New Jersey's Problem Abortion Center Hadn't Been Inspected in Six Years; NEW! May be Sold to Another Abortionist
Bangladesh Woman Found Dead After Botched Legal Abortion
More than Negligence: Lawsuit Charges Wrongful Death and Medical Malpractice
Physicians Condemn Prenatal Sex Selection and State-Sponsored Promotion of Abortion
Parliamentarian Attacks New EU Report that Promotes Abortion
Partial-Birth Abortion: The Fact-Finding Continues
Louisiana Partial-Birth Abortion Bill: Testimony & Signature
Abortion on Demand Law Goes into Effect in Portugal
Ohio State Budget Contains Funds for Abortion Alternative Program for College Students
Missouri Governor Matt Blunt Signs Bill Limiting Abortions, Promoting Alternatives
NEW! India Government Plans New Abortion Registry to Reduce Number of Illegal Abortions
Congressman Calls for Investigation Into Abortion Drug
Pro-Life Group Warns That Prenatal Testing Has Abortion Concerns...
NEW JERSEY'S PROBLEM ABORTION SITE HAD NOT BEEN INSPECTED IN 6 YEARS. State health inspectors hadn't inspected an Atlantic City abortion business that has been found to have multiple health code violations in six years. That's despite a promise by state health officials to conducted inspections once every two years.
The problems at the Alternatives abortion center were so profound that state officials closed the abortion facility the week after last. Tom Slater, a spokesman for the state's Department of Health and Human Services, said the state has been unable to keep up with inspections because of a shortage of staff and growth of abortion facilities throughout New Jersey. The Alternatives abortion center, located on the 1600 block of Pacific Avenue, is owned by City Councilman John Schultz, who also was notified of the closing last week.
New Jersey Right to Life Executive Director Marie Tasy said the lack of inspections is a problem. "Although this is the second abortion clinic to be shut down in the last four months for health violations, the real story here is that the NJ Department of Health has been derelict in its duty to protect the public health of NJ citizens because it has not inspected this clinic in at least six years and only did so when they were contacted through an anonymous complaint," she said.
Metropolitan Medical Clinic in Englewood was shut down for about a month last February after Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, NJ filed a complaint about a patient who almost died as a result of an abortion performed at Metropolitan. Twenty year old, Rasheedah Dinkins, was given blood transfusions after severe hemorrhaging and also had to have her uterus removed. She also suffered a stroke due to serious blood loss and had one of her lungs collapse. "This is a sad commentary on our state of affairs and our public officials who claim to be advocates for 'women's rights,'" Tasy commented. [LifeNews.com, 2July07, Atlantic City, NJ]
NJ ABORTION BUSINESS MAY BE SOLD TO ANOTHER ABORTIONIST. Pro-life advocates in New Jersey are upset by the potential sale of an embattled abortion business to an abortion practitioner who has had significant malpractice issues. Dr. Steven Chase Brigham says he plans to by the Alternatives abortion center in Atlantic City, which the state health department recently closed down after an investigation revealed health code violations.
But Brigham has violations of his own and botched abortions and substandard medical treatment let him to lose his license in New York and Florida. And, in 1994, New Jersey restricted him from doing second-trimester abortions after allegations of gross negligence. He recently told the Press newspaper that he had begun the process of purchasing the abortion business and paying its employees before health officials temporarily closed it down on June 22. Yet Alan Kline, a spokesman for the current owner claims the abortion facility is not for sale and state officials say they have not received an application for the sale of Alternatives.
Still, pro-life advocates say the process of an abortion practitioner who has put women at risk running Alternatives presents real concerns. Ironically the state appointed Kline to oversee Brigham’s abortions 13 years ago when he ran into trouble with health officials. Chris Slattery, president of Expectant Mother Care, a New York-based group with pregnancy centers in New Jersey, talked with AP about his concerns. “Our main focus is to block this Brigham sale,” he said. "He has clearly shown a contempt for women's health." [18July07, Atlantic City, NJ LifeNews.com]
BANGLADESH WOMAN FOUND DEAD AFTER BOTCHED LEGAL ABORTION. An unidentified 25 year-old woman was found dead at the residence of a transport businessman at Mohammadpur in the city on Sunday. She died due to excessive bleeding following an abortion, Dhaka Medical College (DMC) morgue sources told the Daily Star newspaper. Police recovered her body from the residence of Nazrul Islam, a transport businessman, at Mohammadia Housing Limited. Later police sent the body to the DMC morgue for autopsy. Sub-Inspector Abdul Bari told The Daily Star that although her identity could not be known, they heard locals used to call her 'Moni' and that she worked as a maid in the community. Bari said Moni went to the house of Nazrul to work for him shortly before her death. [2July07, LifeNews.com, Dhaka, Bangladesh]
MORE THAN NEGLIGENCE: LAWSUIT CHARGES WRONGFUL DEATH AND MEDICAL MALPRACTICE against Planned Parenthood of Riverside.
A lawsuit filed in Riverside County Superior Court on Tuesday charges that an abortion procedure performed on a patient at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Riverside led to a virulent infection that caused her death.
Aletheia Meloncon filed the suit on behalf of her daughter, Edrica Goode, charging wrongful death and medical malpractice against Planned Parenthood and the Riverside County Regional Medical Center in Moreno Valley.
Goode, 21, was 14 weeks pregnant when she went to Planned Parenthood on Jan. 31 for a procedure preparatory to recei
ving an abortion. According to the lawsuit, a nurse practitioner, K. Sorenson, inserted cervical dilators into Goode to dilate her cervix in preparation for a second-trimseter abortion, even though Sorenson had indications that Goode had a vaginal infection. The dilators, says the lawsuit, became the means by which the infection spread to the rest of Goode’s body. The next day, Goode was too ill to return for the abortion.
