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Mar 15 2012

A triumph for the Texas Taliban

So there’s this couple in Texas looking forward to their second baby, a brother for their 2-year-old daughter.

Yet now my doctor was looking grim and, with chair pulled close, was speaking of alarming things. “I’m worried about your baby’s head shape,” she said. “I want you to see a specialist—now.”

My husband looked angry, and maybe I did too, but it was astonishment more than anger. Ours was a profound disbelief that something so bad might happen to people who think themselves charmed. We already had one healthy child and had expected good fortune to give us two.

Instead, before I’d even known I was pregnant, a molecular flaw had determined that our son’s brain, spine and legs wouldn’t develop correctly. If he were to make it to term—something our doctor couldn’t guarantee—he’d need a lifetime of medical care. From the moment he was born, my doctor told us, our son would suffer greatly.

And now you’re guessing the rest. You’re no fools; you didn’t miss the deadly “Texas” at the beginning.

Their doctor couldn’t do the abortion, because the hospital she’s affiliated with is Catholic (as so many hospitals, and more all the time, are). They had to go to a clinic. They went straight there.

My counselor said that the law required me to have another ultrasound that day, and that I was legally obligated to hear a doctor describe my baby. I’d then have to wait 24 hours before coming back for the procedure. She said that I could either see the sonogram or listen to the baby’s heartbeat, adding weakly that this choice was mine.

“I don’t want to have to do this at all,” I told her. “I’m doing this to prevent my baby’s suffering. I don’t want another sonogram when I’ve already had two today. I don’t want to hear a description of the life I’m about to end. Please,” I said, “I can’t take any more pain.” I confess that I don’t know why I said that. I knew it was fait accompli. The counselor could no more change the government requirement than I could. Yet here was a superfluous layer of torment piled upon an already horrific day, and I wanted this woman to know it.

But it couldn’t be helped.

“I’m so sorry that I have to do this,” the doctor told us, “but if I don’t, I can lose my license.” Before he could even start to describe our baby, I began to sob until I could barely breathe. Somewhere, a nurse cranked up the volume on a radio, allowing the inane pronouncements of a DJ to dull the doctor’s voice. Still, despite the noise, I heard him. His unwelcome words echoed off sterile walls while I, trapped on a bed, my feet in stirrups, twisted away from his voice.

“Here I see a well-developed diaphragm and here I see four healthy chambers of the heart…”

I closed my eyes and waited for it to end, as one waits for the car to stop rolling at the end of a terrible accident.

When the description was finally over, the doctor held up a script and said he was legally obliged to read me information provided by the state. It was about the health dangers of having an abortion, the risks of infection or hemorrhage, the potential for infertility and my increased chance of getting breast cancer.

This is pure evil.

155 comments

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  1. 1
    'Tis Himself

    This is pure evil.

    Exactly.

  2. 2
    Mr.Kosta

    This is… words can’t describe. Horrifying doesn’t come close.

  3. 3
    satanaugustine

    To top it all off they lie about the alleged risks of abortion. Breast cancer from an abortion? Bullshit!

  4. 4
    unbound

    Here’s an idea. How about the doctors that are stuck in this foul situation spend some of their money to drive the patient to another state when something like this happens?

    This allows the doctors to serve their patients locally, but spend a fraction of the money they pull in to get the women out of this bad situation.

    It seems to me that they are definitely violating their oath by causing harm to the woman. You would think they would be willing to go out of their way and spend a pittance of their earnings to avoid violating their oath.

  5. 5
    Magicthighs

    http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/abortion-miscarriage

    There must be a way to overturn this law when it’s clearly giving false information.

  6. 6
    Emu Sam

    Depending on where you live in Texas, it can take eight hours to get to another state by driving, and then you’re in Louisiana, Oklahoma, or New Mexico. Mexico might be easier.

  7. 7
    Matt Penfold

    This puts doctors in an impossible situation. They are required by law to do one thing, and by their professional ethics to do another. And as MagicThighs points out, they are required to lie to their patients.

    They can struck off if they follow the law, and the could be struck off if they don’t follow the law. Which I imagine is just how those who support this law want things.

