Friday, February 25, 2005

The De-regulation and Safety of Elective Abortion in the U.S.

This article will be addressing abortion safety and mortality in the United States.

The regulation of elective abortion procedures, like many issues in the contraversial abortion debate has become ensnared in a political battle between two opposing political forces, pro-life and pro-choice.

Currently the majority of abortions are preformed on women at outpatient clinics, under minimal regulation and close political scrutiny. On one side, the abortion-rights movement, re-named pro-choice fight tooth and nail against regulations. On the other hand, the pro-life movement calls for stringent regulations and limiting access to obtaining an abortion. Regardless of political stance, an induced abortion is a medical procedure and therefore providers should be required to adhire to the same medical laws and ethical guidelines as any other medical procedures in order to protect the patient from medical malpractice. I applaud the pro-life movement for lobbying for better regulation, however the pro-life movement needs to focus on the betterment of mother as well as child. And I can see how abortion-rights activists would consider regulations as a threat to limiting abortion. However, have they become so enruptured in the politics of keep abortion legal that they've neglected safety? I've noticed that the only ones reporting injuries and deaths of women at abortion providers have been the pro-life movement. Many would question whether their motivations for reporting are only in the interest of restricting abortion. On the other hand, neither abortion-rights activists blogs nor NARAL Pro-Choice America website feature in their activism any of the incidences of medical malpractice and neglect at abortion providers. However, with a little research, one can find cases with documentation in death certificates, autopsy reports, newspaper articles, and medical journals. Yet there is plenty of uproar that clinics pushing the limits of the law are investigated and clinics have *gasp* medical regulations. Some abortion-rights activist have even gone so far as to callously minimize the injuries and deaths of women and tout abortion as the safer option, often citing statistics from the CDC and Alan Guttmacher Institute.
The claim "Abortion is safer than childbirth" comes from 2002 CDC statistics. In 2002, the CDC recorded 9 deaths out of 845,573 abortions. That's a little over 1 in 100,000. Also in 2002, the CDC recorded 8.9 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births. From there, they deduct carrying a child to term is about 9 times more dangerous than having an abortion. However, there are some issues with this approach and deduction, with the comparison of abortion mortality and maternal mortality rates. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control report for pregnancy-related mortality rates: "In this report, a woman's death was classified as pregnancy-related if it occurred during pregnancy or within 1 year of pregnancy and resulted from 1) complications of the pregnancy, 2) a chain of events that was initiated by the pregnancy, or 3) the aggravation of an unrelated condition by the physiologic effects of the pregnancy or its management" (source). This means pregnancy-related mortality rates are broadly defined to included the following: aggravation of a maternal pre-existing, non-pregnancy-related medical condition, pregnancy-induced maternal medical condition, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, still birth, post-partum complications, and includes induced abortion. Therfore the maternal mortality rates are inflated and we are not comparing with the pregnancy mortality rate alone. In addition, regarding the CDC and AGI reports for Induced Abortions, mortalities resulting from induced abortion are typically under-reported as such. One reason is that a medical examiner may code the underlying cause of death on the autopsy report as the complication alone, i.e. embolism, septsis, hemorrhage, or anesthesia complications, rather than correctly as a legally induced abortion with specified complication. A good explination of this can be found here. Therefore it is misleading to compare pregnancy-related mortality rates to abortion mortality rates to obtain the conclusion that abortion is safer than childbirth.

According to E-Medicine: Abortion Complications, complications of spontaneous and therapeutic abortions include (1) complications of anesthesia, (2) postabortion triad (ie, pain, bleeding, low-grade fever), (3) hematometra, (4) retained products of conception, (5) uterine perforation, (6) bowel and bladder injury, (7) failed abortion, (8) septic abortion, (9) cervical shock, (10) cervical laceration, and (11) disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). Frequency of complications depends on gestational age at time of abortion and method of abortion. Complication rates according to gestational age at time of abortion are as follows: for 8 weeks and under - Less than 1% or less than 17,300 women will experience complications, for 8-12 weeks - 1.5 to 2% or 25,950 to 34,600 women, 12-13 weeks - 3 to 6% or 51,900 to 103,800 women, Second trimester - Up to 50% or 865,000 women, possibly higher.
Mortality and morbidity depend on gestational age (GA) at time of abortion. In the US, mortality rates per 100,000 abortions are as follows: (1) fewer than 8 weeks, 0.5; (2) 11-12 weeks, 2.2; (3) 16-20 weeks, 14; and (4) more than 21 weeks, 18. Let me put this into perspective for you. Consider that in 2002, 1.3 million abortions were preformed and and 430,000 spontaneous abortions occured in the United States, (source: Unintended Pregnancy Statistics) for this purpose, a total of 1.73 million, correlating the number of total spontaneous and elective abortions to the above mortality rates for spontaneous and elective abortions <-- 0.5 in 100,00 is equivalent to 1 in 200,000, divide 1.73 million by 200,00 and so on --> this translates to the following statistic number of mortalities (or deaths) which occur for spontaneous and elective abortions (but keep in mind the actual numbers may be higher or lower), (1) fewer than 8 weeks, 8.7 deaths, (2)11-12 weeks, 38 deaths, (3) 16-20 weeks, 242 deaths, 4) more than 21 weeks, 311 deaths. To put a face on these deaths, the Real Choice website features the names and cases of women killed during abortions.

