The pro-life group And Then There Were None sponsored a webcast in which a former abortion worker explained how her abortion facility broke the law requiring waiting periods before abortion. In North Carolina, women must be given certain information, including information about abortion’s risks and abortion alternatives, and then wait 72 hours before having an abortion. The information may be given over the phone, but the caller is required to wait before coming in for an abortion. The former abortion worker’s facility broke that law. The former worker said:
Often times what would happen was patients would come in and say, “Oh, yeah, I did speak with someone. I don’t have my paperwork and we wouldn’t have their paperwork, but my regional director would say something to the effect of, “Well, can you show me in your cell phone where you had a phone call from a private number? Or show me in your cell phone where you have a phone call from an unlisted number or a 1-800 number, and we’ll just say that that was the phone call, and we just forgot to put it in the system.
So often times, we really didn’t have 72-hour informed consent, but we would still go ahead and see the patient.
Any woman can find a random phone number on her phone to show the abortion facility. The farce allowed women who had never heard the information to have abortions immediately and evade the regulation. The worker also said:
There were even other times where the patient was truly adamant that she really wanted to have her abortion, if she came from far away, traveled a far distance and had a hotel room, there were many instances where we knew – we were not directly told to do this, but what we were told was, the number of abortion patients that we say that day is the number of 72 hour consents you should have at the end of the business day.
So basically, without saying it we were being told to forge, that we saw 35 patients, but we only had 30 consents, you need to make up those other five so you would have the correct number at the end of the day.
The abortion workers were the ones who filled out the paperwork. There was no oversight of any kind, and no one else was in the facility to see what was happening. The abortion workers could write anything they wanted in the records. No outside agency looking at the records would be able to tell the information was false. With no oversight, the facility had little to no chance of being caught. The worker does not reveal how many women skipped the waiting period. One can imagine that the number might be quite high. Do other abortion facilities do the same thing? We have no way of knowing. But there is nothing stopping them.
Is it possible some of these women might have changed their minds if they had waited another 72 hours? Waiting periods have saved babies’ lives. Live Action News recently covered the story of a woman pregnant with a baby who had Down syndrome. This mother was determined to abort. When the abortion facility called and told her she had to wait a few days because of a scheduling conflict, she responded with tears and anger — but on the day she was scheduled to abort, she reconsidered and decided to have the baby. Later, she was very grateful for her son.
There is also evidence that waiting periods save women’s lives.
One study found that the suicide rate among post-abortive women is 6 to 7 times higher than average. A study in the Health Matrix: Journal of Law-Medicine found that in states with abortion waiting periods, the suicide rate was 10% lower among women of childbearing age. When they adjusted for other factors, they found that waiting periods lowered the suicide rate among women of childbearing age by 30%. The Journal’s authors said:
It would appear as though waiting periods (and the counseling that usually accompanies them) induce a more reasoned approach to the abortion decision, avoiding rash decisions on the part of the pregnant women. Better decision-making processes presumably lead to fewer regrets later on, lowering the incidence of depression and, ultimately, suicide. These results suggest mandatory waiting periods represent public policies that generate large welfare gains for women faced with unwanted pregnancies.
Though abortion waiting periods save lives, abortion facilities make no money if women change their minds; therefore, these facilities have a vested interest in avoiding these laws.