Analysis

Doctors blur the line between health care and abortion in article lamenting Texas Heartbeat Act

pregnancy center, heartbeat, pregnant, ultrasound

A recent New York Times article contained misleading information about SB 8, a Texas bill that restricts almost all abortions once a preborn child’s heartbeat becomes detectable. 

The article featured quotes from several doctors who blurred the line between legitimate medical care and abortion to make it seem like the Texas law threatens women’s health. It should be noted, however, that women’s bodies are designed to carry a baby to term. If a serious medical issue arises, there are treatments that do not involve deliberately ending the child’s life. 

Abortion destroys a life that would have continued to develop on its own had there been no intervention. It is not health care, and abortion would not have helped the women in these scenarios like the doctors featured in this article claimed. 

Abortion Is Not Necessary In Adverse Prenatal Diagnosis Cases

The article opened with Dr. Andrea Palmer recalling a patient whose preborn child was diagnosed with a “neural tube defect,” presenting the story in a way that insinuated abortion is the only option in adverse prenatal diagnosis cases. Based on Palmer’s description, it seems the baby was diagnosed with anencephaly, a condition in which parts of the child’s brain and skull fail to develop. 

Palmer referred to such babies and the mothers carrying them as “ticking time bombs,” neglecting to mention life-affirming options such as perinatal hospice and palliative care. As a doctor, Palmer should know that healthy babies are not the only children deserving of protection. Even if a baby is expected to die shortly after birth, that child still deserves to live the life they were meant to have for as long as possible.

 An adverse prenatal diagnosis does not lessen the duty of doctors like Palmer to care for their most vulnerable patients. 

Instead of pushing abortion in such cases, doctors should help parents carry pregnancies to term so their children can pass away naturally and with the dignity of human beings. While the death of one’s child is painful, no matter the circumstances, dehumanizing sick babies and acting as if parents have no choice but to abort them is not compassionate. 

Doctors must do better than offering abortion as a supposed remedy to child loss. 

Emergency Pregnancy Situations Require Legitimate Health Care, Not Abortion 

Dr. John Thoppil, an obstetrician and president of the Texas Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, insinuated SB 8 endangered a patient of his who became pregnant while using an intrauterine device (IUD). An IUD is a long-lasting form of birth control that purports to prevent pregnancy for up to several years. 

However, some women have become pregnant while using IUDs, placing them at an increased risk of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, vaginal bleeding, placental abruption, and premature delivery. 

According to Thoppil, his patient’s menstruation cycles were irregular due to the IUD, meaning she did not learn about the pregnancy until she was beyond six weeks. While Thoppil is right that his patient needed medical attention, the obstetrician strangely tried to use this case as proof of why women need abortion for health-related reasons. 

“You can’t even mention what someone’s choices would be, because of fear that talking about options would be considered aiding and abetting someone getting an abortion,” he said.

READ: Texas abortionist denies brutality of abortion, claims it is ‘a blessing’ and ‘act of love’

Thoppil claimed that, because of the Texas Heartbeat Bill, he could not counsel the woman about terminating her pregnancy. But regardless of the law and whether his patient was abortion-minded, Thoppil would still have to remove the IUD to prevent further health complications. 

As WebMD and even Planned Parenthood note, in the rare instances that a woman becomes pregnant while using an IUD, the standard procedure is to remove it. Why Thoppil believes SB 8 interferes with his ability to treat his patient is unclear, as a doctor must take the IUD out, an intervention that has nothing to do with abortion.

An abortion deliberately targets a preborn child for destruction. If a baby is indirectly killed by a doctor removing the IUD, this is not the same thing as an abortion, as the intention was to correct a problem, not kill the child. 

This effort to confuse people about abortion and what constitues as medical care was also evident in Dr. Ghazaleh Moayed’s claims. As the article noted, the OB/GYN also works as an abortionist in the state of Texas. Moayed claimed that SB 8 prevents her from knowing when she can intervene if a woman  experiences heavy bleeding after suffering a spontaneous miscarriage, but the preborn child’s heartbeat remains detectable.  

“Every OB-GYN has cared for someone who has died from a hemorrhage,” she said. “If someone is hemorrhaging while miscarrying, how long do I have to wait?”

First, the law makes a clear distinction between abortion and a natural pregnancy loss. If Moayed cannot tell the difference between abortion and miscarriage — not to mention, if she also has trouble understanding that hemorrhaging constitutes an emergency — then she has no right to provide care to any woman. 

In addition, it is downright despicable for Moayed to exploit the tragedy of a miscarriage to advocate for abortion. 

People need to trust that medical professionals will provide them with accurate information, not use their positions to scare the public into believing abortion is a standard part of women’s health care. 

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