A Few Bad Apples?
"Some folks have argued that women's abortion deaths, even when caused by gross malpractice by abortion providers, aren't a sign of widespread problems. These guys are just a few bad apples. Are they?"

Monday, February 21, 2005

Recommend Reading List

Below, you will find categories of books of various topics which I've read in my free time and not only enjoyed but would recommend to others as sources of education and entertainment. You can purchase the books through my Amazon Associate's store and when you purchase an item through my store, I receive a small portion of the profits, which will be used to purchase the supplies for my Basic Care Bags for the Homeless

Updated: 05/19/2010

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Abortion as a Form of Self-Abuse

Julie has a great post up about abortion as a form of self-abuse. Part of what she discusses is pre-abortion counseling at abortion clinics and the need for counselors to explore the past history of clients and identify those clients with risk factors for having negative emotional reactions after an abortion

In brief:
'An unwanted pregnancy certainly causes psychological distress. Abortion will provide temporary relief from that stress using a kind of amputation – the removal of the natural, biological consequences of procreative sex. Abortion can also repeat the trauma of sexual and physical abuse by invading the most intimate part of a woman’s anatomy at a time when she feels most helpless. The goal of abortion is destruction. The result of sexual abuse is also destruction. Often a woman who “succumbs” to coercion to abort is repeating a pattern learned earlier in life, that her body is not her own to control, and she must give to others the right to inflict pain on her. Cutting, burning, and other expressions of self-injury can often be a way for her to feel in control again. “It is MY body, and I will be the one to hurt it,” certainly seems odd, and is an echo of the pro-choice battle cry, but for the woman who learned to equate love with pain and helplessness in childhood, it makes sense. '

Monday, February 14, 2005

QUIZ: Am I a Romantic or Realistic?

Another fun quiz to give us a break from the daily grind.

You Are A Romantic
You are more romantic than 80% of the population. You life your life like a fairy tale... or at least you try to. Living for magical moments, you believe there's only one true love for you. Love is the most important thing in your life, and you don't take it for granted. Your perfect match loves to be in love as much as you do!
Yeah, that sounds right :)

EDIT: Post release date moved to Valentines Day

Wednesday, February 9, 2005

QUIZ: What's Your Political Persuasion?

You Are a Liberal Republican

When you tell people that you're Republican, they rarely believe you. That's because you're socially liberal - likely pro-choice and pro-gay rights. You're also not so afraid of big goverment, as long as it benefits people and not politicians. You are the most likely of any Republican type to swing over to the Democrat side sometimes.
Yes, I am somewhat of a liberal Republican on some issues and conservative on others. Below were my responses for the questions (composing this quiz) to give you a better view of my stance on individual issues:

1. Sex between consenting adults should be:
A: Legal and left alone

I feel that there should be certain moral and ethical standards regarding sexual behavior, but it's not the government's responsibility to enforce them. Issues such as homosexuality, sex ed, and abstinence are best left to be taught in the home. However, incest is a societal and pyschological problem.

2. Marijuana should be:
A. Available to medical patients.

Marijuana has some medical properties (i.e. pain relief for those who suffer chronic pain when traditional pain relievers have become ineffective; also relieves nausea for patients undergoing chemo therapy). However there will need to be regulations placed to prevent misuse and abuse of prescribing privledges.

3. Do you think people should be able to control their own retirement (i.e. privatize social security)?
A. Probably not - though a small amount of privitazation might be okay

I don't know a lot about the issues surronding social security.

4. Who should get a tax cut?
A. Only the poor and the middle class

Once a mutual friend and I were discussing tax breaks (in a civil matter, it was good dialouge) and he told me that my stance on tax breaks is actually democratic. The poor and middle (working class) don't need to be burdened more than they already are. It seems that often the poor struggle for safe and healthy living conditions and both the middle class and lower class struggle to afford post-secondary education and a complete range of healthcare sevices while they are affordable for the rich. I do believe in government aid for those who sincerely need it to help them get back on their feet, but not for who abuse it.

