With the judge’s ruling to block the new law taking Medicaid funds from Indiana’s Planned Parenthood, there has been some discussion about the impact the law was having on Indiana doctors.
After doing some searching of my own, though, it seems that it’s actually the Indiana University School of Medicine that is to blame for causing the confusion over the impact of this law.
Doctors Stop Offering to Terminate Pregnancies
This sentence by Gillers has caused me quite a bit of confusion:
Since the law took effect six weeks ago, The Star has learned, doctors at IU and Wishard hospitals stopped offering to terminate pregnancies for about 70 patients, including many with complications that put the patient’s health at serious risk or where there was no possibility the fetus would survive. (emphasis added)
I wrote to the author and asked what it means to “stop offering” to do abortions. She replied, “There were 70 women that they weren’t able to offer abortions to” since the bill went into effect.
“Stopped offering” could mean they had to take back offers they had made to do abortions. Gillers told me that was not the case, to the best of her knowledge.
So is it standard practice to offer every pregnant woman an abortion? Does this statement mean doctors at these two hospitals were unable to offer abortions to any of the 70 women (total) they saw? In that case, many of those 70 women surely wouldn’t want abortions anyway! After all, “only” 1 in 4 pregnancies end in abortion–so perhaps 18 women might possibly have wanted abortions. But the PR folks couldn’t use that number, because it isn’t big enough to make the public angry, I guess.
Moreover, it’s not all 70 patients who faced complications, only a vague “many.” So why would the doctors be offering to do elective abortions to the rest of these women? (Wishard Hospital, at least, claims to never have had elective abortions done there.) And why does it compromise the care of these women if they go to a free-standing clinic to have their abortions done? After all, abortion is “safer than childbirth” the pro-aborts tell me.
Fox 59 Takes its Own Spin on Those Words
The statement became even less clear in this report by the Indiana Fox News Affiliate:
According to the Indianapolis Star, the doctors at IU and Wishard hospitals stopped performing abortions on about 70 patients, including many with complications that put the patient’s health at risk. (emphasis added)
This isn’t what the Star article said, though, is it? The way Fox puts it, it sounds like the women were on the operating table when the doctors were told to stop!
How Many is “Many”? How Significant is “Significant”?
Another troubling aspect is the excessive use of vague terms like “many” and “significant” without any explanation of how many people are really being impacted. Gillers writes,
Pam Perry, director of public and media relations at the IU School of Medicine, confirmed that the school’s doctors have been affected. “Yes,” she said, “it has had an impact on their ability to provide care to a significant group of patients.”
Perry, it turns out, is the one who gave the number 70, saying that “many” of them faced dangerous complications. It’s her words I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, to understand.
Are there only 70 pregnant women these doctors have seen since the law went into effect? Did all 70 have complications which needed to be “treated” with abortion? Did those 70, out of all the patients, ask to have abortions which the doctors could not then “offer” to do for them? Did these doctors see hundreds of women, but doctors only felt the urge to “offer” abortions to 70 of them?
I have no idea.
IU School of Medicine Refuses to Clarify Their Statement
So I called the hospitals to try to get more clarification.
I spoke with Mary Hardin, News Media Manager at the IU School of Medicine, who told me they are “just reissuing Pam Perry’s statement.” She didn’t know if the 70 women were seeking abortions or what their situation was–why the doctors wished they could have offered them abortions. Thus, the reporter’s statement was only unclear because Perry’s statement was unclear.
I asked Hardin to figure out what Perry’s statement meant when I spoke with her on Tuesday.
I called her on Wednesday and left her a voice mail.
Today when I called her she told me she had “decided not to look in to” my question. When I asked why, she said the statement explained itself and I didn’t have a right to know about the medical situations of these women.
I said the statement was still unclear to me. Were there a total of 70 women seen in this time period? Or were there hundreds of women seen, but only 70 whom the doctors felt needed to be offered abortions?
Her response, “I don’t know.”
Obviously the statement doesn’t explain itself after all.
She refused to find an answer to my question when I again asked her to.
How Many Women Were Put In Jeopardy?
In the six weeks since the law went into effect, I find it hard to believe that there were “many” who came to these two hospitals whose lives were at risk or whose babies had no chance of survival.
Statistically it’s just not likely.
In America, 1 in 33 babies are born with a birth defect (unfortunately there’s no way to know how many babies are aborted before being born and are thus not counted in this statistic). Interestingly a birthmark can even be considered a birth defect, as can a wide range of significant or even life-threatening problems.
As for maternal mortality, this happens in 12.7 of every 100,000 births (in America).
If Perry’s statement meant that “many” women (out of 70?) came to the hospital in the last six weeks with medical conditions where the life of the mother or her baby was in jeopardy, I just don’t buy it.
Of course, I’ll never know what Perry meant, because Mary Hardin thinks the statement is clear, despite not knowing what the statement means. If she changes her mind and does clarify Perry’s statement, I will let all of you know.
Law Prompts Doctors to Fulfill Their Oaths
Overall, I have to admit that I’m not sad that these doctors actually trying to help these women rather than offering to kill their babies because of this law.
So keep misunderstanding the law, doctors. Live up to your oath to heal, not kill.
Perhaps it’s this “anti-abortion bias” that caused Mary Hardin to refuse to answer my question.