View Full Version : A Bush Enforced Abortion

Gayle in MD
06-04-2006, 05:44 AM
What Happens When There Is No Plan B?,,Washington Post...

By Dana L.
Sunday, June 4, 2006; B01

The conservative politics of the Bush administration forced me to have an abortion I didn't want. Well, not literally, but let me explain.

I am a 42-year-old happily married mother of two elementary-schoolers. My husband and I both work, and like many couples, we're starved for time together. One Thursday evening this past March, we managed to snag some rare couple time and, in a sudden rush of passion, I failed to insert my diaphragm.

The next morning, after getting my kids off to school, I called my ob/gyn to get a prescription for Plan B, the emergency contraceptive pill that can prevent a pregnancy -- but only if taken within 72 hours of intercourse. As we're both in our forties, my husband and I had considered our family complete, and we weren't planning to have another child, which is why, as a rule, we use contraception. I wanted to make sure that our momentary lapse didn't result in a pregnancy.

The receptionist, however, informed me that my doctor did not prescribe Plan B. No reason given. Neither did my internist. The midwifery practice I had used could prescribe it, but not over the phone, and there were no more open appointments for the day. The weekend -- and the end of the 72-hour window -- was approaching.

But I needed to meet my kids' school bus and, as I was pretty much out of options -- short of soliciting random Virginia doctors out of the phone book -- I figured I'd take my chances and hope for the best. After all, I'm 42. Isn't it likely my eggs are overripe, anyway? I thought so, especially since my best friend from college has been experiencing agonizing infertility problems at this age.

Weeks later, the two drugstore pregnancy tests I took told a different story. Positive. I couldn't believe it.

I'm still in good health, but unlike the last time I was pregnant, nearly a decade ago, I'm now taking three medications. One of them, for high cholesterol, is in the Food and Drug Administration's Pregnancy Category X -- meaning it's a drug you shouldn't take if you're expecting or even planning to get pregnant. I worried because the odds of having a high-risk pregnancy or a baby born with serious health issues rise significantly after age 40. And I thought of the emotional upheavals that an unplanned pregnancy would cause our family. My husband and I are involved in all aspects of our children's lives, but even so, we feel we don't get enough time to spend with them as it is.

I felt sick. Although I've always been in favor of abortion rights, this was a choice I had hoped never to have to make myself. When I realized the seriousness of my predicament, I became angry. I knew that Plan B, which could have prevented it, was supposed to have been available over the counter by now. But I also remembered hearing that conservative politics have held up its approval.

My anger propelled me to get to the bottom of the story. It turns out that in December 2003, an FDA advisory committee, whose suggestions the agency usually follows, recommended that the drug be made available over the counter, or without a prescription. Nonetheless, in May 2004, the FDA top brass overruled the advisory panel and gave the thumbs-down to over-the-counter sales of Plan B, requesting more data on how girls younger than 16 could use it safely without a doctor's supervision.

Apparently, one of the concerns is that ready availability of Plan B could lead teenage girls to have premarital sex. Yet this concern -- valid or not -- wound up penalizing an over-the-hill married woman for having sex with her husband. Talk about the law of unintended consequences.

By late August 2005, the slow action over Plan B led the director of the FDA's Office on Women's Health to resign her post. The agency's delay on the drug, she wrote in an e-mail to her colleagues, "runs contrary to my core commitment to improving and advancing women's health." As recently as April 7, Steven Galson, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said that the agency still needed time to work on the issue.

Unfortunately, time was the one thing I didn't have.

Meanwhile, I hadn't even been able to get Plan B with a prescription that Friday, because in Virginia, health-care practitioners apparently are allowed to refuse to prescribe any drug that goes against their beliefs. Although I had heard of pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control on religious grounds, I was dumbfounded to find that doctors could do the same thing.

Moreover, they aren't even required to tell the patient why they won't provide the drug. Nor do they have to provide a list of alternative sources. I had asked the ob-gyn's receptionist if politics was the reason the doctor wouldn't prescribe Plan B for me. She refused to answer or offer any reason, no matter how much I pressed her. By the time I got on the phone with my internist's office and found that he would not fill a Plan B prescription either, I figured it was a waste of time to fight with the office staff. To this day, I don't know why my doctors wouldn't prescribe Plan B -- whether it was because of moral opposition to contraception or out of fear of political protesters or just because they preferred not to go there.

In any event, they were also partly responsible for why I was stuck that Friday, and why I was ultimately forced to confront the decision to terminate my third pregnancy.

After making the decision with my husband, I was plunged into an even murkier world -- that of finding an abortion provider. If information on Plan B was hard to come by, and practitioners were evasive on emergency contraception, trying to get information on how to abort a pregnancy in 2006 is an even more Byzantine experience.

On the Internet, most of what I found was political in nature or otherwise unhelpful: pictures of what your baby looks like in the womb from week one, and so on.