5. Replacing government welfare with church and private charities is:
A. Smart. Businesses are always better at getting things done than goverments.

Let's return to the focus of community i.e. neighbors helping out neighbors, but I would hope though that the government would continue to provide funding assistance through grants. I do see a lot of wonderful, beneficial charities out there right now that need volunteers, supplies, and charitable funding.

6. Who would you trust the most?
A. Your minister / pastor / priest

I would like a leader that is honest, lives a life similar to most working class Americans, and see things more on the humanitarian level (rather than popularity and political gain). However I'm wary of them as leaders standardizing religious and moral beliefs. Current politicians frustrate me soo much. I take issue with: dishonesty in regards to government and contry issues, poor management of the government budget and the economy, flip-flopping moral/political views back and forth to gain popularity and get voted into office. It's got to be better than the selection of politicians we have now.

7. Abortion is:
A. Wrong.

LOL, the results of the quiz are slightly off, I affiliate myself with being pro-life but lean towards the middle.

I have witnessed the effects of the abortion revolution her generation brought about, and I say it has not solved anything. Abortion on demand has not made men respect women more, it has not made it easier for women to refuse unwanted sexual advances, it has not reduced the consequences of early sexual activity and pregnancy (if anything a teen can easily have an abortion to erase the "mistake"), and it has not healed the emotional wounds of rape and incest victims.

I believe abortion hurts the very women it was supposed to heal.

I believe abortion gives men the freedom to be irresponsible.

I believe abortion gives society an excuse to ignore and spurn young mothers.

I believe that motherhood is not the end of life, but its beginning.

I believe that life begins at conception and the unborn is a unique, individual, human being in the early stages of human life.

I believe in choice: I believe no woman should be raped, forced or coerced into sexual relations. I believe that a woman who partakes in consensual sex has already made a choice - she is choosing by her actions to accept the possible consequence of a child.

I believe that many women who choose abortion do so out of a feeling of desperation. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, over 90% of women have an abortion due to social and financial concerns. Abortion is a reflection that we [as a society] have not met the needs of women facing unplanned pregnancy in terms of emotional support, resources, and viable alternatives. These women need to know that we will not let them down. They need help to have their babies. They need healing after abortion. They need love.

I believe making abortion illegal again and locking up women who have abortions would in no way help society. What first must be done is to focus on improving life affirming options for mother and child, to reduce the need for abortion (i.e. developing a better support system, address the societal pressures which lead women to abortion) and hold men accountible for their actions.

I believe abortion should be reserved for women whose physical health is at risk, and the proper screening should be provided, including psychological counselling.

I believe abortion providers should be monitored and regulated more diligently for quality of care and safety and should be required to meet the same medical and ethical standards practiced for any other medical procedure.

I do support preventing unplanned pregnancy through legalized contraception.

8. Are you for or against school vouchers?
A. For

Perhaps my view is jaded on this because I grew up going to a Catholic school. However, I do believe that every parent has the right to choose the method of which their child will be educated (whether it be by homeschooling, a tutor, a private school, or a public school).

9. Are you for or against legalized gambling?
A. For

With regulations, I think legalized gambling would not be a social burden. It would provide revenue for the government, jobs, and commercial business. Of course, I recognize the negative issues of increased crime and gambling addiction (but it's up to the indivual to seek counseling, as with any other addiction). But these issues properly addressed, would become a non-issue.

10. The size of goverment is:
A. Just about right

11. Who do you wish you could vote for?
A. Argh, no one

12. Finally, which party do you most affiliate yourself with?
A. Republican

Tuesday, February 1, 2005

The Voices of Men and Women Who've Experienced Abortion

There's a growing group of blogs where women and men write about their personal experience with abortion. The following are their online journals and blogs, often written from the day they found out about the pregnancy to recovery after the abortion. Abortion affects men, women, and families of every background and social status. The most common reaction following an abortion is relief, but also may include any number of emotions including loss, grief, remorse, anger, and sadness. There is no right or wrong way to feel and the range of emotions vary from person to person. The point of this list isn't to make any political statement, but rather to bring to light the diversity of abortion experiences and to encouarge others to speak out about their experiences (much like the Our Truths zine or the Tell My Abortion Story website). Each persons has their own story to tell and unique experience. In sharing their stories, the empower others to also speak out about their own experience and find peace and closure in their decision. I encourage readers to check into these blogs. But keep in mind that the men and women listed here need cyberhugs and support, not judgement or political opinions. Any comments left on their site should be respectful and should be made out of compassion.Please refrain from going to these blogs if you're only going to say or do hurtful things. 
If you blogged your abortion story and feel comfortable sharing, please leave a note and a link to your web blog in the comment box below. Please let me know of any broken links. If you would like me to remove your journal from this list, please leave me a note and I will oblige. 