  8. 8
    Besomyka

    All I can hope is that the insanity of our state legislators will be tempered in the coming election because the evil of these things is coming to light and is affecting people, and also the effort by our govgoodhair to be president was so awful and embarrassing that some people will reconsider their votes.

    They probably won’t, but… it’s all I got right now.

    Man, that breast cancer thing at the end. I just don’t even.

  9. 9
    Ray

    Texas, find yourself another country to be part of. Saudi Arabia might take you.

  10. 10
    Francisco Bacopa

    And think about how this is going to affect out of state residents who drive to Houston from Louisiana. That’s going to add motel bill(two nights unless you can get up at 4 AM to drive in) and possibly a missed day or two of work to the cost.

    WTF happened to the progressive “New South” Texas I grew up in? We had the strange demise of Jim Crow. We had the space program. We poured money into education. Expanded universities. Built cities that focused on becoming prominent in the world. But sometime in the late eighties all this started falling apart, and by the early nineties W was able to defeat the very popular Ann Richards.

    How did this happen? And now it’s happening to the whole country.

  11. 11
    Nathan Duffy

    “This is pure evil.”

    Ding! You just have the culprit confused.

  12. 12
  13. 13
    carpenterman

    As sickening as this story is, the bigger story is far worse.
    Because this law didn’t just appear out of thin air. It was proposed and voted into existence by duly elected representatives of the state of Texas. This abomination hasn’t been inflicted on an unsuspecting populace by a cabal of super-villains. It represents the will of that very populace (or at least a sizable percentage of them). And many, many other people in every other state in the country agree with them. How people can think this way, I genuinely don’t understand. But they do. That much is clear.
    And it frightens me.

  14. 14
    piranhaintheguppytank

    Does the doctor also have to refer to the patient as a “slut” and a “prostitute”?

    (Perhaps they need to add another line to the Hippocratic Oath: “I will inflict maximum shame when required by law”).

  15. 15
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    I hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate Goodhair.

  16. 16
    timberwoof

    Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

    Fuck you, Reublicans, with an Alien ovopositor, so the procedure to remove it from your belly ahead of time would kill you as surely as the bloody scene where it leaves when it’s ripe. And may you be kept safely ensconced in a cocoon so you can’t harm yourself or the baby Alien before it’s time. No cell phone, but an iPod with reruns of Mister Rogers, Barney, Teletubbies and Little Ponies to love and tolerate the shit out of you until you die.

  17. 17
    teragram42

    So sad, and so wrong.

  18. 18
    cultureclash

    First they came for the communists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left to speak out for me.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came%E2%80%A6

    Of course the doctors have a choice.
    They choose whether or not they follow the law.
    They choose to go against their training and oath to inflict this pain on their patients.

    They can choose not to.

    They should, on mass, refuse to follow this unspeakable piece of legislation.

    Hold up two fingers to the government and say fire all of us, I dare you.

    Humans are not robots, they are not computers, there is no laws we must follow other than those of physics.

    The ‘laws’ of the land are followed and obeyed because they make living in a community of other people better and fairer.

    The government rules by the consent of the people (in a democracy).

    The government is meant to fear the people, not the other way around.

    It might just be time for the US government to be reminded of that.

    When the laws implemented by the government no longer are for the purposes of enabling a better and fairer society.
    When the laws implemented by the government are intolerable…

    Then it is time for the government to fall, and for all citizens of conscience to disobey those laws.

    Doctors have a choice.

    Those that choose to follow these laws are as guilty of consequences and the harm as the people who passed those laws.

    America likes to call itself the land of the free and the home of the brave…

    It is time for doctors to be brave.

    You always have a choice.

    It might be a crappy choice, but you always have a choice.

  19. 19
    Walton

    That’s so horrific, I don’t even know how to describe it. It sounds like emotional torture, both for the patient and for the doctor. And the whole thing is frighteningly Orwellian: there’s something really twisted about the idea that the state can, under penalty of criminal sanctions, force medical professionals to blame, shame and verbally abuse women in a prescribed ritual.