According to the June 21 Los Angeles Times, Goode’s patient profile says Planned Parenthood mailed two letters to Goode, saying the dilators needed to be taken out. But, says Meloncon, Goode’s family never received the letters. According to the June 20 Riverside Press Enterprise, Planned Parenthood employees called Goode, but she was too ill to respond.
Goode was taken to the Riverside County Regional Medical Center on Feb. 4. She was “confused and disoriented,” Meloncon told the Times. Hospital staff, says Meloncon, did not perform a pelvic examination that would have revealed the dilators because Goode was not coherent enough to request it and the hospital wouldn’t allow Meloncon to make decisions for her daughter.
According to the Press Enterprise, Meloncon said that doctors and relatives didn’t know that Goode had gone to Planned Parenthood for an abortion until eight days after she entered the hospital. After four days, said a June 20 WorldNetDaily story, the hospital transferred Goode to a psychiatric unit, which ordered her return to the hospital to be examined for infections and sepsis. The hospital then, after several days, found and removed the dilators, but by that time the infection was too far advanced. Goode died on Feb. 14 of toxic shock syndrome.
"Any health care provider in California is required to make a report to [the state] about any unusual occurrences,” Melancon’s attorney Jack Schuler told WorldNetDaily. “This is the third death of a Planned Parenthood patient within the last few years they haven't bothered to report. In fact, they were even cited by the California Department of Health for that failure, and agreed a few years ago to correct their manner of doing business. "I believe that takes it out of the area of negligence and into potential concealment," said Schuler.
[Published: June 22, 2007, CCD, http://calcatholic.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?id=f86b423e-4100-4603-a4a5-fc846f8a5a56]
PHYSICIANS CONDEMN PRENATAL SEX SELECTION AND STATE-SPONSORED PROMOTION OF ABORTION. Canadian Physicians for Life endorses the alarm of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada about sex selection blood test kits that could promote sex selection abortion as early as 6 weeks after conception.
Our society is defenseless against the abuse of this technology. We have adopted the custom of providing abortions for any reason or no reason at all, so there is no rational objection to providing abortions for abhorrent reasons. We are desperately insecure about recognizing good and rejecting bad decisions.
The only real defense of the unborn child is in the heart of the mother. The time has come, in this era of unsustainably low fertility and a growing recognition of the harm done by abortion, for the state to actively publicize the harm of abortion and actively promote families. The legal status of abortion does not have to change for many lives to be saved and many women to be encouraged through the great challenges of pregnancy. The promotion of abortion by misguided apostles of self-fulfillment should be recognized for what it is – really, really bad advice.
As usual, our politicians make a virtue of leading by following. But at some point our elected leaders may decide that, at the very least, the Canadian government should stop promoting misinformation supplied by abortion advocacy organizations that, in their zeal to promote unlimited access to publicly funded "abortion on demand," withhold important information about abortion's link to increased risk of future premature deliveries, infertility, chronic pelvic infections, future dangerous tubal pregnancies, breast cancer, depression, self-harm, and suicide.
Canadian Physicians for Life is an educational organization representing physicians who hold that reverence for every human life lies at the root of all medical tradition. Through the ages, this tradition has been expressed in the Oath of Hippocrates. It was rephrased in modern times in the Declaration of Geneva (1948), which says in part, “I will maintain the utmost respect for human life, from the time of conception; even under threat, I will not use my medical knowledge contrary to the laws of humanity.” [22June07, Will Johnston, MD, President, Canadian Physicians for Life, [email protected], Ottawa; Cheryl Eckstein, Compassionate Healthcare Network (CHN), www.chninternational.com/default.html. CHN is member of the World Federation of Doctors Who Respect Human Life (WFDWRHL) Dr. Karl Gunning, Pres.]
PARLIAMENTARIAN ATTACKS NEW EU REPORT THAT PROMOTES ABORTION: Charges EU Report has "a lot to do with controlling population figures in the third world". British Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Nirj Deva has slammed a new EU report on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Speaking in the European Parliament this week, Deva acknowledged the need for a progress report for achieving the largely non-controversial MDGs of reducing poverty and disease, and increasing access to education. Where Deva diverged from the report, which was later passed by the European Parliament, was the attempt by the authors to “insert a covert agenda of abortion promotion” within the text.
The introduction to the “MDGs at the Midway Point” report states that “saving women's lives means ensuring that they have universal to access to sexual reproductive health care and family planning” and that the EU “should continue to lead the way on sexual and reproductive health rights by maintaining levels of funding for the full range of (sexual and reproductive health and rights) services.”
Deva took issue with two paragraphs of the report and urged his fellow parliamentarians to vote against them. Paragraph 41 of the report urges the EU “to continue to be the vanguard of efforts to support sexual and reproductive health rights” and links maternal mortality, low contraceptive prevalence and high rates of unsafe abortion in sub-Saharan
Africa. Paragraph 42 of the report states the UN intends to adopt a new global target on “universal access to sexual and reproductive health.”
UN experts point out several problems with the two controversial paragraphs. First, the term “sexual and reproductive health rights” has never been included in any negotiated UN document. Even so, they point out that such “rights” language related to "reproductive health" has been misinterpreted by UN committees to include abortion. Second, according to a 2004 report issued by the pro-abortion UN Population Fund (UNFPA) the most important means of reducing maternal mortality is not access to contraceptives and legal abortion but the presence of skilled birth attendants and access to emergency obstetric care.
Paragraph 41, which says the UN is about to adopt a new global goal on reproductive health, contradicts the repeated assertions of UN radicals like UNFPA chief Thoraya Obaid that such a goal already exists. Contrary to Obaid’s statements, no such target currently exists and delegations such as the United States have spoken out in the General Assembly against any new targets, particularly in regards to reproductive health. Moreover, against the content of the new EU resolution, the UN General Assembly has no plans to initiate a new global goal in this area.
