Arkansas’s abortion restriction
The June 7 editorial “A blow to reproductive rights” opposed an Arkansas law that requires doctors who provide medication abortion to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. But lessening the required medical and government oversight for medical abortion does a profound disservice to women.
When the Food and Drug Administration approved an abortion pill regimen in 2000, it was, with good reason, made available only through doctors who were trained in blood transfusions and in close proximity to a hospital. Since that time, the FDA has published adverse-events reports, compiling hospitalizations, infections, blood transfusions and, sadly, even a number of deaths. At least 22 women have died from complications with chemical abortion in the United States since it was approved. Though many women think chemical abortion will be much easier than surgical and assume it is safe, studies have shown that not to be the case. Jeanne F. Mancini, Washington The writer is president of the March for Life Education and Defense Fund.
As one of the few remaining abortion providers in the state of Arkansas, I am grateful that the June 7 editorial “A blow to reproductive rights” highlighted that Arkansas “has made access to safe, legal abortion even more difficult.” For the past 10 years, I’ve dedicated my medical practice to providing my patients the care they need and deserve. Sometimes, this means providing contraceptive counseling. Sometimes this means treating a sexually transmitted infection. And, because 1 in 4 women will seek abortion care during their reproductive lives, sometimes this means providing my patients abortion care.
Politicians think time and time again that they know better than my patients. The reality is that politics have no place in my exam room. This ban on medication abortion will not end the need for abortion care; it will only place more unnecessary barriers in the way of seeking out this care. Women of Arkansas should not have to travel hundreds of miles to seek one of the safest medical procedures in health care.
As a physician, I implore our state legislature to focus on passing policies that respect and trust the needs of women and families, not ones that burden and stigmatize. Stephanie Ho, Fayetteville, Ark. The writer is a fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health.