Monday, October 23, 2006

Conduct Unbecoming a Physician. Even a South Dakota One



A bit late on this, but I just had to comment:

Dr. William Waltz, Pediatrician: Science now proves that life begins at conception.

Passing off personal belief as fact; how much further can you deviate from the scientific standard? [Sadly, the people in the ad seem intent on answering this question again, and again.]

Dr. Brian Kidman, Family Practice: Over 96% of abortions performed in SD are for birth control.

Dr. Kidman's purpose is to help people find their destiny in God and live it out healthily. Apparently, one way to help people is to lie to them. [Or, at the very least, repeat Dr. Don Oliver's lies. (Not a very good excuse when you yourself are a local physician with access to the data.)]

Dr. Mark Rector, Family Practice: This measure does provide exception for the life and health of the mother.

No, it does not (emphasis mine):

Section 2. That chapter 22-17 be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:
No person may knowingly administer to, prescribe for, or procure for, or sell to any pregnant woman any medicine, drug, or other substance with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of the life of an unborn human being. No person may knowingly use or employ any instrument or procedure upon a pregnant woman with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of the life of an unborn human being.


...

Section 4. That chapter 22-17 be amended by adding thereto a NEW SECTION to read as follows:
No licensed physician who performs a medical procedure designed or intended to prevent the death of a pregnant mother is guilty of violating section 2 of this Act. However, the physician shall make reasonable medical efforts under the circumstances to preserve both the life of the mother and the life of her unborn child in a manner consistent with conventional medical practice.
Medical treatment provided to the mother by a licensed physician which results in the accidental or unintentional injury or death to the unborn child is not a violation of this statute.


Not only is there no exception for the health of the mother, the exception for the life of the woman is, at best, problematic. Section 4 only allows an abortion to prevent the death of the patient IF reasonable medical efforts [are made] under the circumstances to preserve...the life of her unborn child. Just off the top of my head, this requirement criminalizes all abortions performed to treat an ectopic, since you never make an effort to preserve an ectopic pregnancy.

Coat Hangers At Dawn does some digging and finds out that (emphasis in original):

12-13-16. Publication of false or erroneous information on constitutional amendment or submitted question as misdemeanor. Any person knowingly printing, publishing, or delivering to any voter of this state a document containing any purported constitutional amendment, question, law, or measure to be submitted to the voters at any election, in which such constitutional amendment, question, law, or measure is misstated, erroneously printed, or by which false or misleading information is given to the voters, is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.


Incidentally, CHAD mentions that Dr. Mark Rector is Leslee Unruh's son in law. While I wasn't able to find any confirmation via a Google search, I did stumble upon something much more explosive, in my opinion. From the Sioux City Journal (emphasis mine):

Unruh, president and founder of the Alpha Center in Sioux Falls, wrote the first draft of House Bill 1215, which was sponsored by state Rep. Roger Hunt and numerous others.


Just when you think the people of South Dakota cannot be debased any further, you're proven wrong. While, ideally, I'd like to have this piece of information confirmed by the reporter, I must say I am inclined to think it's accurate (as painful as that might be; I'd much rather it was a hoax.). And this is why (via Haggard News) (emphasis mine):

On the morning of the final meeting, member Travis Benson, director of the Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese's Respect Life office, distributed a bulky, seventy-one-page report to each member as they took their seats. Looby (who, along with minority members Bell, Adelstein and Holcomb, had brought twenty or so recommendations to share that day) was flabbergasted. "It was outrageous," she recalls. "We had been told prior to that there was not going to be any sort of lengthy written report that would come out of this. People were supposed to bring recommendations to make to the legislative body on the final day... But we walked in and everybody was handed this seventy-one-page final report." Allison too, despite being chair of the committee, was unaware of any plan to present a final draft of the report that morning. "I thought that people would bring their own individual ideas, motions that could be included in a final report that would be an amalgam of everyone's input. As it turned out, there was just this prewritten report. There's nothing that anyone else on the task force could do to alter it."

No one claimed specific authorship of the report. "We were supposed to sit down, go through it, critique it, make motions, and we didn't know who wrote it because no one would say," Allison recollects. "I think there were several authors, but the only knowledge I have of who authored it is what I've read in the paper, honestly, because no one would 'fess up during our meeting." Hunt, whose statement on the report's authorship is "I wasn't necessarily part of any of the drafting," contends that it was a group effort and that several members had been e-mailing drafts back and forth before the final meeting. "There were probably six or seven members who wrote different sections of it and then pooled their information," he says. "I know that there were three or four other members who kind of went through the draft trying to tie it all together." Neither Looby nor the other surprised members were privy to the alleged e-mail drafts. "We got the feeling there was a lot of national-level professional input," Looby says.


Stealth.Final.Reports.And.Unknown.Authorship. The way of science (and legislation) in South Dakota!

Dr. Don Oliver, Pediatrician: ...and the morning after pill may be taken in any event.

First, birth control, including the methods in the emergency contraception group, prevents a pregnancy. It does not terminate one. [I thought it pertinent to mention this since we're discussing, you know, the prohibition of a perfectly effective and safe medical procedure used to terminate a pregnancy.]

Second, the fact that the emergency contraception pill (ECP) [not "morning after pill"] may be taken (praise be upon you, oh most benevolent overlords of South Dakota!) tells us nothing about if it will be taken [access to, familiarity with ECP, etc.]. As such, this mention of ECP in the ad is as relevant as mentioning that sexual intercourse may not occur in any event.

Third, can you say ECP failure rate? [Even better, can you say banning an effective method for pregnancy termination and "replacing" it with a less effective (pregnancy prevention) method?]

But, wait, there's more.