1 Out of 3 is Me
One out of three women in the United States has an abortion by the age of 45. Still the experience remains shrouded in silence, and for some women, shame. This is a pro-choice abortion blog based on a woman's  personal experience having a second trimester abortion

4 Years Later 
She discusses her feelings surrounding discovering she was pregnant, her boyfriends intial support then abandonment, and her decision to have an aborton. She reflects on her abortion with some sadness but maintains it was the right decision and she does not regret it

A Hole In One
A  young woman's story of her accidental pregnancy, abortion, and no regrets.

A man hears of his guy friend's sad and disgraceful behavior around a girlfriend's abortion.

Thanks in Advanced
A young man's situation of his girlfriend having a baby unexpectedly, when he's not ready.

Abortion Blog
Her experience with a medical abortion. Different people handle serious situations differently, this author takes a light-hearted approach to handle a tough issue.

Abortion Hurts - Silent Rain Drops
The blog of woman who has had an abortion, but also writes on the emotional after effects of abortion.

Abortion Stories
A web journal where various women have posted about their unplanned pregnancy and abortion experience, updating on an on-going basis. Leans towards stories of no regret.

Achromic on the Run
Achromic's story is that of when she was a troubled young woman experiencing two pregnancies, both which ended in abortions that she doesn't regret.

Another Lost Girl 
Her struggles with substance abuse in addition to an unplanned pregnancy and subsequent abortion.

Babyfruit Gal
A married woman struggling with the emotions of a past abortion and present difficulties with infertilty issues. She has mentioned that she has experienced miscarriages (3x) in the same timeframe of her past abortion.

Been There, Done That: Reflections on Abortion
"Walk with me through the journey of unexpected pregnancies and the life-long impact they leave behind."
Faith has has 2 abortions 8 years agoand writes of her journey through discovering her unplanned pregnancies, the resulting abortions, and the healing and grace she's found through faith.

Beer, Barbecue, and Bible Study
Pauly, in his blog, discusses his involvement in an abortion 25 years ago, which seperated him from his unborn son, and it's spiritual and emotional impact on him over the years. He is now helping others through their abortion recovery.

Beth Madison

She writes about abortion regrets, her relationship with ND, and bad dreams

Broomstick Chronicals
This author shares her experiences and decisions with five unplanned pregnancies, 3 of which ended in abortions, one which was during the era in when abortion was illegal.

Choice For All
Writes retrospectively about her positive experience of choosing abortion from a practical and emotional point of view. She also discusses the future and about how she moves on now past her decision.


Recently married, her husband demanded details of earlier relationships, which include an abortion. He appears to have told her that she doesn't deserve to live.

The Ferrret
A view from the male's perspective, his first experiences of sexual discovery and his experience and feelings surrounding his partner's pregnancy and abortion (caution: graphic descriptions)

Faith, Hope and Love
A blog written by a woman who is Christian, post-abortive, bipolar, a cutter and a poet. Her blog's updates are often Christian introspection and consolation.

A single 31 yr old Canadian woman. Having recently gone through a difficult divorce and pregnant with her ex-husbands's child, she decided on an abortion.

The  blog of a young woman who chronicles her eating disorder, drug use and her recent abortion at 23 weeks.

The web journal verision of the site, where various women have posted about their unplanned pregnancy and their positive abortion experiences, updating on an on-going basis.

Had an abortion, which she does not regret. Her mother also has had an abortion.

A Journey Towards Healing
J's partner had an abortion, which also himself struggled with. He describes himself as "a humbled Christian man who once had a broken spirit and a pain-filled heart from an abortion who has sought and received God's forgiveness and has forgiven himself and benefited from intense grief recovery therapy and one-on-one counseling"

Life After Abortion
A blog run by two post-abortion ladies who share reflections, poetry, and stories in relation to healing after an abortion.

Life of a Zygote
Is a brief blog a woman posted from learning she was pregnant up to her due-date when she's pondering what her life would be at this moment if she hadn't aborted.

Live Journal: After Abortion
This is a web journal where various women have posted about their unplanned pregnancy and abortion experience, updating on an on-going basis.

Michele's List of Goodies
Is about a woman's pregnancy and abortion, social life, and struggles with relationships and guys. In this entry she describes the grief she is feeling after her abortion as the following, "I'm grieving the baby I'll never have. I know money is tight and I'm not in a relationship, but I COULD have been a mother...But I'm not. Instead, I'm writing about all the things I could be doing and bawling my eyes out. I know I did the right thing. But the right thing isn't always easy.  Someday, I'll have a baby. But I'll never have this one. At this moment in time, that's simply unbearable."