    Another reason to despise Rick Perry. (Not that we needed one, given his support for the atrocity that is the death penalty.)

  20. 20
    Hedgehog

    Very little moves me to tears here on the internet, but this is indeed evil.

    A couple hear the worst news that is possible so they are given expert advice and support. No – They are metally tortured.

    Hell, they’ve just had the biggist and cruelest news they are ever going to hear, so lets make this worse. Let’s describe in detail the working heart, the working lungs, the working systems that will (possibly) keep this child alive.

    Let us skip merrily past what life this child would have if it is born alive, and the consequences to this family.

    Have any of these heartless bastards ever had to live with something like this? Trust me, it is hell.

    And, this evil and torment was brought in the name of The God of Love, by hand wringing politicians who just know what’s right for all of us dumb folks because, shucks, Jesus etc etc…

    Fuck them.

  21. 21
    bibliotequetress

    That is excruciating. Am on a bus with my eyes wet, want to go to Texas and punch some bastard who smugly thinks he has the right to inflict this agony. Some bastard who will never go through this himself. My heart breaks for this couple.

  22. 22
    Hypatia's Daughter

    #13 carpenterman
    The “populace” votes in legislatures who pass laws like this because they have been bombarded for years by anti-choice rhetoric & lies, financed by lots & lot of money.
    They have been convinced that most abortions are being obtained by stupid, immoral sluts who are selfishly killing “babies” for their own convenience. Well, they would like to see someone put a stop to that!
    Of course, they know that there may be good medical reasons that abortion might be necessary – incest, rape, the mother’s health, cases like above. No sensible legislature would outlaw abortion in those instances!
    So they get a big surprise when laws are passed that outlaw abortions in ALL circumstances.
    It’s what happens when you let yourself be sold a bill of goods by a bunch of fascists – after they get your vote, they blow you off.
    It doesn’t help that voters pay almost no attention to local elections. Creationists get on school boards; right-wingnuts get in the state legislature because the churches tell their members to run to the polls and who to vote for; while the sane voters are sitting at home, watching “American Idol” and picking their noses.
    I also think that ageism is a cause. We aging Baby Boomers don’t need birth control and abortion rights, because the women are past their child bearing years, and the men think getting a 20 year-old pregnant means they are still studs.
    We old folk can afford to indulge our “higher moral principles” because we don’t need these “rights” anymore. So what if makes life hell for our children and grand-children. We have moral righteousness on our side!

  23. 23
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    The first time I saw an ultrasound of my then unborn daughter we had just come from visiting friends who’s child was terminally ill with leukemia. The pain of their situation tinged my joy at seeing that tiny, blurry figure with a greater fear than I had been expecting.

    You see, the point of our procedure was to check for early signs of Downs Syndrome and other genetic defects. If we had discovered such signs we would have aborted that fetus. I fully understood that it was not yet a human, not yet my son or daughter, but hope will have it’s way and I was afraid of losing it. The wait was agonizing while they examined the results. Waiting room magazines and idle talk were no escape from the brutal reminder we’d had earlier that day that bad things happen and sometimes there is nothing you can do about it.

    Say that the worst had happened, if we’d had the same laws as Texas I’m not sure I could have stood there and listened to a doctor say those things. I’m not sure I could have allowed him or her to cause my wife that kind of pain. The very notion of it has put a knot in my stomach and is making it hard to get down to work today.

    The world is full of pain, there’s no escaping it if one is to be even a partially aware human. To add to that unavoidable pain, knowingly, *intentionally*, for the purpose of shaming others into obeying an arbitrary rule set not their choosing is the very definition of evil.

    This kind of thing is what turns people like me, a live and let live kinda guy, from being a straight up shoulder shrugging atheist into an active anti-theist.

  24. 24
    Rando

    It could get worse, in some states the doctor can actually LIE to you if information about your baby would make you get an abortion. Genetic disorders, dead or dying fetuses, or even an ectopic pregnancy, you will get no warning about them if you might decide to get an abortion. These pro-life extremists make me sick!

  25. 25
    Karen whiddon

    oh, my, this sucks SO bad!

