Arkansas’s abor­tion re­stric­tion

The Washington Post Sunday - - THE WORLD -

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.

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