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This blog is the work of an educated civilian, not of an expert in the fields discussed.

Monday, November 23, 2009

An Abortion Doctor Speaks Out

A month or so ago, CJ Roberts introduced a new series of stamps that honored Supreme Court justices (Frankfurter, Brennan, Brandeis and Story), the ceremony airing on C-SPAN. I just received my strip in the mail via the USPS website at cost plus a dollar tax. It comes in plastic on a strip that says "Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States" on the bottom and "We the People" on top. Not bad.

I also recently referenced Divine Souls, which is available free via IMDB. I know of it because the lead actress played a quite different role in It's In The Water, a comedy in part about the fear that the local water supply is making people gay. Divine Souls is an independent film about a nurse at an AIDS hospice, particularly her trouble dealing with a dying ten-year-old boy she has fell in love with there. Well acted, touching fare. It also reflects just what one can watch free online these days.
Abortion is a "common secret" in that 40 percent of American women have an abortion during their childbearing years, but it's rarely spoken about.

This Common Secret: My Journeys as an Abortion Doctor by Susan Wicklund (with Alan Kesselheim) is a useful way to learn a thing or to about being an abortion doctor in the United States, particularly in more isolated areas of the country. Her own story is worthwhile on its own (single mom turned doctor, took time off to care for a dying mom, etc.) without the additional discussion of her work. This includes the pressures and real life danger (including harassment at airport garages and her own home, where she was in effect blockaded). Plus discussions of patients and how she works.

As noted here, it is not so easily stereotyped, at least if one is fair about things. The book puts into perspective those who support some limits on protests -- do justices like Scalia or Kennedy truly take into consideration the lines crossed? I am strongly in favor of freedom of protests even here, but at some level harassment and clear violation of private property has to be taken into consideration. She also talks about the dangers of stock and often misleading informed consent laws and waiting periods. And, teen patients are referenced too, though her Supreme Court ruling is not.

Ultimately, and her career as a whole reflects this, Dr. Wicklund cares about the lives of her patients. [Some rather not use "abortion doctor" since it is limiting ... the subtitle of this book suggests some are comfortable with the term.] She notes that some providers are too rule based, not taking the needs of the individual patients into consideration. She still is haunted by a (legal) abortion she herself had where her own needs were not respected. Sometimes, she counsels her patients not to have an abortion. This is what "pro-choice" means -- giving the person a choice, including if the choice is not to have an abortion in the first place.

All must remember this -- the courts, nurses and all else involved.*


* See how I connected the three things in this post together?