Speaking to the Friday Fax, Mr. Deva said, “This report in the European Parliament has very little to do with 'a woman's right to choose', and a lot to do with controlling population figures in the third world within what the 'West' feels is a manageable amount. It is clear that certain UN-backed and EU-backed non-governmental organizations which are heavily promoting abortion in the third world are more interested in culling people than in reducing the relatively far smaller figure of deaths through unsafe and illegal abortions."
[21June07, By Samantha Singson, New York, C-FAM; LifeSiteNews.com, 21June]
PARTIAL BIRTH ABORTION: THE FACT-FINDING CONTINUES
Dear ProLife Colleague:
You are familiar with the four editorials in the 24 May 07 NEJM. Here is our reply. Keep in mind that as the Editorialists defend the PBA, or D&X, (or, as ACOG more recently refers to it, the "intact variant of D&E) they are defending as "safe" an unstudied surgical procedure.
We find this inexcusable, especially for the physician editorialists. (One would not expect the lawyers to be conversant with this fact.)
If you can find a scientific data base for the safety of D&X, please share it with us. We are unable to locate such a data base.
AAPLOG reply to the NEW ENGLAND JOURNAL OF MEDICINE editorials:
Below is the American Association of ProLife Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG)
response to the 24 May 07 New England Journal of Medicine editorials which criticized
the Gonzalez v. Carhart Supreme Court decision allowed the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 to stand.
Forfeiting Our Scientific Rights
The New England Journal of Medicine recently published four opinion pieces from two
lawyers1,2 and two physicians3,4 all criticizing the recent Supreme Court decision in
Gonzalez v. Carhart, and all containing several errors of reason. In addition, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) had a significant role in the decision, and should be held accountable.
The editorials by the physicians primarily denounced the role of government in medicine. Dr. Fred Drazen wrote, "With this decision the Supreme Court has sanctioned the intrusion of legislation into the day-to-day practice of medicine."3
Dr. Drazen is in error when he suggests that government regulation has no place in the process of advocating for the best interests of a specific patient. When individual physicians practicing medicine and physician organizations relinquish their own scientific and moral responsibilities, and when informed consent is abrogated, then the government is well advised and expected to step in to rectify these shortcomings. The health and welfare of America's women and children, as well as the medical profession itself, depend on this.
When all three branches of government agree that a disservice to women and their almost born infants is being played out in America's physician offices and operating rooms, there is at least cause for concern. Reducing the decision of Gonzalez v. Carhart to merely an attack of government in people's personal affairs is a specious argument. Would Dr. Drazen and Greene also denounce the government for its role via the FDA on which drugs are available or which NIH trials are offered to a specific patient, or for Congress passing legislation outlawing female genital mutilation? Other regulatory governmental bodies exist for the general good in this democratic society.
Mr. Fred Annas, a lawyer, states in his editorial that "this is the first time the court has ever held that physicians can be prohibited from using a medical procedure deemed necessary by the physician to benefit a patient's health."2 To us, Mr. Annas's statement is a gross misrepresentation. He appears to be unaware of the lack of clinical indications for the PBA procedure. The joint ACOG/AMA statement on Partial Birth Abortion/D&X stated that they could identify NO clinical situation in which partial birth abortion would be the only procedure which could be used to save the life of a patient.5 Mr. Annas states that this procedure is "deemed necessary" by the physician to benefit a patient's health. How can a procedure be "deemed necessary' in the absence of clinical trial data demonstrating safety or efficacy?
Mr. Annas goes on to cite a faulty history of reproductive law in America.
He fails to acknowledge the important aspect of the combination of Roe v. Wade6 and Doe v. Bolton7, both issued simultaneously in 1973.
Roe and Doe removed the legislative process from the people, AND STRUCK DOWN LAWS AGAINST ABORTION IN OVER 40 STATES.
Roe made abortion legal throughout nine months of pregnancy for any reason whatsoever by means of the "health" exception, which was defined simultaneously in Doe. The Supreme Court in
Doe held that the word "health" should be defined by any physical, psychological, familial or age related aspect of the woman. Any subsequent incorporation of a "health exception" then reverts to the definition of "health" in Doe. Thus, a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Report issued June 1983 stated, "Thus, the [Judiciary] Committee observes that NO SIGNIFICANT LEGAL BARRIER OF ANY KIND WHATSOEVER exist today in the United States for a woman to obtain an abortion for any reason during ANY STAGE OF HER PREGNANCY."
The contention that an abortion regulation must contain a "health exception" if substantial medical authority supports the proposition that banning a particular procedure could endanger women's health is disingenuous. Readers recognize that a "health exception" as defined by Doe, is full license to perform the abortion for any reason at all.
However, physicians and women alike wo
uld be well-served to know that the Partial Birth Abortion/D&X procedure was developed by Dr. Martin Haskell (a family practitioner with no recognized gynecological surgical training), who reported his purpose for the procedure during an interview: a way to perform late term abortions in the abortion clinic [sic], and thus avoid hospitalization9 (with its subsequent accountability.)
This new procedure was introduced into the practice of medicine and surgery without informed consent being obtained from women, and without any research mechanism being introduced to study the procedure in the short or long term. After one or two physicians performed many of this kind of procedure, it was readily adopted by the abortion community without scientific inquiry.