  26. 26
    F [is for failure to emerge]

    Fucking fuck. There are talibans between us.

  27. 27
    Hein

    Oh this is heart rending. Makes me want to crawl into my bed and cry myself to sleep.

    Pure evil indeed. I am only slightly ashamed to say that this makes me wish unspeakable horrors on those that would enact such laws.

  28. 28
    Feminace, formerly Qurikythrope

    I think I’m going to be sick. The fuckers who voted this shit into law ought to be forced to be told this story…and all others like it.

  29. 29
    Susan

    Finally, my doctor folded the paper and put it away: “When you come back in 24 hours, the legal side is over. Then we’ll care for you and give you the information you need in the way we think is right.”

    This article is so sad and maddening. What the Texas Taliban put this couple–and the doctors and nurses at PP–through is deliberately evil, and calculated to wear everyone out who’s involved and to stop them from fighting back. Since I’m not yet exhausted, I’ve doubled my monthly sustaining donation to Planned Parenthood.

  30. 30
    mike

    This is why I support abortion into the 300th trimester when the fetus develops into a politician

  31. 31
    spamamander, internet amphibian

    Dear dog, the nausea and disgust and seething rage…

    When I had to go through the amnio with pregnancy number three because of suspected Edwards syndrome and wait for the results for an excruciating two weeks, I started going to a day hospital program for the downturn it made in my depression. We were trying to figure out what would be best for the other children (An explanation of nature taking its course more or less, with mom coming home from the hospital no longer pregnant, if the worst should arise… much more merciful in our eyes than attempting to carry a doomed fetus to term and have siblings watch their brother die) and how we would pay for the procedure, travel, who would take care of the girls?

    Then to imagine having to go through … THAT… on top of it?! I saw him on the u/s. I saw fingers and toes and what was quite obviously a penis among other things. I saw him move when the amnio needle pushed into the amniotic sac. He had a name. For someone to rip me and my then-spouse to pieces like that during what would have been hell already…

    FUCKING EVIL. There are no other words.

  32. 32
    Peter B.

    Attention People of Texas…

    The time for revolution is NOW!

    Overthrow those bastards who would legislate to commit such evil.

    Your future is in your hands.

  33. 33
    joed

    The suffering this couple must go through is heartbreaking and so very unnecessary.
    Voting for any incumbent politician can only solidify the bad guys.
    looks like you folks let “evil” take over.
    Calling this “evil” allows you to not have to do anything about it. Allows you to sit back and say, “evil” and do nothing because there is nothing you can do against “evil”.
    Please stop whining.
    The bad guys won. And you will not do anything about it.

  34. 34
    Hypatia's Daughter

    #24 Rando
    Could you clarify about the ectopic pregnancy?
    AFASI, ectopic pregnancies happen when the egg is fertilized and implants in the fallopian tube, which cannot stretch to accommodate the growing embryo. As a result, it will get big enough within a few weeks to burst the fallopian tube, kill the embryo and cause bleeding and infection. The only option at that point is abdominal surgery. The usual abortion techniques of vacuum or d&c cannot be used because the embryo is not in the uterus.
    NOTHING, I repeat, NOTHING, can save the embryo in an ectopic pregnancy.
    If treating an ectopic pregnancy is classified as an abortion and restricted or outlawed, this is one of the most evil things I have ever heard. What the couple above went through was cruel. Not treating an ectopic pregnancy until it has burst is evil.
    It would be like a doctor knowing you had an aneurism or an infected appendix that was about to rupture, and saying “Hey, we can’t do anything until it bursts.”
    This is not a case of “restricting” access to abortion. This is denying women life saving health care in the the name of some sanctimonious piety.
    Is this the new rethug policy? Men get the best of modern healthcare, but women are denied it so they can be maimed, suffer, and die?

  35. 35
    4004bc

    I search in vain for a trite comment…
    America, heal thy self!

  36. 36
    Hypatia's Daughter

    #33 So, what the hell are you doing about it, Joed?
    Besides sitting up on your pedestal and sneering contemptuously down on people who are at least trying to get the word out to the uninformed?

