Wednesday, September 20, 2006

...and here's the response from reproductive rights opponents: oncologists don't know SHIT about cancer.

Supporters of the abortion ban issued a press release in response to Dr. Maria Bell's talk last night. Let's go over a few of these points, shall we?

Bell, in error, stated that women would be denied medical options to treat illnesses such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Dr. Jane Gaetz, a Sioux Falls obstetrician-gynecologist, disagrees. She says: “Referred Law 6 enables me to recommend full treatment to women with serious medical conditions, even if doing so results in the miscarriage of pregnancy. I am in full compliance with the law so long as I don’t intentionally abort the child.”


Here's the problem - which Gaetz, NOT an oncologist, might not understand: Radiation kills fetuses. There is no way that a doctor can prescribe radiation treatment to a pregnant woman without knowing that the treatment will result in the death of the fetus. And that knowledge would make prescribing such treatment intentional abortion.

According to Bell, 1 in every 1,000 to 1,500 women who gives birth is affected by cancer during pregnancy. Gaetz says that the figure takes into account all cancers, even non-invasive types. “Every cancer is not a death sentence,” she adds.


Bell did not claim that every cancer was invasive. She simply stated that these births were "complicated by cancer" (a direct quote, from my notes).

Bell stated that five to ten percent of abortions are performed in response to extreme medical circumstances. However, South Dakota Department of Health figures show that only 2.3 percent of in-state abortions were performed in 2004 for such reasons.


The question - which was asked by a member of the group issuing this misleading press release - was what percentage of ALL abortions would be for such reasons. The questioner did not ask about in-state abortions.

Dr. Bell falsely stated that South Dakota doctors who referred women to out-of-state abortionists could be convicted. Referred Law 6 would only penalize doctors who intentionally perform abortions within the state.


Well, here's the relevant section of the ban:
Section 2. That chapter 22-17 be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:

No person may knowingly administer to, prescribe for, or procure for, or sell to any pregnant woman any medicine, drug, or other substance with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of the life of an unborn human being. No person may knowingly use or employ any instrument or procedure upon a pregnant woman with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of the life of an unborn human being.

Any violation of this section is a Class 5 felony.


Referring a pregnant woman to a doctor for cancer treatment that would cause the death of the fetus falls into the above categories, in my opinion. That would be prescribing or procuring a substance that would cause termination of the pregnancy.

And, finally, here's my favorite quote from the Vote Yes for Life press release:

“In 33 years of practice I’ve never come across a case in which the woman needed an abortion,” Gaetz said.


Well, right. Because when a pregnant woman is diagnosed with cancer, she quite naturally would go to someone who is NOT an oncologist for treatment. (I think specialists in cancers and other potentially fatal diseases of women in pregnancy would be just a bit more able to judge, don't you?)

1 comment:

Kate said...

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