Calling doctors, I felt like a pariah when I asked whether they provided termination services. Finally, I decided to check the Planned Parenthood Web site to see whether its clinics performed abortions. They did, but I learned that if I had the abortion in Virginia, the procedure would take two days because of a mandatory 24-hour waiting period, which requires that you go in first for a day of counseling and then wait a day to think things over before returning to have the abortion. Because of work and the children, I couldn't afford two days off, so I opted to have the procedure done on a Saturday in downtown D.C. while my husband took the kids to the Smithsonian.

The hidden world of abortion services soon became even more subterranean. I called Planned Parenthood two days in advance to confirm the appointment. The receptionist politely informed me that the organization never confirms appointments, for "security reasons," and that I would have to just show up.

I arrived shortly before 10 a.m. in a bleak downpour, trusting that someone had recorded my appointment. I shuffled to the front door through a phalanx of umbrellaed protesters, who chanted loudly about Jesus and chided me not to go into that house of abortion.

All the while, I was thinking that if religion hadn't been allowed to seep into American politics the way it has, I wouldn't even be there. This all could have been stopped way before this baby was conceived if they had just let me have that damn pill.

After passing through the metal detector inside the building, I entered the Planned Parenthood waiting room; it was like the waiting room for a budget airline -- crammed full of people, of all races, and getting busier by the moment. I was by far the oldest person there (other than one girl's mom). The wait seemed endless. No one looked happy. We were told that the lone doctor was stuck in Cherry Blossom Parade traffic.

He finally arrived, an hour and a half late.

The procedure itself took about five minutes. I finally walked out of the building at 4:30, 6 1/2 hours after I had arrived.

It was a decision I am sorry I had to make. It was awful, painful, sickening. But I feel that this administration gave me practically no choice but to have an unwanted abortion because the way it has politicized religion made it well-nigh impossible for me to get emergency contraception that would have prevented the pregnancy in the first place.

And to think that, all these years after Roe v. Wade became the law of the land, this is what our children have to look forward to as they approach their reproductive years.

Dana L. is a lawyer and writer living in Virginia. Out of concern for her family's privacy, she requested that her last name not be published.

This is just one example of the impact the religious right, George Bush, and the Neocons are having on women's rights. I have friends who are having problems getting their prescriptions for birth control filled. Yet, the "God's Will" concept, was completely abandoned by George Bush, when he learned that he could not impregnate his wife, and the use of high powered fertility drugs were necessary in order to concieve. If it is wrong to use medical science to end a pregnancy, why isn't it wrong to use medical science to create a pregnancy for people whom God, apparently, never intended to become parents?

Gayle in Md.

06-04-2006, 10:39 AM
by Gene C. Gerard
Fri Jun 02nd 2006

Late last month a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel unanimously recommended approval of a vaccine for the human papilloma virus (HPV). The vaccine appears to be 100 percent effective at protecting against the most prevalent viruses that cause cervical cancer. While public health professionals view the vaccine as miraculous, many conservative organizations opposed it on the grounds that it might encourage promiscuity among adolescent girls. Now that it appears certain that the FDA will approve the vaccine, conservatives are attempting to discourage its use.

The pharmaceutical giant Merck produced the vaccine known as Gardasil. It will be nothing short of a lifesaver for many women. Cervical cancer is the second most prevalent cancer killer among women in America, striking nearly 14,000 women each year. Of those, nearly 4,000 die annually. Poor women and women of color will benefit the most from the vaccine, as Latino and black women have the highest rates of cervical cancer. Lower-income women typically lack the funds and health insurance necessary to have regular screenings for HPV.

Despite the benefits of the vaccine, conservative organizations began to rally against it last year. One of the most vocal opponents was the Family Research Council. The council “promotes the Judeo-Christian worldview as the basis for a just, free, and stable society.” Last October the council’s president, Tony Perkins, spoke decidedly against the vaccine. Mr. Perkins proclaimed, “Our concern is that this vaccine will be marketed to a segment of the population that should be getting a message about abstinence. It sends the wrong message.” He even stated that he would not vaccinate his 13-year-old daughter.

Another organization that promotes abstinence is the Physicians Consortium. The head of the consortium, Dr. Hal Wallis, was also critical. In his opinion, “If you don’t want to suffer these diseases, you need to abstain, and when you find a partner, stick with that partner.” The founder of the National Abstinence Clearinghouse also opposed the vaccine. This organization was formed “to promote the appreciation for and practice of sexual abstinence (purity) until marriage.” Leslee Unruh, the organization’s founder, stated firmly, “I personally object to vaccinating children against a disease that is 100 percent preventable with proper sexual behavior.”