  37. 37
    Pteryxx

    If treating an ectopic pregnancy is classified as an abortion and restricted or outlawed, this is one of the most evil things I have ever heard.

    Already happening.

    Methotrexate, a drug used to treat ectopic pregnancies, is the standard of care for some of the cases described in the Ibis Study. Yet several doctors reported that their hospitals have a blanket prohibition on the drug. This means that women for whom methotrexate would be the best treatment option are instead being subjected to unnecessary and invasive surgical treatment.

    One doctor in the Ibis Study reported “several instances” of potentially fatal tubal ruptures in patients with ectopic pregnancies. [9] This doctor reported that her Catholic hospital subjected patients with ectopic pregnancies to unnecessary delays in treatment, despite patients’ exhibiting serious symptoms indicating that a tubal rupture was possible.

    Source

  38. 38
    A. R

    This is why I’m going into primary research even if I do tack an MD onto my planned PhD. I could never inflict this level of state-sanctioned emotional pain on a human being. This is the end result of these laws: Broken humans. Notice that the prospective father did not have to be a part of this torture session?

  39. 39
    Part-Time Insomniac

    Here come the Christian knights,
    Dressed in red and white
    To bring the holy word
    And set the world alight

    Here comes a plague of idiots
    blinded by their faith
    Here comes the Inquisition to burn you
    At the stake…..

    Sorry that’s all I can fish out of my fear and paranoia-ridden mind right now.

  40. 40
    sadunlap

    Just checking: I could not reach the article. I found other blog posts and articles quoting the same Texas Observer one, but the whole Texas Observer site is down. Has anyone found the full article on the Texas Observer site yet?

    I wonder if heavy traffic crashed the site? I hope that the publicity this horror has triggered sent loads of people to the original story. It’s not even in the google cache.

  41. 41
    mnb0

    The good news is that according to my Dutch newspaper women are leaving churches because of cruel stuff like this.
    I don’t know what to write and that is something very rare.

  42. 42
    BenFormerlyFromTX

    I’ve always said we shouldn’t wait for Texas to secede from the Union. We should be proactive and GIVE it back to Mexico.

  43. 43
    Walton

    I’ve always said we shouldn’t wait for Texas to secede from the Union. We should be proactive and GIVE it back to Mexico.

    Not helpful. At least, not for the millions of people in Texas who don’t have the opportunity or resources to move elsewhere – including the millions of women, ethnic minorities, LGBT people, undocumented immigrants and other groups who are the victims of discriminatory laws. The solution is not to give up on certain regions of the country and the planet, but to work to guarantee human rights to everyone everywhere. (I realize you weren’t making a serious suggestion, but I find this kind of rhetoric unhelpful in general.)

  44. 44
    Texpatriate

    Someone near and dear to me who will be forced to go through this very procedure tomorrow in my home state of TX. The nearest clinic that offers abortions is over 100 miles away from her home, and she needs to go there and back two days in a row for no good reason. She is, of course, also the one expected to pay for this unnecessary shaming procedure.

    Reading this makes me furious.

  45. 45
    sadunlap

    The Texas Observer site is back. I read the original story. I highly recommend it.

  46. 46
    TX_secular

    This story is horrifying but perhaps good can come of it if we can use it to show uninformed voters that their policies are hurting real people and turning our doctors against us.

  47. 47
    BecomingJulie

    The doctor was remiss in performing the unwanted sonogram. Obeying a command you know to be wrong is still wrong.

  48. 48
    Malcom eX-lax

    There must be a way to overturn this law when it’s clearly giving false information.

    I don’t know why it couldn’t be challenged for practicing medicine without a license. It seems to me that requiring any kind of medical test without or against a doctors advice, even if you are a high and mighty legislator, would be illegal. Considering the motive behind the ultrasound is punitive, both financially and emotionally, and not medically necessary the new law being in conflict with a previous law should be nullified.

    I’m kind of shocked that more doctors aren’t upset by this perversion of care and intrusion into their domain.

  49. 49
    Usernames are smart

    As a progressive who lives in Texas, I can say that we’re fighting this. What we’re up against is Gerrymandering from such ilk as that rat bastard Tom Delay, such that progressive districts are set against one another (two or more combined into one) and regressive districts (heh) are increased in number.

