Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Modern Day Back-Alley Abortion?

By Heather Mathews for PPSIMMONS

An article released last night on WND.com titled Now non-doctors plan stunning evil for babies1 has stirred up some pretty intense feelings on both sides of the abortion argument and in particular has sent shockwaves through pro-life circles.  Apparently, at University of California- San Francisco’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, there is a taxpayer-funded pilot program training non-physicians to perform first-trimester vacuum aspiration surgical abortions with as little as two-to-five days of training.  Now nurse-practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, and physician assistants in the land of fruits and nuts are being trained to commit government-endorsed murder.

What may or may not be surprising to some is the fact that some states already allow mid-level providers to perform abortion procedures.  Vermont (PAs/NPs,) New York (PAs,) Montana (PAs,) Rhode Island, Connecticut, Washington state (NPs,) Montana (Women’s Health NPs,) Oregon (NPs,) New Jersey, and Illinois allow either surgical abortion or administration of the abortion pill (“medical abortion,”) by such providers.2  California has allowed any medical providers competently trained to perform non-surgical abortions since 2002 (via the Reproductive Privacy Act, SB 1301)3 but this is the first time there was a piece of legislation geared specifically toward training non-physicians to perform surgical abortions.  The legislation is SB 1338- Safe and Early Access bill, introduced by California Sen. Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego. Its sponsors included Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, and it had the backing of leaders of both houses of the Legislature.4

Now, interesting about this pilot program is that there is a $3.5 million grant from an anonymous donor in addition to taxpayer funds, and Alameda County (which includes most of the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area) Judge Evelio Grillo has, in a May 17 decision, denied a petition for a writ of mandate to disclose the names of physicians, clinicians and stakeholders who participated in the project.5

“[T]he court finds that the public interest in withholding the names of the Clinicians outweighs the public interest in disclosing those names,” the decision states. “First, there is a public interest in protecting persons who provide abortion services from harassment. … Second, the public has an interest in academic research, and that interest may be compromised if research participants cannot participate with the assurance that their privacy will be protected.”6

According to Dana Cody, executive director of Life Legal Defense Foundation, the organization that filed the petition, said, “We feel that the names are necessary because we need to know who’s doing the training. When the project’s own documents show that the injury rate is 80 percent more than when physicians perform abortions, there are some concerns there.”

“The objective is to take them to the Legislature and say, ‘Take a look at these people and who is training,’” she explained. “We suspect from what we have been able to find out that Planned Parenthood is doing the training and another clinic, Women’s Health Services.”
 “There’s a specific case from the California Supreme Court that said – in the identical situation, but it was police officers – the names must be disclosed,” Cody said. “You don’t have to give out personal data, but you must disclose the names. So not only is this not following statute, but it’s not following California Supreme Court case law.” She further added, “It’s just not right. Women deserve better. They deserve better than abortion, and they certainly deserve better than abortion by people who are not trained physicians.”7
A fact sheet released by the Life Legal Defense Foundation, compiled from public records, listed the following bases for their objections: 8

·         The Project was orchestrated not by an independent academic source but by vested interest agents at UCSF’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, directed by Dr. Philip Darney. The Bixby Center itself was the beneficiary of Project funds. The California Nurses Association has objected that there was no independent peer review of this Project.

·         The Project to train non-physician abortionists was primarily financed by a major ($3.5 million) donor whom UCSF refuses to identify. Why is this donor being kept anonymous? Will it be an embarrassment to the Legislature if/when the identity of the donor who effectively paid for this law is revealed?

·         As to Project expenditures, UCSF/Bixby Center has NOT provided an accounting for 2/3 of the $3.9 million collected for the Project, despite a Public Records Act request.

·         SB 1338 has now been narrowed so that only the 41 persons who participated in the Project will get the benefit of legal protection from prosecution. It is illegal for non-physicians in California to perform surgical abortion. SB 1338 elevates this one privately and anonymously funded project, HWPP #171, to the status of a state policy, determining who is and is not guilty of a crime. This is a bad way to make law.

·         Neither the Medical Board of California nor the Nursing Board had any oversight of the Project.

·         The Project reported in December 2011 an 80% increase in complications when non-physicians performed surgical abortions. No explanation was given as to why complications increased. They reported that these complications included “incomplete abortion, failed abortion, hemorrhage/excessive bleeding, hematometra, infection, cervical injury, and uterine perforation. The non-physicians had a reported 141 total complications for women while the Physicians had 78 complications.

·         The Project reported that several hundred of the patients sampled were deemed ineligible to participate in the Project by the supervising physicians, because of various conditions including medical abnormalities and incomplete surgical or medication abortions. Under SB 1338, there will be no “supervising physician” to screen out these at-risk patients.

·         According to the Project’s “Early Abortion Training Workbook” the entire training period for each non-physician abortionist was only “2-5 days of simulated and hands on training” in order to perform 20-50 first trimester surgical abortions.9

Now, I have nothing against nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and midwives personally; in fact I use an NP instead of a doctor because I have had astoundingly better care and actually got diagnoses where my old doctor said it was “all in my head.”  She will send me to a specialist when the need arises.  However, this is taking a defined standard of practice and turning it on its head.  They are taking accepted State Nurse Practice Acts and throwing them out the window, as well as the practice guidelines of physician assistants.  It is opening a Pandora’s Box, from giving training to nurses and others who have an advanced medical background to eventually allowing anyone who can wield a vacuum tip and has a mediocre knowledge of human anatomy and physiology the ability and right to terminate the life of another human being.  There is a reason only physicians can perform surgery- the YEARS of training!  Once ObamaCare goes into effect, and we see the expected increase of patients running to get medical care, will this cause our primary care providers to be so backed up that they have to pass off “routine” care (as abortion has been described) to lesser-trained health-care workers?  How long before it is registered nurses, then licensed practical/vocational nurses, then certified nurse aides, then the medical office assistant?  Each group is gradually being trained to perform higher level and more complicated duties already: who is to say this won’t eventually become drive-thru type service?  They are risking the health and safety of women in an effort to make this (unfortunately) accepted form of genocide more easily accessible.

6 Ibid
7 Ibid
9 Ibid

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