Supreme Court Justice Ginsberg, in the opening remarks of her dissenting opinion, relies heavily on ACOG for her arguments, calling it "a procedure found necessary and proper in certain cases by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)." But, as stated in the AAPLOG Amicus for this case:
"The ACOG policy statement on D&X has no basis in empirical evidence and is not reliable. The ACOG `select panel' met for only two days to draft the organization's 1997 policy statement on D&X. The panel did not identify or examine any studies regarding the safety of D&X and other abortion methods. Any written materials were reviewed only for `issue spotting,' and the panel failed to discuss D&X with any other physicians. The panel then sent a draft statement to the ACOG executive board with the following conclusion: it could identify no circumstances under which [D&X] would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman. (emphasis added).
Without consulting the panel, the ACOG executive board unilaterally added the statement that D&X "may be the best or most appropriate procedure in a particular circumstance to save the life or preserve the health of a woman. . . . " The statement was never discussed or voted upon by ACOG's fellows or membership. Due to the executive board's unilateral addition of a statement unsupported by empirical evidence, the ACOG statement cannot be relied upon for the proposition that D&X is necessary for any maternal or fetal condition."10
Dr. Green erroneously argues that American physicians are being intimidated by the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. The Act contains specific language that safeguards abortionists who do not specifically intend to perform a partial birth abortion. The Supreme Court held that the Act was not vague, and the act does not have the effect of imposing an undue burden on the abortion right. The act does not prohibit established alternatives to the prohibited procedure, such as D&E and medical induction. The Act allows for the performance of a D&X if in fact this procedure is necessary to save the life of the mother.
Both the two physicians and two lawyers opted for their own opinions instead of rigorous scientific investigation in making their conclusions. ACOG and other medical
organizations did not take appropriate investigative action years ago to properly research and explore the risks and benefits of D&X through the scientific method. In a compliant pursuit of the pro-abortion agenda, was ACOG further compromising their scientific integrity by recently "renaming" D&X as "intact variant of D&E?"
Was this an attempt to legitimize D&X by associating it with the existing D&E data base? You can decide that for yourself.
So, the three branches of government acted. Now the medical community must comply.
This is the inevitable outcome when the medical community exchanges its scientific
integrity for political ideology. [19June2007, AAPLOG – THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATON OF
PROLIFE OBSTETRICIANS & GYNECOLOGISTS, www.aaplog.org]
LOUISIANA PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTION BILL: TESTIMONY
TESTIMONY REGARDING HB 25 (Crowe), Senate Health & Welfare Committee, 6/13 & 19/2007
Good Morning, Mr. Chairman, and Ladies and Gentlemen of the Committee!
My name is Dr. W. A. Krotoski; I am a physician and retired medical scientist, living in Louisiana since 1974, and in Baton Rouge since 1982. I represent The Hippocratic Resource, a Louisiana-wide organization of physicians and other health professionals who have committed to promoting medical truth and the principles of the Hippocratic Oath, the foundation of medical ethics. Although retired from active clinical practice, I continue to serve with several medical organizations, including on the medical research ethics board of Baton Rouge General Medical Center. I am testifying today in favor of Representative Crowe’s HB 25 for three basic reasons:
First – There is absolutely no rational, scientific, medical or ethical reason to think that the unborn child is anything but human from the moment of fertilization, and throughout his or her developmental period in the womb. This has been recognized since long before the advent of effective microscopy in the late 17th century, and modern advances have done nothing to dispel that concept. On the contrary, they have simply strengthened that awareness, as illustrated and fully supported by in vitro fertilization and DNA technologies, neither of which could function were that not so. The medical specialties of fetology and neonatology are also clear testimony that a physician attending a pregnant woman has responsibility for at least two patients – more, in the case of twins, triplets, etc.
Second – We now know more than we ever knew about human development in the womb. We know, for example, that development is a virtually seamless spectrum, one that we are able to divide only crudely into stages that medical science has had to name for purposes of communication and discussion. We know that some organ systems are developed only to produce others, then fade away when their jobs are done. We know that brain waves and heartbeat can be detected by the end of the 3rd week after fertilization, sometimes even before the mother recognizes that she has missed a menstrual period. We know also that, by the 20th week of gestation, an unborn child has the necessary physical structures to experience pain, and that he or she is able to react to stimuli outside the womb. These responses range from pushing back or kicking when pushed, to interaction with musical rhythms – among many other behaviors – in ways similar to those of an infant or even an adult. We also know that even at much earlier stages, this unborn child frantically avoids such noxious stimuli as a foreign object introduced into the womb, for instance a cutting suction catheter that is about to dismember him or her in the process of an abortion. We know the last to be so, because modern technologies – for instance real-time ultrasound videography – actually allow us to see that that is what happens. In short, we know by simple deduction that pain is a part of abortion, and that that pain is both severe and prolonged. Imagine if you will, someone amputating or tearing off a limb from your body without benefit of anesthesia – or burning off your mos
t delicate skin surface with a caustic salt solution! Frankly, we wouldn’t treat a pet that way – there are laws against cruelty to animals – and we wouldn’t even slaughter an animal for food without first making sure that it was dead or, at the very least, unconscious. Unfortunately, that is not what is done in the process of abortion. That is part of the gruesome reality of the business!
And finally, those who promote the freedom to choose will surely recognize that, to be genuinely free, a choice must be fully informed. This is also the essence of our medical and clinical standard – that of thoroughly informed consent being obtained from a patient or experimental subject before proceeding. In the case of children, of course, such informed consent must be obtained from a parent, usually the mother – who normally is instinctively protective of her child. And for many medical purposes, even the born child has to provide some degree of consent after being informed of what is to be done, in a way that he or she can understand. Of course, in the case of a child about to be aborted, there is no such thing as his or her informed consent. Nevertheless, before surgery on an unborn child in the womb – which is being done with increasing frequency due to the development of new technologies – anesthesia is given for those over 20 weeks of gestational age, because of the recognition that pain is produced by the stretching, cutting, suturing and other manipulations required. Given the large amount of misinformation that has been sown over the last generation about life and development in the womb – particularly by those promoting abortion – it is most important to provide truthful information to the primary guardian of that unborn child, i.e. to her or his mother, about what is going to be done. She has to be thoroughly informed about what is really going to happen to her growing, developing and maturing child. Written information about pain, and, even more, an obstetrical ultrasound (which is now so readily available that it comes in a portable version), are clearly in order. Only in this way can we ensure that the mother can make some degree of rational judgment and a reasoned decision about whether or not to kill this unquestionably human being inside her womb. We must also remember that abortion is severely harmful to a woman’s health. The rate of suicide among women who have had an abortion is at least six times that of women who have not, and other, physical damage can occur as well, including, among others things, retained parts of the child, uterine bleeding, bowel perforation, reduced- or infertility, and even death.
