USA Today published my editorial tonight following the Gosnell verdict:
Regardless of a woman's income or where she lives, she deserves access to quality care.
The National Abortion Federation (NAF), along with the rest of the pro-choice community has unequivocally and repeatedly denounced the practices at Gosnell's facility. Gosnell was a substandard provider who preyed on vulnerable women, and fortunately he will not be able to do so again. Although this case has made national headlines, the important thing to remember is that Gosnell's practices are not representative of the quality abortion care available from the vast majority of abortion providers in the United States.
Abortion is one of the safest medical procedures provided in this country, due in large part to the skill and expertise of abortion providers who offer high-quality care. However, abortion and abortion providers are marginalized and politically demonized in our society. This stigma around abortion — combined with unnecessary restrictions on women's access to care—helps create opportunities for substandard providers like Gosnell to prey on vulnerable women. Regardless of a woman's income or where she lives, she deserves access to quality care.
Unfortunately, abortion opponents have used this rogue provider as an opportunity to call for more regulations on all providers in an attempt to further their goal of limiting women's access to abortion care. But additional regulations are not necessary—abortion was already highly regulated in Pennsylvania, and no level of restrictions would have stopped Gosnell, as he blatantly chose to operate outside of established standards of care and the law. Additional restrictions do not make abortion safer; they just make it more difficult for women to access the safe, high-quality care they need.
Abortion opponents have also used the Gosnell case to mislead women about the safety of abortion. Abortion is highly regulated and has an outstanding safety record: fewer than 0.3% of abortion patients experience a complication that requires hospitalization. It's important for women to know that Gosnell's deplorable substandard practices are absolutely not the standard of care at abortion facilities throughout the country. Even the grand jury report in this case acknowledged the safety of abortion, and clearly distinguished between this one facility and the legitimate abortion providers in the state of Pennsylvania.
In addition to complying with state and federal regulations, many abortion providers are members of professional organizations like NAF. NAF members must complete a rigorous application process, including a site visit, and must comply with our Clinical Policy Guidelines, which set the standards for quality abortion care in North America. Women can be assured of receiving high-quality care at NAF member facilities.
We must not use the Gosnell case to further stigmatize or make generalizations about abortion providers and the quality of care available in the United States.
Monday, April 15, 2013
Today, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, posted my letter to the editor on the medically unnecessary and politically motivated TRAP bill introduced in the Texas legislature.
Regarding the April 7 online story, "With 50 days left, heavy legislative lifting done": It is disturbing that the Texas Legislature is again choosing to ignore medical evidence in favor of playing politics with women's health.
Abortion is one of the safest medical procedures provided in the United States due in large part to the skill and expertise of abortion providers who offer high-quality care in an outpatient setting. There is no medical justification for imposing new regulations on abortion providers in Texas, who are already subject to extensive state and federal rules.
SB537 does nothing to ensure or improve patient safety. Instead it would impose 117 pages of unjustified and unnecessary requirements on facilities.
Regulations like these are calculated to close clinics under the guise of legitimate regulation and would dramatically reduce access to safe, quality abortion care for women in Texas.
Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/04/15/4776949/safe-abortion.html#storylink=cpy
Friday, April 12, 2013
Today, I issued the following statement on the Virginia Board of Health's approval of the state's abortion clinic restrictions:
Once again, the Virginia Board of Health has chosen to put politics ahead of women’s health.
The regulations approved in Virginia today single out women’s health care centers that provide outpatient first trimester abortion care by requiring facilities to meet the building requirements of newly constructed hospitals. There is no evidence that unnecessary regulations like these do anything to improve patient safety. Abortion has an outstanding safety record: fewer than 0.3% of abortion patients experience a complication that requires hospitalization, and more than 90% of all abortions in the United States are provided in outpatient facilities.
Abortion providers in Virginia are already highly regulated and comply with a variety of strict federal and state regulations. These unnecessary building requirements have been denounced by the Virginia medical community and the majority of Virginia residents.
We are extremely disappointed that the Virginia Board of Health has succumbed to political pressure and once again placed political considerations ahead of women’s health and well-being. These regulations are not about ensuring that abortion care is “safe.” They are about ensuring that abortion care is unavailable in Virginia.
Today, The Wichita Eagle, posted my letter to the editor on the omnibus abortion restrictions passed by the Kansas Legislature:
In its entirety, House Bill 2253 represents a clear threat to women’s access to abortion care in Kansas. In addition to declaring that life begins “at fertilization” and rewriting the tax code to penalize both abortion providers and women seeking abortion care, this bill requires providers to give patients medically inaccurate information.
Under HB 2253, health care providers are required to warn their patients about a false link between abortion and breast cancer. Experts from the National Cancer Institute, the American Cancer Society, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have all concluded that there is no causal link between abortion and an increased risk of breast cancer.
It is despicable that legislators would require that physicians give women incorrect medical information. Women deserve the facts about their health care, not misinformation aimed at dissuading them from choosing abortion care.