Remember Dr. Brian Kidman's assertion that Over 96% of abortions performed in SD are for birth control.? Since the South Dakota Department of Health, Office of Data, Statistics, and Vital Records report (.pdf) contains no data on birth control use in women obtaining an abortion in SD, I was wondering how Dr. Kidman came about inventing that percentage. Here's a clue!

Dr. Don Oliver, a Rapid City pediatrician, spoke in favor of the bill. He said that more than 96 percent of the 814 abortions performed in South Dakota in 2004 were performed for "convenience or socio-economic reasons." Less than 4 percent were done because of rape, incest or abnormalities with the fetus, he said.


You don't say! We've already discussed the actual data, so let me just point out a few things.

First, if you're Dr. Brian Kidman and you make a statement about the number of abortions performed in SD for birth control, in order for what you say to be true it's not enough to just project your personal beliefs, and stand in judgment of the patients' reasons for having an abortion. You still need actual contraceptive use data. Even if it's your belief that having an abortion because the patient did not desire to have the child, or because the patient would suffer substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function if the pregnancy continued is a frivolous convenience, that in no way imparts any knowledge on a patient's birth control use. For all you know all these patients experienced contraceptive failure. Bottom line: Why a patient becomes pregnant (birth control failure, planned pregnancy, failure to use birth control, etc.) is different from why, once pregnant, a patient decides not to continue the pregnancy (childbearing complete, rape, fetal anomaly, etc.).

Second, if you're Dr. Oliver and you appear to require assault and/or trauma as a prerequisite for receiving proper medical care, by according special status to abortions performed as a result of rape, incest or fetal abnormalities [as opposed to abortions for convenience or socio-economic reasons], you don't get to discriminate based on the type of trauma. You must be honest and tell the voters of SD the actual number of women who obtained an abortion because of trauma. In other words, it's 15.4%, not less than 4%:

-- pregnancy was a result of rape or incest 23.....1.8%
-- known fetal abnormality 16.....2%
-- mother’s emotional health was at risk 119.....9.3%
-- mother would suffer substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function if the pregnancy continued 29.....2.3%

It goes without saying that, regardless of the correct percentage of trauma related abortions, it's still great to be Dr. Oliver who gets to decide the palatable cut-off number for treatment. Less than 4% (actually 15.4%) and these patients just don't matter; it's acceptable to blow them off. More than that (how many more, what's the magic number?) and maybe Dr. Oliver might consider this group of patients worthy of obtaining proper medical care.

Last, but not least, we have this: Less than 4 percent were done because of rape, incest or abnormalities with the fetus, he said. Recall that in 2004, 16 patients (2%) had an abortion done for known fetal abnormality. [Pregnancy was a result of rape or incest in 23 cases (1.8%).]

Now, without knowing anything about the original data and relying only on your reading comprehension, when you see "known fetal abnormality" what does that tell you? That's right, it means we only have fetal abnormality information for 2% of cases.

Looking at the actual report, you know, the same report Dr. Don Oliver read but chose to lie about, we notice that (emphasis mine):

Table 54, to the right, illustrates the number of abortions that were performed with the knowledge that a fetal abnormality existed. Of the abortions performed in 2004, 16 or 2 percent of the forms indicated that there was a fetal abnormality present at the time of the abortion. Most of the forms indicated that it was unknown if a fetal abnormality was present at the time of the abortion.

Induced Abortions Occurring in South Dakota by Fetal Abnormality, 2004

Presence of Fetal Abnormality Number... Percentage

Yes 16..........2.0%

No/Unknown 798........98.0%

Total 814.......100%


I don't know what percentage of abortions in SD were done because of rape, incest or abnormalities with the fetus. And neither does Dr. Don Oliver.

One thing I do know: This ad is a great disservice to the people of SD.

More on the ad here*, here, and here. [Contact info for some of the MDs in the ad here and here.]

* Just for the record, the article by Jonathan Cohn in The New Republic linked by Feministing contains incorrect information. [I wasn't able to find any contact info for Mr. Cohn, so I'm posting the correction here.]

From the article:

The figure, 96 percent, comes from survey findings that only 4 percent of abortions are performed because of rape, incest, or concerns over the mother's health.


That's incorrect. From the South Dakota Department of Health, Office of Data, Statistics, and Vital Records (.pdf) report, in 2004 we have:

-- pregnancy was a result of rape or incest 23.....1.8%
-- mother’s emotional health was at risk 119.....9.3%
-- mother would suffer substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function if the pregnancy continued 29.....2.3%

That's 13.4% of abortions performed because of rape, incest, or concerns over the mother's health. While Mr. Cohn's point stands, it's still important to use accurate data.

2 Comments:

At 2:21 AM, Blogger star7girl7 said...

Thirteen percent sounds like such a tiny number. Insignificant, almost. And yet, thirteen percent is more than one in eight. So out of every eight women who had abortions in South Dakota in 2004, one did it because of rape, incest, or concerns over the mother's health. Throw in known fetal abnormality, and you've got one in seven.

Some more numbers: 81.5% - about 4 out of 5 - of the women were age 20 or older - presumably old enough to make responsible decisions, and not the stereotypical irresponsible teen.

More than half of the women have at least one living child, so they presumability have a good sense of what having a child entails.

And what's up with combining convenience and socio-economic reasons in the rhetoric? They're hardly the same thing, are they?

Almost HALF of the women stated they could not afford the child. HALF. How sad.

 
At 2:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reason they use the 4% figure is because they exclude emotional damage. They simply could not care less about that.

These folks have been told they must ignore their own morality and adopt the morality of their preachers and leaders. For some reason a lot of people readily do that. This results in people without a personal morality and therefore cruelty among such people is commonplace because they answer morally to others, not to themselves.

 

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