Therefore, Mr. Chairman and Committee Members, in the spirit of the right to know the genuine facts before making an informed decision, I urge your support and a favorable judgment on Representative Crowe’s HB 25, to tell the full truth to the mother who is deciding what to do with her unborn child. Thank you, also, for your attention to the addendum on the reverse of the written transcript of my testimony provided you!
W. A. Krotoski, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.
[Addendum appended to 6/13 & 19/2007 Testimony]
One of the more recent articles(1) on the subject of fetal pain – and one cited by opponents of this type of legislation to provide full, informed consent to a woman intent on abortion – appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association in January of 2005. Authored by an attorney with four physician co-authors, this article concluded that a fetus younger than 23 weeks of gestation could not feel pain, because the group was unable to identify visible microscopic nerve connections between thinking and pain-processing centers prior to that age. However, in follow-up published responses, this conclusion was roundly criticized, as hormonal stress levels can be observed in the human fetus as early as 18 weeks of age (2), and hormonal measures of pain stress show activity in the thinking parts of the brain much earlier than the 29-30 weeks proposed by the attorney’s article (3) for conscious pain. Two quotes from the critiques are in order here:
(A) Dr. Laura Myers and her three colleagues from the Children’s Hospital, Boston, asserted (4) that, although “[w]e do not know for certain [the full capacity of the fetus to feel pain] … we as clinicians should focus on methods to deliver effective anesthesia and analgesia safely. Better to err on the safe side from mid-gestation [18-20 weeks].” This group “routinely provide[s] anesthesia and analgesia to fetuses as early as 19 weeks gestation for certain [surgical] procedures.” Another,
(B) by Dr. Brian Sites of the Department of Anesthesiology at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire, cited the original articlei as “inaccurate and ethically disturbing,” indicating that those authors had chosen the upper (latest established) rather than the lower limit of brain connections identified, and that the fetus could be experiencing pain as early as 21 weeks (by data from that same study)(5) .
To reiterate, from a clinical point of view, it is “better to err on the safe side!”
1 S. Lee et al., JAMA. 294:947-954 (2005)
2 X. Giannakoulopoulos et al., Lancet 344:77-81 (1994)
3 R. Slater et al., J. Neuroscience 26:3662-3666 (2006)
4 L. Myers et al., JAMA. 295:159 (2006)
5 B. D. Sites, JAMA. 295:159-160 (2006)
[Addendum provided with 6/19/2007 Testimony]
Fetal pain perception and pain management, a review by Marc Van de Velde and others, published in Seminars in Fetal and Neonatal Medicine, v. 11, pp. 232-236 (2006).
“Fisk and co-workers … provided direct evidence that premature fetuses have hormonal and hemodynamic responses to invasive stimuli. They also showed that these responses can be blocked by analgesia.” “Thanks to Anand and co-workers, we know that preterm neonates have hormonal stress responses following invasive interventions. These hormonal responses can be prevented by analgesia.”
“Peripheral receptors develop from the seventh gestational week. From 20 weeks gestation, peripheral receptors are present on the whole body.” “Development of afferent fibers connecting peripheral receptors with [pain centers in the brain] starts at 8 weeks gestation.” “[Spinothalamic] connections start to develop from 14 weeks, and and are complete at 20 weeks gestation … thalamocortical connections are present from 17 weeks gestation, and completely developed at 26-30 weeks…. From 16 weeks gestation, pain transmission from a peripheral receptor to the cortex [consciousness centers] is possible, and certainly completely developed from 26 weeks …” “It is therefore safe to assume that the fetus feels more pain than the small infant.”
“Based on the data mentioned above, we can safely assume that the fetus reacts to painful stimuli from 24 weeks gestation and that it
is possible that this occurs from 16 weeks gestation.”
“Because fetal pain is a realistic problem, we must provide, or attempt to provide, adequate pain relief during every situation in which the unborn child might experience potentially painful stimuli.” “… successful analgesia in the fetus is achievable.”
“Several ways of administering analgesics to the fetus are available:
• transplacentally after maternal oral or [injection] administration; or
• directly to the fetus, using the intravenous, intramuscular, or intra-amniotic
“During open fetal surgery under maternal general anesthesia, inhalational agents are considered to provide adequate fetal anesthesia and produce uterine relaxation essential for successful surgery. So [under these circumstances] additional analgesia for the fetus is unnecessary.”
“Two possible routes of administration for these [opioids and muscle relaxants] drugs are injection into the umbilical cord and intramuscular injection into the fetus. A similar approach could be used for late termination of pregnancy: administration of analgesics directly intravenously before a lethal fetal injection of potassium chloride or lidocaine is administered.” “[M]aternally administered remifentanil [in low doses] produces effective maternal sedation and fetal immobilization through transplacental passage during these [endscopic] procedures.”
“Evidence is increasing that from the second trimester [13th – 14th week], the fetus reacts to painful stimuli and that these painful interventions might cause long-term effects. It is therefore recommended to provide adequate fetal pain relief during potentially painful procedures during in-utero life.”