Now that FDA approval is all but certain, conservative organizations are strategizing to blunt acceptance of the vaccine. Much of this effort is directed toward the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). This committee is a part of the Centers for Disease Control, and is responsible for establishing the classification of vaccines that the government recommends. This recommendation prompts states to require a particular vaccination, typically guarantees that insurance companies will cover it, and determines the level of public funding.

In 2003 President Bush appointed a medical doctor, Reginald Finger, to the ACIP. Until last fall, Dr. Finger was also the medical affairs analyst for Focus on the Family, the nation’s largest and most powerful evangelical Christian organization. In an effort to gain the support of this group, Merck has been forced to aggressively lobby Focus. Merck has admitted to holding numerous meetings with Dr. Finger at Focus’ headquarters. It’s troubling that a vaccine manufacturer has to be concerned with securing the backing of a conservative Christian organization. And Merck will likely have an uphill battle.

Although children are required to have various vaccinations before attending public schools, conservatives are against the ACIP recommending this for the HPV vaccine. The Christian Medical & Dental Associations is an organization that “exists to glorify God by advancing Biblical principles in bioethics and health to the Church and society.” The group’s executive director, Dr. Gene Rudd, has stated, “While accepting HPV vaccine is morally acceptable, it should not be mandatory.”

And the Family Research Council has gone even farther. While testifying before an ACIP conference the council’s spokesman informed the ACIP that, “Because parents have an inherent right to be the primary educator and decision maker regarding their children’s health, we would oppose any measures to legally require vaccination. There is no justification for any vaccination mandate as a condition of public school attendance.” And Focus on the Family issued a formal statement declaring that it “supports widespread (universal) availability of HPV vaccines but opposes mandatory HPV vaccinations for entry to public school.”

But in most instances, parents can’t pick and choose what vaccinations they want their children to receive in order to attend public schools. Children are required to be vaccinated against measles, mumps, chicken pox and various other diseases. Public health experts recommend that the HPV vaccine be administered to children between the ages of 11 and 12, before sexual activity commences. And there’s no scientifically defensible reason that it shouldn’t be universally administered.

Of course, there’s the rub. The only objection to the HPV vaccine is based on religious principle. But religious values and beliefs shouldn’t effect FDA approval or recommendation by the ACIP. From a public health perspective, we can’t continue to allow conservatives to depict science as a cultural bogeyman.

Gayle in MD
06-05-2006, 05:45 AM
Hi, and thanks, I had read of this. Daunting, isn't it?
Hard to begin to believe it. When you factor in all the suffering that results daily around the world as a result of organized religion, and that our country is supposed to be among the most educated and forward thinking in the world, it's difficult to grasp that such ignorance as is displayed by the Christian Coalition could rally enough political support in the United States to threaten health, human rights, Women's rights, and medical and scientific progress.

It is an absolute disgrace that George Bush has been able to impede scientific progress in the field of Stem Cell Research, for example, when so many people's lives could be improved so greatly, and even saved, had our scientific community not been handcuffed by the ignorance of the Religious Right, and the Republican Party. I never thought I would see intellectual regression take such a hold on my country. Are we really intellectually so far from countries like Pakistan, where people have been starving for centuries, as the cows over-run the streets? Organized Religion, ignorance and suffering have always been inextricably linked.

Gayle in Md.

06-05-2006, 05:51 AM
. http://logo.cafepress.com/4/74.522744.gif

Gayle in MD
06-05-2006, 05:56 AM
BWA HA HA HA HA... /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif

06-05-2006, 06:14 AM
Gayle that article Political Science said that the US can stop stem cell research here but other countries are going ahead with it and it will be only a matter of time till someone solves the problem.

I do have to say that George Bush should be the Poster Child for Abortions, even After Birth Abortions.####

Fran Crimi
06-05-2006, 06:18 AM
But I needed to meet my kids' school bus and, as I was pretty much out of options -- short of soliciting random Virginia doctors out of the phone book -- I figured I'd take my chances and hope for the best. After all, I'm 42. Isn't it likely my eggs are overripe, anyway? I thought so, especially since my best friend from college has been experiencing agonizing infertility problems at this age.

Weeks later, the two drugstore pregnancy tests I took told a different story. Positive. I couldn't believe it.
<hr /></blockquote>

She took a chance and waited instead of looking for another doctor. This was her own fault, not President Bush.


Gayle in MD
06-05-2006, 08:05 AM
If you can read this woman's story, and come up with that conclusion, in spite of the fact that this pill would be available over the counter for any woman who might find herself in such an unfortunate situation, if not for Bush, and his Christian Conservative supporters, I think you may have missed the point entirely.

I don't know about your area, but around here, one can forget trying to get a random Doctor to prescribe anything for anyone who isn't already his patient, and even if there were weekend appointments available, which isn't likely, they would be available only for current patients. The point is that if not for George Bush, and the religious right, this woman could simply have taken a pill the very next day, and that would have been the end of it.

