dilation and evacuation (D&E), by far the most common -- and safest -- method of second-trimester abortion (which is relatively rare itself; at least 85 percent of abortions take place in the first trimester). In other words, the ban could be interpreted to outlaw abortion procedures used very early in the second trimester (not to mention those used for women who have learned via amniocentesis, as late as 20 weeks or more, that they're carrying a fatally abnormal fetus).
And even better:
Make no mistake: "This ban is not just about later-term abortion," says Janet Crepps of the Center for Reproductive Rights, who argued Gonzales v. Carhart. "The options for all women -- particularly women facing serious medical conditions -- have been dramatically reduced. No longer can women and their physicians decide what's in their best interest. Now there's the added concern about whether what's in their best interest will be in violation of federal criminal statutes." Among opponents of the ban, gallows humor was the order of the day. As in: "I'd like to give you the best possible care," your doctor might say, "but first let me check with my lawyer."
*The UMMS 2007 Smoker included the joke "What does my dog Winston have in common with a near-sighted gynecologist? They both have wet noses!"

NB: My dog is not named Winston.

2 comments:

Michael said...

Remember when life was simple and you thought being President was great and the Supreme Court was wise?

I'm amazed at the public's overwhelming fear of the slippery slope, even as they continue to make purely arbitrary distinctions in every facet of their entire lives. Why is it that passage through the uterus suddenly confers this fetus a special status? The Supreme Court members might read a lot more than me, but apparently at the cost of thinking for themselves. Why is it that D&E is considered okay but D&X is so horrible? And furthermore, why is "akin to infanticide" automatically and unarguably such a bad thing?

Tiny Shrink said...

We had a patient on whom we needed to perform such a procedure, right after this law went into effect. She was 18 weeks, anhydramnios, febrile, intrauterine infection. It's not a situation anyone wants to face. Limiting the surgical options for saving this woman's life isn't helping the situation get easier.