• Fetal analgesia has to be provided as a routine during potential painful interventions.
• The fetal … [painful stress response] … system should be considered as functional from the beginning of the second trimester [13th – 14th week].”
TESTIMONY REGARDING HB 614 (Beard & Scalise)
(to ban/criminalize partial-birth abortion in Louisiana)
Senate Health & Welfare Committee, 6/13/07
Good Morning, Mr. Chairman and Committee Members!
My name is Dr. W.A. Krotoski; I am a physician and retired medical scientist, have lived in Louisiana since 1974, and in Baton Rouge since 1982. Currently, I serve on the Medical Research Ethics Board of Baton Rouge General Medical Center, and am representing The Hippocratic Resource, a Louisiana-wide organization of physicians and other health professionals who have committed to practicing and promoting the principles of the Hippocratic Oath, the foundation of medical ethics. I am testifying today in favor of Representatives Beard and Scalise’s HB 614 for several reasons:
First – There is absolutely no rational, scientific, medical or ethical reason to think that the unborn child is anything but human throughout his or her 9-month developmental period in the womb. This is fully supported by in vitro fertilization and DNA technologies, and by the relatively new medical specialty of fetal medicine that treats babies even before birth. Moreover obstetricians are taught that, when attending a pregnant woman, they have responsibility for two patients – or more, in the case of twins or triplets, etc. With all of this, the initial legalization of abortion at any stage was effected, simply said, through many deliberate misrepresentations of the biologic facts regarding early human life and its development in the womb. Many of the same, false reasons are still used to support it today.
Second – Partial-birth abortion involves the brutal killing of the child during delivery, while he or she is still in the birth canal. The procedure is so gruesome that I hesitate to describe it, but feel that I must, as delicately as possible, and with your permission. After manually turning the unborn child from his or her normal, head-over-heels delivery position in the womb, the abortionist grasps a foot, and begins the delivery in the breech/footling position; this is actually a more dangerous position for the mother. When the child is fully outside the womb, but with head still within the birth canal – literally inches from full delivery – the abortionist jams an instrument, usually surgical scissors, into the back of his or her head, and moves the points around to help destroy the physical integrity of the brain and kill the child. He or she then inserts a suction catheter through the hole, sucks out the brain, and finally delivers the dead body. Not surprisingly, the procedure was labeled “gruesome, brutal, barbaric, and uncivilized” by a federal judge in New York, and as “4/5 infanticide, 1/5 abortion,” by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, even before constitutional challenges to a federal ban on the procedure were overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court last April 18th. [I have provided verbatim copies of the Court’s findings on the back of this testimony].
Third – The partial-birth abortion procedure was declared “never necessary” by the American Medical Association, and is never justified to preserve a woman’s life or health. In fact, it can be distinctly harmful to the
mother, causing her significant health problems. The principal ones of these are trauma to the interior of the uterus, production of an incompetent cervix – with a resultant doubling of premature deliveries of babies conceived later – and a risk of severe bleeding. And these are in addition to all the other harmful consequences of abortion, which include both mental and physical problems, and even death. The suicide rate alone is at least 6 times greater in women who are aborted, compared to women who choose to deliver their babies alive.
Fourth, this type of procedure is clearly against the Hippocratic Oath, the basis of medical ethics. I would like to quote pertinent fragments from just two versions of that Oath:
The National Catholic Bioethics Center’s 1995 version stated
“I will maintain the utmost respect for every human life from fertilization to natural death, and reject abortion that deliberately takes a unique human life.”
The Louisiana Medical Society’s current version states:
“To please no one will I prescribe a deadly drug, nor give advice which may cause death. Nor will I give a woman a[n instrument] to produce abortion.”
In the case of partial-birth abortion, not only is the mother’s health put at risk, but the child being born is most brutally put to death by the procedure. This makes the licensed abortionist an unethical physician, at the very best.
Finally, due to poor abortion reporting in our state, it is unclear exactly how many are done by the partial-birth method. However, according to official Louisiana Department of Health and Hospital statistics, during the 4-year period from 2001 through 2004, 3,116 unborn children over 4 months of gestational age were aborted. Among these, 1,265 were over 5 months’ gestational age, i.e. after “quickening” or when the baby has started to kick, and when the partial-birth method becomes the most convenient for the abortionist to use
. A total of at least 1,037 late-term Louisiana children were aborted by the “Dilatation and Evacuation” or “D & E” procedure, of which one variant is partial-birth abortion. At current abortion prices at one abortion facility in Metairie, of $750 for a 16-17 week-old unborn child, through $1,680 for one over 23 weeks, it can be estimated that over $3,000,000 changed hands for these 3,116 deaths, of the order of $1,500,000 of which was for partial-birth abortion. This paid brutality should be completely unacceptable in our State!
On the basis of all the above, we thank you for your attention, and urge a strong vote in favor of HB 614.
W. A. Krotoski, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., Co-founder
The Hippocratic Resource, Baton Rouge, LA
What the U.S. Supreme Court banned is described in the following verbatim extracts from its Gonzales vs. Carhart decision of April 18, 2007:
“ In the usual intact D&E the fetus’ head lodges in the cervix, and dilation is insufficient to allow it to pass. … Haskell explained the next step as follows: “‘At this point, the right-handed surgeon slides the fingers of the left [hand] along the back of the fetus and “hooks” the shoulders of the fetus with the index and ring fingers (palm down). “‘While maintaining this tension, lifting the cervix and applying traction to the shoulders with the fingers of the left hand, the surgeon takes a pair of blunt curved Metzenbaum scissors in the right hand. He carefully advances the tip, curved down, along the spine and under his middle finger until he feels it contact the base of the skull under the tip of his middle finger.“‘[T]he surgeon then forces the scissors into the base of the skull or into the foramen magnum. Having safely entered the skull, he spreads the scissors to enlarge the opening. “‘The surgeon removes the scissors and introduces a suction catheter into this hole and evacuates the skull contents. With the catheter still in place, he applies traction to the fetus, removing it completely from the patient.’” H. R. Rep. No. 108–58, p. 3 (2003). The above is an abortion[ist’s]…clinical description.
