State Mandated Abortion Ultrasound

State Mandated Abortion Ultrasound

If the barrage of fundraising letters I am getting is any indication, there are a number of serious issues facing the pro-choice movement these days.  Battles are raging in just about every state legislature and every solicitation for money (do they ever write to us to just tell us how things are going?) has a common theme, which is access to abortion services are being restricted.

Whether or not requiring a woman to get an ultrasound before an abortion restricts her access to abortion is a question that I cannot answer at this time.  We’ll just have to wait and see.  But it is no secret that the number of abortion providers/abortion clinics has decreased over the years.  Of course, part of the reason why there are fewer abortion clinics is that the number of abortions has declined and an abortion clinic, like any other business, has to have a certain number of patients to pay the rent, buy supplies, pay staff, etc.   If the number of people using the facility decreases, that facility may be forced to close.  Indeed, in the ideal world, there would be no abortion facilities, right?

State Mandated Abortion Ultrasound

State Mandated Abortion Ultrasound

One thing that has always intrigued me when we talk about access to abortion is how our pro-choice friends bemoan the fact that fewer hospitals are performing abortions.  Well, I gotta tell you that if I were counseling a woman right now, I would tell her stay as far away as possible from any hospital if she was looking for an abortion.  Let me explain.

Abortion is a specialized form of medicine.  It’s not like going to your local orthopedic surgeon to get a lipoma removed.   In that case, you have your quick first meeting, the doc tells you it should be removed, you make your co-pay and you schedule the outpatient surgery.  Two weeks later, the lipoma is gone.  Wham bam, thank you ma’am.

GOP war on Birth Control

GOP war on Birth Control

Even though the surgery is just as simple as having a lipoma removed, a woman seeking an abortion has a lot more to deal with – as do the staff at the abortion clinic.  With variations on the theme, the women receive counseling about the abortion procedure, possible post abortion reactions and they may even delve into other more personal issues if the woman is so inclined.  Then they discuss forms of birth control that the woman might use to prevent her from coming back.  Of course, the patient might also have to deal with the possibility of anti-abortion picketers outside the facility and the stress that that might add to an already stressful situation.   If a woman has received the abortion pill, the staff is on call for the woman through that multi-day process.

Legislator's State of Misogyny

Legislator's State of Misogyny

So, abortion clinic staff and their doctors are used to dealing with women not just from the physical side but the emotional side.  There is even an organization – the National Abortion Federation – that hosts annual meetings where abortion doctors discuss the provision of abortion of abortion services and how to make the experience a more comfortable one for the woman.

Now, think about your last visit to a hospital.   Not very warm and fuzzy, wouldn’t you say?

And if you went in there for an abortion – assuming you found a hospital that does them – you would not be entering a comforting environment.  You surely would not receive any counseling about the procedure, no discussions about how to avoid an abortion in the future, no advice on birth control.  Even worse, you might be working with some staff people who are actually anti-abortion.  Yes, there are conscience clauses out there, but you always run the risk of getting a nurse who is pro-life, so you know they are not going to sit there and hold your hand during the procedure.  The only advantage to going to a hospital might be that there would be no protestors and you’d be in a big waiting room with others and no one would know why you are there.

But I would prefer to go to a place where there are experienced staff people who have dealt with the abortion issue from all angles – the medial and the emotional – than going into a sterile hospital where you’re basically on your own.  .

The average price for an abortion at an abortion clinic is about $350.  Believe me, it’s worth it.