    The cities are definitely blue-leaning: Houston, Dalas, Austin. The damn rurals (salt of the earth, common clay; you know, morons) are against everything not straight, white, male and xian.

    There’s SO MUCH wrong with our legislature, it makes me want to puke. This Tuesday (March 24th) there will be a rally in Austin to protest our brave politicians’ cutting the public school budget by Yet Another $10 billion. Our state’s public education is already running on fumes; for the legislature to cut it more is a serious dereliction of duty.

    Small wonder that the American Taliban can take time out to punish women.

  50. 50
  51. 51
    Cody

    …the hospital she’s affiliated with is Catholic (as so many hospitals, and more all the time, are).

    I wasn’t aware of this (I’m not very in touch with the medical community), but it has me wondering: is this a deliberate strategy of the church, buying up hospitals to circumvent the law and force their twisted superstitious bullshit? They couldn’t get the law to be what they want, so they’ll use the widespread belief that religious institutions ought to be forgo practices they disagree with?

    That experience is so grave, prohibiting my mind from further reflection is the only way to write anything sensible.

    A Bertrand Russell quote comes to mind,

    So long as there is death there will be sorrow, and so long as there is sorrow it can be no part of the duty of human beings to increase its amount, in spite of the fact that a few rare spirits know how to transmute it.

    I hope for this couple to have the good luck of transmuting the sorrow.

  52. 52
    Lycanthrope

    It is humbling to encounter suffering of a type and scale that I (as a male) will literally never comprehend.

    What I do understand is this: I have lived all my life with chronic illness and its complications. I cannot inflict this on a child; I will never have children if there is any chance that I could pass on my disorder.

    That I understand. Everything that woman went through after making a similar decision? And being forced by circumstance to make it suddenly? I will never truly understand that.

  53. 53
    Escuerd

    joed @33:

    Voting for any incumbent politician can only solidify the bad guys.

    Seriously? What about incumbents who opposed laws like this?

    looks like you folks let “evil” take over.

    Why “you folks” and not “we”?

    What about those who do go out and vote (and who lobby their legislators against such nasty legislation) but are simply outnumbered by their ignorant, right-wing, plainsbilly neighbors? Is this their fault? Sometimes you can fight hard and still lose.

    It’s good to call people to take action rather than just complaining, but the two things aren’t mutually exclusive. In any sort of democratic system, one of the ways to take action against a law is to raise awareness by complaining about it (to both like-minded people and ones with other views) and to encourage other people to vote accordingly.

  54. 54
    Pteryxx

    So how hard do us progressives in Texas have to fight to prove we’re worthy of respect? Or did we ask for it by not moving out already? Sheesh.

  55. 55
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    If you don’t want anyone to know you’re having an abortion, you can’t take time off to travel. You have to have it and get back to work the next day, concealing any post-operative pain or bleeding.

  56. 56
    hotshoe

    The doctor was remiss in performing the unwanted sonogram. Obeying a command you know to be wrong is still wrong.

    I’m pretty sure the doctor is more concerned about staying on the right side of the law to be able to help his/her patients over the long haul rather than performing a moral act of disobedience which will result in getting the doctor’s license to practice yanked by the state. Then what becomes of the patients?

    There are only a tiny number of doctors who even know how to perform an abortion nowadays, much less who are willing to perform them for Texas women. They could ALL be rounded up and persecuted by the state without any impact on ordinary ob-gyn care; only the women who need abortions would be harmed.

    Now, if all the ob-gyns – including all the non-abortionists – would protest against this law, and maybe get the AMA to take the Texas Leg to court over it, that would be something.

    But asking the individual abortion doctors to not only risk their own livelihood, but to guarantee that their patients will be denied care in the future, for a hopeless solitary protest against the law … that’s not fair.

  57. 57
    hotshoe

    So how hard do us progressives in Texas have to fight to prove we’re worthy of respect? Or did we ask for it by not moving out already? Sheesh

    Sorry, Pteryxx, your life in Texas sucks enough without anyone else dumping on you, even indirectly, for not “voting right” or “protesting harder” or whatever.. You’re worthy of respect already. I know Texas problems are not your fault and not for lack of fighting on your part.

