Editor’s note. Earlier this week NRL News Today critiqued a new “study” from the Guttmacher Institute. The following comes from Benjamin Clapper, Executive Director of Louisiana Right to Life, in response to the Guttmacher’s “Flouting the Facts: State Abortion Restrictions Flying in the Face of Science.”
“The Guttmacher Institute’s new report should illustrate one fact for the nation: The abortion industry is interested in protecting abortion-on-demand. The Guttmacher Institute was founded as a research arm of Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest seller of abortion. It should come as no surprise that this group would do everything it can to discount even the most common-sense regulations that ensure the health and safety of women seeking abortion or protect the innocent living baby in the womb.
“The fact is that ample pro-life legislative testimony from experts in the fields of medicine and social services was provided prior to the enactment of the Louisiana laws criticized by the Guttmacher Institute. It was rare during deliberation on these bills for the abortion-on-demand organizations to present commensurate expert testimony, especially from a medical doctor perspective. Rather, they resorted to vague claims and recycled talking points.
“If the Guttmacher Institute and the abortion industry had their way, abortionists like Kermit Gosnell would have no oversight or no regulations. This is not a good policy for our nation. We must enact laws that protect vulnerable women and unborn children, rather than placating the desires of the multi-million dollar abortion industry.”
The following is a brief defense of some of the laws targeted in the short Guttmacher report.
Hospital Admitting Privilege Requirements at Abortion Facilities:
During the 2014 consideration of HB 388, Louisiana Right to Life presented the testimony of a number of experts sharing why admitting privileges are a critical component of ensuring that abortion facilities can provide continuity of care in the case of an emergency.
During committee hearings, a local OB-GYN physician who had worked stints in the ER shared how he had women come into the ER with complications from an abortion, and since the abortion physician did not have privileges to handle the complications in the hospital, this ER physician had to reassess the condition of the woman from the beginning, wasting time in order to properly handle the medical issues at hand.
In addition, testimony showed medical complications do exist from abortion, and the law must step in to help women in those situations, regardless of the level of occurrence.
Even if complications from abortions are “rare,” this is not a sufficient reason to discard the need for hospital privileges for abortion businesses. Currently, physicians at every ambulatory surgical center in Louisiana must have surgical privileges at a nearby hospital (Chapter 45 Louisiana Public Health Administrative Code). This regulation is not in place because all ambulatory surgical centers in Louisiana are unsafe and have long history of complications in their practice. The regulation is in place because it is a good protection for patient health and safety, regardless if complications are rare or common. Abortion facilities should not have a political loophole so they can avoid the same rules that govern all other outpatient surgical centers in Louisiana.
Fetal Pain Laws:
In Louisiana, babies 20 weeks post-fertilization are protected under law based on the wealth of anatomical, behavioral and physiological evidence that shows that the developing human fetus is capable of experiencing tremendous pain by 20 weeks post-fertilization.
The website www.DoctorsOnFetalPain.com documents the relevant studies that point to the understanding of the baby at 20 weeks post-fertilization having the ability to feel pain. Information includes points such as this: “Pain receptors (nociceptors) are present throughout the unborn child’s entire body by no later than 20 weeks after fertilization and nerves link these receptors to the brain’s thalamus and subcortical plate by no later than 20 weeks after fertilization.”
It is unfortunate that the Guttmacher Institute chooses to ignore a host of studies that illustrate this information.
Sadly, the Guttmacher Institute and the abortion industry advocates abortion at all stages of pregnancy, even right before birth, and even if the baby is completely healthy. Its studies never focus on the undeniable fact that abortion stops the beating heart of innocent unborn baby. The only point when they actually pay attention to the physical attributes of the unborn child is when they are trying to stop states from protecting these innocent babies.
Mandatory Waiting Periods
Abortion is a permanent decision that many women regret later in life. Even if most women in an abortion facility at the moment they are choosing abortion are confident in their decisions, the testimony of women who regret their decisions is reason enough to give women time to consider their options.
Even U.S. Supreme Court Justice Kennedy recognized that “some women come to regret their choice to abort the infant life they once created and sustained…the State has an interest in insuring so grave a choice is well informed.” (Gonzales v Carhart.)
Currently, abortion facilities in Louisiana are selling only one service: abortion. Their counseling cannot be trusted to be neutral in the decision-making process since they have a financial interest in the women’s decision. Waiting periods provide additional time for women to reflect on their decisions and seek additional resources prior to the making the ultimate decision to terminate a pregnancy.