As a Doctor I Know Abortions Hurt Women and Kill Children

If you leave a shopping center in Florida, or stop for gas at a turnpike rest stop, you may be approached by someone collecting signatures. This happened to me one day a few weeks ago. A man in a blue vest asked me if I was a Floridian and a voter. When I said yes, he told me that with enough signatures we could put an amendment to the state constitution “To keep women safe.” Those are his words. When I pressed him for details, I learned the truth. And me refused to sign.

The amendment is ACLU and other abortion activists are pushing to get on the ballot for 2024, if passed, would do the opposite of keeping women safe. It would put women at risk and remove all reasonable medical safeguards established to protect them. Let me explain.

The proposed amendment states: “No law shall prohibit, delay, or restrict abortion prior to life or when necessary to protect the patient’s health, as determined by the patient’s health care provider.”

The implications of this language are vast. Any reasonable medical guardrail around a chemical or surgical abortion would be prohibited – for example, a pre-procedure ultrasound is currently needed to determine the age and location of the baby. This is a non-invasive test that only takes a few minutes, but it is important, because it eliminates the great risk of trying a chemical abortion on a baby that is too large or ectopically located. Maternal bleeding, sepsis and even death have resulted from chemical abortion under these conditions. As a radiologist, I am called upon daily to use ultrasound to “date” pregnancy for an expectant mother who is unsure when her last period was. It is very common, especially among younger women and adolescents. And I’m always on the lookout for an ectopic pregnancy which is an emergency.

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Of course, if you run an abortion business, the ultrasound requirement only cuts into revenue by adding to the cost of the procedure in time, equipment and personnel. But there is no doubt that it protects patients.

Also on the chopping block under the proposed amendment is the current one need that only a physician may perform an abortion, and that same physician must inform the patient, 24 hours before, of the risks of the procedure, and the age of the baby. If approved, the amendment would remove this time for reflection, a time when mothers, with new information, can freely choose a different path. It will also be possible for a non-physician to perform a surgical abortion, and for a receptionist or other staff member to examine the patient and administer chemical abortion pills. This is because, in Florida, a “health care provider” means any employee of the facility, even an employee without medical training.

Of course, the main goal of the proposed amendment is to legalize elective abortion at all 40 weeks of pregnancy. The amendment’s language that ensures no limitations is this: abortion after viability must always be permitted “if necessary to protect the health of the patient.” “Health” has been defined and interpreted by the courts to include psychological or emotional and other factors. Moreover, the “health care provider” making the determination can be any employee of the abortion facility, from the abortionist to the receptionist.

Contrary to what most people may believe, the the majority second and third trimester abortions are elective – performed on healthy babies of healthy mothers. In fact, the most common reason given for late-term abortions is simply a delay in decision-making. But the last term of abortion involves a strange and terrible truth: science indicates that fetuses feel the pain of separation involved in abortion early on. 14 weeks. If you doubt this, do a little research on fetal analgesia during fetal surgery. You can be sure that no doctor would operate on a 15-week-old fetus without first anesthetizing him properly. The sheer barbarity of second and third trimester abortions cannot be overstated.

Abortions, whether chemical or surgical, first or third trimester, have enormous medical, social, and ethical implications. It is clear that for the baby who lost his life, sometimes it is quite painful, but also for the mother, who undergoes a psychologically costly and physically risky procedure. If, and when, the man in the blue vest approaches you as you go about your daily business, refuse to sign. Florida women, and Florida babies, deserve better.

LifeNews Note: Grazie Pozo Christie, MD, is a Senior Fellow for The Catholic Association and host of a nationally syndicated radio show Conversations That Have Fruit. He practices radiology in the Miami area, where he lives with his wife and five children. This column originally appeared in Townhall.

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