I am disappointed, yet not surprised, that Kansas legislators decided to pass this measure. Anti-choice legislators obviously would rather advance their extreme social agenda than ensure the health and well-being of women in Kansas.
Read more here: http://www.kansas.com/2013/04/12/2757714/letters-to-the-editor-on-conserving.html#storylink=cpy
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Today, I issued the following statement on the release of President Obama’s 2014 budget:
The President’s budget takes an important step toward lifting a ban that prohibits DC from using its locally raised revenue to help low-income women obtain the abortion care they need. This discriminatory policy interferes with the rights of DC residents and has effectively prevented the DC government from meeting the needs of women in the District. The President’s budget also eases restrictions on abortion care for Peace Corps volunteers. We appreciate that President Obama has addressed these inequitable policies.
However, despite addressing these bans, the President’s budget still maintains harmful restrictions that undermine women’s access to abortion care.
Federal funding restrictions are the most significant barrier to abortion access for low-income women in the United States. These funding restrictions unfairly jeopardize the health and well-being of millions of women who rely on the federal government for their health care. NAF operates a toll-free Hotline and we hear from thousands of women every month who are struggling to afford the cost of the abortion care they need.
Abortion care is basic health care for women and should not be treated differently from other health care services. As we move forward with the budget, we call on the President and Congress to work together to ensure that women have access to comprehensive health care, including abortion care.
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Today, The Birmingham News, posted my letter to the editor on a medically unnecessary and politically motivated TRAP bill introduced in the Alabama legislature.
The Alabama legislature is launching an all out attack on the reproductive health care of women and their families in the state.
We know from other states like Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Mississippi that obtaining admitting privileges and/or new licenses to comply with regulations targeting only abortion providers is often a very political process. Admitting privileges requirements could force facilities in Alabama to close if their current physicians are unable to obtain these privileges from hospitals for strictly politically-motivated reasons.
The medically unnecessary structural requirements are also problematic because many of the clinics in the state do not have the means to undertake extensive renovations. These renovations are medically unnecessary and there is no evidence that they would do anything to improve patient safety.
Abortion is one of the safest and most commonly provided medical procedures in the United States. HB 57/SB 130 is not about ensuring that abortion care is safe. They are about ensuring that abortion care is unavailable in Alabama.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Today, I released the following statement on North Dakota Governor Dalrymple's approval of the most extreme abortion ban bill in the country:
Today, North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple signed the most extreme ban on abortion in the entire country. This bill criminalizes abortion care very early in pregnancy—before most women are even aware that they are pregnant— and would ban nearly all abortion care in North Dakota.
We are outraged by Governor Dalrymple’s complete disregard for the health and well-being of women in North Dakota. As we have seen in other countries and in the United States before Roe v. Wade, banning abortion doesn't decrease the need for abortion care, it just forces women to jeopardize their health and sometimes risk their lives to obtain the abortion care they need.
Furthermore, this ban is blatantly unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has consistently held that states may not ban abortion care before viability. This bill is nothing more than a clear attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Politicians should not pass laws that disregard women’s constitutional protections or the reality that women need and deserve access to safe, legal abortion care. We support NAF member Red River Women’s Clinic’s efforts to continue to provide high quality abortion care for women in North Dakota.
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
The Arkansas Senate voted today to override Governor Mike Beebe's veto of legislation that would ban most abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy.
This bill is the most extreme and earliest ban on abortion care in the entire country, and it is blatantly unconstitutional. The Supreme Court has consistently held that states may not ban abortion care before viability. We applaud Governor Beebe for vetoing this unconstitutional abortion ban.
The 12-week ban is just the latest attempt by anti-choice legislators to restrict women’s access to abortion care. Last week, the Arkansas House and Senate voted to override the Governor’s veto of a 20-week abortion ban, which took effect last week.
If the House votes to override the 12-week ban, it would take effect this summer unless it is enjoined.
Friday, March 01, 2013
Today, the Indianapolis Star, posted my letter to the editor on the state's anti-choice legislation that would require women to get an ultrasound before a medication abortion.
No matter what supporters of Senate Bill 37 say, this bill is a blatant example of anti-choice legislators attempting to practice medicine without a license.
The bill would require women who choose early medical abortion care to undergo a medically unnecessary ultrasound. As the professional association of abortion providers in North America, the National Abortion Federation sets the standards for quality abortion care through our evidence-based clinical policy guidelines. Our guidelines do not require an ultrasound for first-trimester abortion care — including medical abortion — because there is no evidence that doing so improves patient outcomes or the safety of abortion care. Abortion is already one of the safest medical procedures provided in the United States and more than 1.75 million women have chosen medical abortion to safely terminate an early pregnancy since mifepristone was approved by the FDA in 2000.
The personal ideologies of some Indiana legislators should not trump credible scientific evidence and the expertise of health-care providers. There is no medical justification for SB 37, and we urge legislators to reject this politically motivated legislation.