Here is an immediately-following description from a nurse who witnessed the same method performed on a 26½-week fetus, and who testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee [also a verbatim excerpt from Gonzales vs. Carhart]:
“‘Dr. Haskell went in with forceps and grabbed the baby’s legs and pulled them down into the birth canal. Then he delivered the baby’s body and the arms—everything but the head. The doctor kept the head right inside the uterus…. “‘The baby’s little fingers were clasping and unclasping, and his little feet were kicking. Then the doctor stuck the scissors in the back of his head, and the baby’s arms jerked out, like a startle reaction, like a flinch, like a baby does when he thinks he is going to fall. “‘The doctor opened up the scissors, stuck a high-powered suction tube into the opening, and sucked the baby’s brains out. Now the baby went completely limp…. “‘He cut the umbilical cord and delivered the placenta. He threw the baby in a pan, along with the placenta and the instruments he had just used.’”
On 13July07, Governor Kathleen Blanco approved legislation that makes Louisiana the first state to outlaw partial birth abortion since the U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold a federal ban in April.
The new law criminalizes this procedure in all cases except to preserve the life of the mother. Doctors who practice partial birth abortion can be fined between $1000 and $10,000, and face prison terms of 1-10 years. The legislation, which was passed overwhelmingly by Louisiana lawmakers, strengthens the federal protection and sets a precedent for other states to follow. Other states are expected to follow suit. [FRC, 16July07]
ABORTION ON DEMAND LAW GOES INTO EFFECT IN PORTUGAL: Estimated that up to 80% of doctors in some hospitals may refuse to participate. On Sunday July 15 a law came into effect in predominantly Catholic Portugal allowing abortion up to the tenth week of pregnancy. After a mandatory three-day "cooling" period, abortion is available on demand in hospitals.
The law maintains a few minor restrictions, including the three-day waiting period. Before procuring an abortion, the International Herald-Tribune reports, the expectant mother must first talk to a doctor who will explain the health risks of abortion. According to the new law, she must then wait an additional three days before having the operation. After an abortion, women are required to attend a government session on contraception education.
Doctors are allowed to refrain from performing an abortion on the grounds of conscience. According to the Herald-Tribune, it is estimated that up to 80% of doctors in some hospitals may refuse.
Under the previous law-one of the strictest in the EU-abortion was only legal up to twelve weeks gestation if the life or health of the mother was in danger, or in cases of rape or fetal abnormality.
For the past decade, the Socialist party-which now holds the government majority-has been pushing to loosen the abortion restrictions in Portugal. This March, the new Socialist Party succeeded in introducing the abortion bill jointly with the Communist Party, the Left Block and the Green Party.
President Anibal Cavaco Silva tried to block the new legislation and introduced measures that would discourage a woman from having an abortion, such as showing her an ultrasound picture of her baby and offering adoption information. Although these were not officially accepted, Silva nevertheless ratified the new legislation in April.
In 1998 there was a national referendum that showed that the majority of people were against loosening abortion restrictions. The results were declared invalid, however, because only 30% of the population turned out to vote. During a similar referendum in February of this year, the vote was in favor of abortion. Once again, less than half of the population voted. Nevertheless, Socialist Prime Minister Jose Socrates declared that he would accept the results as valid (http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2007/feb/07021207.html).
Related: Portugal Abortion Bill Approved by Legislative Committee
Portugal Legalizes Abortion as President Silva Approves Legislation
Portugal Offers Free Abortions for Women Followed by Mandatory Education on Contraception
[LISBON, 16July2007 LifeSiteNews.com, E. O'Bri
OH STATE BUDGET CONTAINS FUNDS FOR ABORTION ALTERNATIVE PROGRAM FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS. The new Ohio state budget the legislature there is working on contains a new abortion alternatives program for pregnant and parenting students in college. It has the support of pro-life groups who hope to provide financial, pregnancy and other resources for the age group of people who most often have abortions. The pilot program to provide support services was included in the budget bill Ohio Governor Ted Strickland signed on June 30. The budget provision would appropriate $50,000 in Fiscal Year 2009 for the Ohio Department of Health to make a grant or grants to up to four Ohio colleges to help establish an office to support pregnant and parenting students. The pilot program was added to the budget in the Ohio House as the result of efforts led by Rep. Shannon Jones, a Republican lawmaker. The program to encourage colleges to establish offices to assist pregnant and parenting students was one of the key items on Ohio Right to Life’s legislative agenda for the current session of the Ohio General Assembly. “Many pregnant college students choose abortion because they feel that their only other option is to drop out of school. They are often not aware of all of the support services that are available from various providers both on and off campus,” the group told LifeNews.com in a statement. “The pregnant and parenting student services office would help to remedy this problem.” Under the requirements of the bill, the on-campus pregnant and parenting student office would assess the college’s performance in offering student health insurance that includes coverage for prenatal and postpartum care and riders for children, and provide assistance in locating services or items that are available both on and off campus to meet the needs of pregnant and parenting students, including family housing, child care; flexible or alternative academic scheduling; education concerning responsible parenting and healthy marriages; maternity and baby clothing, baby food, and baby furniture. “We are pleased that the Ohio General Assembly has taken this positive step to help college students make the choice for life,” ORTL director Denise Mackura concluded. [10July07, Columbus, OH LifeNews.com]
MO GOV BLUNT SIGNS BILL LIMITING ABORTIONS, PROMOTING ALTERNATIVES. Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt on 6July07 signed a bill into law supported by pro-life advocates that would help reduce the number of abortions there. The governor made no secret about his support for the bill as he traversed the state to ceremonially sign it in four different signing ceremonies. The measure, HB 1055, prohibits public and charter schools from allowing abortion businesses like Planned Parenthood to instruct students in sexual education courses. The bill also establishes the alternatives to abortion program the state annually funds as a permanent program under state law and authorizes greater advertising and promotion of it. The most far-reaching aspect of the bill may be the abortion center regulations that are included in it, which some abortion businesses say could cost them so much in repairs and refurbishments that they may be forced to shut down. The bill mandates that any outpatient facility that performs or induces second or third trimester abortions or that does five or more first trimester abortions each year must meet rigorous health and safety standards. They are the same standards that legitimate ambulatory surgical centers must meet under state law. [10July07, Jefferson City, LifeNews.com]
INDIA GOV'T PLANS NEW ABORTION REGISTRY TO REDUCE NUMBER OF ILLEGAL ABORTIONS. The government of India is planning to begin to a new registry for women having abortions in order to reduce the rampant number of sex-selection abortions occurring there. The idea is to help make it more difficult for women or couples with girl unborn children to have abortions.
