Abortion vote in the Senate: Why?

First, let me reprint Perry Gershon’s post from his FB page (with permission):

Tomorrow the Senate will debate the so-called 20-week ban on abortion. Let’s be clear — this is nothing more than the first step towards making a woman’s right to choose illegal, altogether. Lee Zeldin was a co-sponsor of the bill in the House. Zeldin’s bill is just one more part of his dangerous agenda to outlaw a woman’s right to choose.

Here are the real facts — almost 99% of abortions occur in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy, and the 1% that don’t are in very complicated situations, such as risks to the woman’s health. We must protect a woman’s right to choose. It starts with opposing this dangerous ban and replacing Congressman Zeldin with someone who isn’t afraid to say so, loud and clear.

It’s time for those seeking to replace Congressman Zeldin, to draw a line in the sand and oppose this dangerous attack on women’s health care and a woman’s right to choose.

It’s time for bold action, loud and proud.

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Why are they doing this now?  Three words: For The Base.  Check this out:


And perhaps they wish to bait Dems seeking office?

It is already practically impossible to get an elective abortion nowadays after 20 weeks of gestation.  Unless of course there is a danger to the mother’s life.  The proposed legislation still contains some wording about exceptions (see below), but doctor’s and patient’s options are limited.  Psychiatric reasons are now taken off the table!  SO, a suicidal patient would be left to commit suicide (rather than have an abortion that might help)?  Would that help save the life of the fetus? Generally suicide kills mother and fetus.


Here is the bill:

On House Bill HR 36

The bill provides exceptions for an abortion: (1) that is necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman, or (2) when the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. A physician who performs or attempts to perform an abortion under an exception must comply with specified requirements. 

“(b) Requirements For Abortions.—

“(1) ASSESSMENT OF THE AGE OF THE UNBORN CHILD.—The physician performing or attempting the abortion shall first make a determination of the probable post-fertilization age of the unborn child or reasonably rely upon such a determination made by another physician. In making such a determination, the physician shall make such inquiries of the pregnant woman and perform or cause to be performed such medical examinations and tests as a reasonably prudent physician, knowledgeable about the case and the medical conditions involved, would consider necessary to make an accurate determination of post-fertilization age.


“(A) GENERALLY FOR UNBORN CHILDREN 20 WEEKS OR OLDER.—Except as provided in subparagraph (B), the abortion shall not be performed or attempted, if the probable post-fertilization age, as determined under paragraph (1), of the unborn child is 20 weeks or greater.

“(B) EXCEPTIONS.—Subparagraph (A) does not apply if—

“(i) in reasonable medical judgment, the abortion is necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself, but not including psychological or emotional conditions;

“(ii) the pregnancy is the result of rape against an adult woman, and at least 48 hours prior to the abortion—

“(I) she has obtained counseling for the rape; or

“(II) she has obtained medical treatment for the rape or an injury related to the rape; or

“(iii) the pregnancy is a result of rape against a minor or incest against a minor, and the rape or incest has been reported at any time prior to the abortion to either—

“(I) a government agency legally authorized to act on reports of child abuse; or

“(II) a law enforcement agency.

And here is one of many scholarly papers on this issue: does abortion help avert psychiatric complications  (including suicide)?  As you can see it is complicated, and it is best left to the specialists (Obstetricians and Psychiatrists) and their patients, not to lawmakers, who have no clue!  Every case is likely to be different.


Termination of Pregnancy and Psychiatric Morbidity


We investigated whether reported psychiatric morbidity was increased after termination of pregnancy compared with other outcomes of an unplanned pregnancy.

This was a prospective cohort study of 13 261 women with an unplanned pregnancy. Psychiatric morbidity reported by GPs after the conclusion of the pregnancy was compared in four groups: women who had a termination of pregnancy (6410), women who did not request a termination (6151), women who were refused a termination (379), and women who changed their minds before the termination was performed (321).

Rates of total reported psychiatric disorder were no higher after termination of pregnancy than after childbirth. Women with a previous history of psychiatric illness were most at risk of disorder after the end of their pregnancy, whatever its outcome. Women without a previous history of psychosis had an apparently lower risk of psychosis after termination than postpartum (relative risk RR = 0.4, 95% confidence interval CI = 0.3–0.7), but rates of psychosis leading to hospital admission were similar. In women with no previous history of psychiatric illness, deliberate self-harm (DSH) was more common in those who had a termination (RR 1.7, 95%CI 1.1–2.6), or who were refused a termination (RR 2.9, 95%CI 1.3–6.3).

The findings on DSH are probably explicable by confounding variables, such as adverse social factors, associated both with the request for termination and with subsequent self-harm. No overall increase in reported psychiatric morbidity was found.

About D. Posnett MD

Emeritus Prof. of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College
This entry was posted in Congress, Health Care, Planned Parenthood, Uncategorized, Women, Zeldin and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Abortion vote in the Senate: Why?

  1. Arlene coulter says:

    A woman’s right to choose for her own body MUST be saved
    We should all join hands on that promise

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