Tell me a time, before the Bush/neocon/christian coalition came into power, when you can recall, for example, Pharmacists imposing their religious philosophies upon customers (Women) and refusing to fill birth control pills. The far reaching implications of this administration's policies upon women's rights cannot be denied. While people in this country have a right to indulge in their religious leanings, they do not have the right to impose their beliefs upon all of us, although, fanatical religious pharmacists are doing so daily, thanks to Bush.

These issues are issues which all women should stand against. To live in a world in which men dictate to women regarding their right to birth control is certainlly not a world in which I want my daughter and grand-daughter to have to live. Women are losing their rights to the Christian Coalitions determination to ban birth control for all women, under the guise of wiping out teen-aged indulgence in sex. This is an example of how that unrealistic, unethical, ineffective philosophy impacts women's rights in general. Preaching abstinence to teenagers in place of sex education, also, is one of the most irresponsible and dangerous policies ever, considering the the media world in which these kids must grow up.

Gayle in Md.

06-05-2006, 12:53 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote DickLeonard:</font><hr>
I do have to say that George Bush should be the Poster Child for Abortions, even After Birth Abortions.#### <hr /></blockquote>


Cueless Joey
06-05-2006, 12:58 PM
Why didn't she have her tubes tied?
Am not an expert but wth?

06-05-2006, 01:00 PM
or he could have gotten a vasectomy... ouch

Gayle in MD
06-05-2006, 01:26 PM
Who knows? When it comes to unwanted pregnancy, the cause is never reasonable, or logical, nor will it ever be. But, I can certainly understand how her concerns about the medication she was on, together with her age, and concerns for her existing children, and possibly her career damands and financial responsibilities, must have all factored into her decision. There are usually miriad of reasons involved when a woman chooses to have an abortion.

Gayle in Md.

06-05-2006, 02:44 PM
...after few children are born it is sin to have sex.

06-05-2006, 03:53 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Fran Crimi:</font><hr> &lt;/font&gt;&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;font class="small"&gt;Quote:&lt;/font&gt;&lt;hr /&gt;
But I needed to meet my kids' school bus and, as I was pretty much out of options -- short of soliciting random Virginia doctors out of the phone book -- I figured I'd take my chances and hope for the best. After all, I'm 42. Isn't it likely my eggs are overripe, anyway? I thought so, especially since my best friend from college has been experiencing agonizing infertility problems at this age.

Weeks later, the two drugstore pregnancy tests I took told a different story. Positive. I couldn't believe it.
<hr /></blockquote>

She took a chance and waited instead of looking for another doctor. This was her own fault, not President Bush.

<hr /></blockquote>

Fran...you forgot to mention this line from the article:

and, in a sudden rush of passion, I failed to insert my diaphragm.

I guess that part is GW's fault as well.

You won't win this arguement on this forum. There aren't enough who have figured out that each of us needs to accept personal responsibility for our actions rather than play the blame game.

06-05-2006, 05:31 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote pooltchr:</font><hr>needs to accept personal responsibility for our actions rather<hr /></blockquote>

exactly, it's her responsibility to decide, not the governments, not ideologues who hold control of the plan B. Nobody else had the right to make her jump through hoops because of their personal opinions.

That is exactly why this theology we live in under bush is so frustrating for those of us you want to make our own decisions. The talking heads keep rambling on about this whole personal responsibility thing while doing everything they can to take personal choice away.

Gayle in MD
06-06-2006, 06:02 AM
Very well said, friend! I might add also that this country is spending millions of dollars on abstinence programs in which such idiocy as getting pregnant from toilet seats is being taught, in spite of the fact that some 88% of those youngsters who proclaim abstinence as their goal, end up having sex, and not only sex, but the statistics prove that when they do have sex, they have unprotected sex. Ignorance is the forte of the Bush administration, and their supporters. Fear, ignorance, homophobia, misogyny and discrimination. We have a so called leader, who cannot lead, cannot speak correct english, uses his bullypulpit to spread ignorance, intolerance and hatred, does not address pressing issues, supports torture, and cannot tell the truth, while calling himself born again. Wow, wonder what he must have been like BEFORE he was born again! /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Gayle in Md.

06-11-2006, 06:17 PM
crap, I missed the 60 Minutes story on Plan B. I hope they exposed that minority report for what it really was.

What would really be nice is if the brainwashed, selling doubt as "sound science", discreding real science as "junk science", bottom-line worshipping, pretending to be religious, Army of Darkness disguised as small-government republicans, cared :-(

Gayle in MD
06-12-2006, 10:28 AM
that would be nice, but alas, we already know, the only thing they are committed to is more war, and more meny in their pockets through war, and the blood of the children of the poor and middle class. Money, money, money...it is their ONLY interest, and to hell with our country.

Gayle in Md.