Cultural preferences in the Asian nation strongly favor male children and some regions of the country have seen their male-female ratios skewed towards boys because of infanticides and sex-selection abortions. It has resulted in higher crime and a society of bachelors who are having a more difficult time finding mates — which leads to increased levels of prostitution, kidnapping and sexual slavery.
Experts say that sex-selective abortions are responsible for the number of girls per 1,000 boys slipping from 945 in 1991 to 927 in 2001. Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury told The Hindustan Times about the new policy. Abortions have been legal in India since 1971 and were allowed as a means of curing population growth in the second most populated nation in the world. Because of the cultural preferences, an industry of black market ultrasounds has sprung up where parents illegally find out the gender of their baby and have an abortion if the test reveals a girl baby. The government has also provided safe havens for parents to leave newborn girls to save them from infanticides. Abortion advocates decried the new policy as an invasion of women's privacy despite its goals. [15July07, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/15/world/asia/15india.html?pagewanted=print; 16July07, New Deli, India LifeNews.com]
CONGRESSMAN CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION INTO ABORTION DRUG RU486. The top representative who heads up the caucus for pro-life lawmakers in Congress says he’s calling for an investigation into the dangerous abortion drug RU 486. Rep. Chris Smith [R-NJ] pointed to the harmful effects the abortion pill has had on women, with thousands saying they had health problems or needed hospitalization after using the abortion drug and at least six women losing their lives because of it.
Smith wrote to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requesting an investigation into the production, distribution and adverse event reporting related to this highly controversial drug. Smith's letter to HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt and FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach sites the reports of numerous tainted, unsafe products coming into the U.S. from China and notes that RU 486 is also manufactured there. Smith said it is hypocritical that consumer warnings have been issued regarding toy trains, defective tires, and deadly pet food but more action has not been taken against the abortion drug since the agency’s black box warning label change, even though problems continue.
The congressman said it is concerning that the Chinese manufacturer of RU 486 failed at least one FDA safety inspection. “I hope the FDA will launch a new thorough investigation into RU 486 in light of the new concerns with the safety of Chinese products,” Smith wrote. “At least a half dozen American women have lost their lives to this Chinese export.” The letter also documents the history of problems that the manufacturer of RU-486 has had in terms of its history of violating U.S. regulations and the rushed FDA approval process that has led to adverse effects the health of women who have used RU 486. [13July07, Washington, DC LifeNews.com]
PRO-LIFE GROUP WARNS MEMBERS PRENATAL TESTING HAS ABORTION CONCERNS. Prenatal testing, whereby tests are performed in utero to verify the health of the child, is now considered standard prenatal care. Unborn children have been screened in the womb for Down Syndrome in women over 35 for many years. However, just this year, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologis
ts has started to recommend that doctors perform a new screening procedure on all pregnant women, regardless of age. These tests raise the question of what would happen if a family finds that their child does have Down Syndrome or other disabilities. One pro-life group is warning its members that such tests can often lead to pressure from doctors to have an abortion. “Once the test determines that a woman is carrying a child with Down Syndrome, doctors often do not know how to relay that information,” Texas Right to Life warned its membership in a recent email. “Women report a high level of dissatisfaction. Many parents of children with Down Syndrome share stories of doctors starting with ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘I have bad news.’”
The group described how one woman who decided she would continue her pregnancy spoke of her doctor reminding her that she could still undergo a late-term abortion if the ultrasound indicated that the baby would need heart surgery (as many infants with Down Syndrome do within the first year of birth). “Unfortunately, many families who find that they have a child who is “imperfect” choose to end that baby’s life through abortion,” the group adds.
“About 90% of parents who find that their child has Down Syndrome choose to abort that child. A parent’s subjective view of the child’s quality of life, often coupled with pressure from the medical community, becomes the determining factor for whether that child is allowed to live.
Prenatal diagnosis is not a perfect science, and many times, unborn children thought to be disabled are born without medical complications or disabilities. This new blanket testing for Down Syndrome, coupled with the extremely high rate of abortion for babies with Down Syndrome, means that these children will likely grow up in a world with few people who are like them. There are currently about 350,000 people with Down syndrome. With a diminishing population, many parents are concerned that there will be less institutional support and reduced funds for medical research.” The group encourages pro-life parents of disabled children to get involved with support groups and to encourage others in their community to have a greater respect for the lives of children with Down Syndrome. [13July07, Houston, TX (LifeNews.com]