Mistress of Cheese
Was a newly pregnant 23 yr old. She has had two previous pregnancy losses (abortions?) and her sister has had one abortion. She is in a committed relationship. When she told her family about her pregnancy over the holidays, they were unsupportive and negative. The sister's abortion regrets were triggered by the announcement. It's possible, but not clear, that the mother would prefer that her daughter have a third pregnancy loss.

My Abortion and Related Incidents
Eve is an artist in her mid-twenties who shares her general feelings, thoughts, and conversations surrounding her abortion decision and relief she felt.

My Abortion Story

Felt she had no choice but to have an abortion. She shares her story in memory of her angel, Sophie.

Has stepped up and taken responsbility for his fiance's pregnancy. However his fiance is wanting an abortion, and had planned to do so without his knowing.

My Truest Thoughts
A young woman who has started a blog to share her about her abortion experience in February of 2006. She continues to remember the abortion vividly and is hurting emotionally.

Discovered she was pregnant while she was involved in a rocky relationship, and choose abortion with uncertainty. She also has had a daughter, whom she placed with an adoptive family.

One in One Thousand
A pro-choice blog chronicling an unlikely pregnancy and its second trimester abortion

The S.I.C.L.E. Cell Blog
S.I.C.L.E. is an abbreviation for "Self Induced Child Loss Experience" Ashely writes about her experience with an abortion as the result of having hyperemesis gravidarum and her feelings and emotions surrounding her abortion experience.

Sweet-Nothingness of Dolce
She talks about the impact of an abortion when she was 17.

Teen Parents and Abortion Survivors 
 A support blog started by a teen parent who's experienced abortion and wants to share her experience and provide support for others.

Relflects on her decision to have an abortion as a teenager, the impact of the decison on her life, and the meaning of "choice".

Shares her experience with her unplanned pregnancy and subsequent surgical abortion with no regrets

Uncommon Misconception
Is one woman's tragic story of a poor prenatal diagnosis and abortion of her unborn son, Thomas.

Underwater Clown Consipiracy
April's struggle with infertility about her 2 past abortions, "They seem to infiltrate the happy moments and lend - not necessarily sadness, but more of just a contemplative stillness." You can follow her in her new life here.

We All Have Shitty Days
The blog writer talks about her pregnancy that resulted from a love affair, and her resulting decision to have an abortion.

What to Expect When You''re Aborting
"I'm 23, I'm knocked up. I'm not keeping it." Her honest and down-to-earth experience with a surgical abortion at 7 weeks.

Why Life Goes On
Writes about her struggles with her feelings towards her fetus and her abortion.

Was sexually assaulted 10 years ago in college and terminated the resulting pregnancy. She feels her abortion was the right decison and speaks about as the right to abortion and EC for rape victims.

Links Curtesy of Annie and Emily over at AfterAbortion, Christina at Real ChoiceJivin' J, found on various web blogs, and searched on Google and Yahoo! using key phrase: "my abortion" site:[insert blog host name here].com

Updated With 3 New Stories 7-11-2011

Original Comments for This Entry:

Patri Ann made this comment,
I want to comment on this entry and this blog. I really appreciate what you are doing here. I think it's important to look at many, many sides when trying to make up your mind about an issue, and also, to state your opinions while valuing and respecting the opinions of others. That is a noble aim. One that I strive to acheive as well.
However, I would like to say that your description of me and my entry above is somewhat inaccurate. I am pro-life, but not in the way that I think you are reading it. I think that life is valuable, but I don't think that a fetus is life. I am adamantly supportive of a woman's choice to terminate her pregnancy. What I wrote is my story of choice. And "choice" doesn't always feel like a choice, but I would have done it over if I had my life to live again. And, I knew, and still know, that by choosing abortion, I chose not to give my fetus the option of life, but I also think I did the right thing and I sleep soundly.

Rachael made this comment,
Patri Ann, Thank you for taking the time to visit and give feedback. By no means do I intend to misrepresent your beliefs or your story. If you wish, I will edit the description of your story (what would you like the description to say?) or even remove it from my listing here. Please do let me know.

Patri Ann made this comment,
Please, don't remove it. I think it is important to have many, many viewpoints when considering any decision, and I think your site is amazing in its desire to show those viewpoints. I don't know what I'd like it to say, although your alteration of it seems fine for now. Thank you.

Rachael's Note: Patri Ann's blog was removed at a later time because the blog has since been removed from Blogger.