An OB-GYN’s perspective on the abortion debate…

I had my annual checkup today and was talking to my OB-GYN about a medical mission that he had just returned from in Guatemala.  He and a group of other doctors—surgeons, internists, etc—go into villages where medical care is scarce and surgery is typically inaccessible.  He talked of women having very little access to birth control; that some of them have four, six, even eight children and often their husbands must leave them in Guatemala, alone with the children, to come to the United States to work and send back money.  (Sometimes the husbands send back money for the first year or so, then meet another woman in the States…and then the money for the wife and all those children suddenly dries up, but that’s a different story.)

We started talking about the ongoing abortion/contraception discussion in the United States.  I noted how frustrating it must be for him to travel to parts of the world where there is no hope of easy access to contraceptives, only to return here where we CAN give our citizens access to contraceptives, but put limits on it or refuse it altogether.

My doctor shook his head and sighed.  “Don’t get me started,” he said.

He told me that, as an OB-GYN, what disturbs him the most is limiting a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy.

He looked absolutely haunted as he talked about seeing “horrible genetic things” during his years of caring for pregnant women and delivering babies—things that would make people think twice about limiting a woman’s right to end a pregnancy.

And what of situations where the mother’s life is at stake?  Situations like a tubal pregnancy, where the decision literally comes down to ending the life of a baby (that cannot survive in the Fallopian tube, regardless) in order to save the life of the mother.

“It can be tubal; it will even have a heartbeat, but it’s going to kill her [the mother].”  He lowered his head.  “And where does that leave me?  Where does that leave her?  It’s easy for them to make that kind of decision on the other side of things, but where does that leave everyone on this side of things?”

I think this is a perspective that has been missing from the abortion debate.  My doctor is a regular OB-GYN.  He does not work for a scary, evil abortion clinic.  His job is to deliver babies and care for women and to provide the best and safest care for ALL of his patients—both the born and the unborn.  When our nation’s doctors are against where this discussion is heading, does that mean anything?

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