    Hang in there.

  58. 58
    DLC

    I don’t think you people understand : it’s not just Texas.
    The list of states with measures like this either on the books as of 2012 or pending is astounding. practice your google-fu and see for yourself. Yes, it’s that bad, and it’s getting worse.
    And yes, I despise these people for doing what they have done and are doing. And no, I do not expect people to cut and run from their state, or to secede or throw that state out.

  59. 59
    Pteryxx

    I posted a rant on the Pharyngula repeater post, for all the good it’ll do. I just can’t believe the discussion about what the doctors should be doing to finesse this law. Doctors trained and willing to perform abortions are already an endangered species down here.

    Besides, the Texas forced-ultrasound law is designed to funnel patients to Crisis Pregnancy Centers, which have anti-abortion agendas and routinely lie to patients. CPCs have been getting funding to purchase ultrasound equipment and train techs of their own, and THEY won’t have any problem at all spiritually destroying women – that’s what they’re for.

  60. 60
    abusedbypenguins

    The religion known as christianity is nasty, vile, evil and a blight on humanity and the scary part is that islam is worse.

  61. 61
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    I was looking at it just a little while ago: The Right Not to Know” by Carolyn Jones.

  62. 62
    Francisco Bacopa

    Attention People of Texas…

    The time for revolution is NOW!

    I’m working on it. Not sure if peace is the answer.

  63. 63
    Bruce Everett

    It makes me madder and sadder with each reading. How divorced from a sense of other people’s wellbeing does someone have to be to be able to see this kind of scenario as approching anything morally desirable?

    And what sociological scapegoats and red herrings will apologists and left-evangelicals deploy next to prevent religion from being implicated in all of this? (As distinct from merely considering other contributing/overlapping causes like poverty, poor education and institutionalised misogyny.)

  64. 64
    corners

    Perhaps a list of legislators who voted for this law, and perhaps a list of their sponsors could be prepared, and presented to the patients during these same sessions? Anybody know if they had the nerve to do this in a roll-call vote?

  65. 65
    Josh Slocum

    I’m fucking astonished that any doctor would comply with this law as the correspondent reports. What the fucking hell? It’s morally incumbent on any Texas doctor to:

    a. Refuse to torture a patient in this fashion

    b. Stand up publicly and report his/her refusal and stand as the plaintiff (or the defendant, as need be) in a case challenging this evil

    No. Excuse. At. All. For well-placed, financially comfortable doctors to buckle under to this. Yes, I know it’s risky and possibly dangerous to challenge the status quo. But for god’s sake if not the doctors, then who?

    I couldn’t live with myself if I were the MD in this article.

  66. 66
    Pteryxx

    corners: The bill had 88 sponsors and 99 yes votes. Feel free…

    http://tx.opengovernment.org/votes/TXV00001307

  67. 67
    VolcanoMan

    I am hoping that there is a groundswell of rational, sane, anti-authoritarian people in Texas that can take on this evil and ensure, through their voices and votes that the next legislature repeals this law, and that the people who were primarily behind it can be held accountable somehow. I was under the impression that Roe. v. Wade gave all women access to abortions. Putting limitations on that access sounds possibly against the law. Is all that can happen when a state law is passed that violates federal law, that the state law is overturned, or can the theocrats who implemented the law and anyone who voted for it be sued? How can America put a stop to this nonsense unless the people who push for it are brought to justice? They have a right to hold the opinion that abortion is immoral and should be banned, or if that’s not possible, made extremely difficult to get; BUT enforcing that opinion on others (an opinion derived from religious justification, btw), should get them a nice little cell in a cushy country club jail at the very least. They are using their democracy to crush all of the democratic principles it is built on – surely there’s a safeguard in American law that gives the federal government the opportunity to defend democracy.

    Incidentally (and only slightly OT), IMO Obama was a coward for not going after Cheney and Rumsfeld (and even Bush Jr.) for giving permission to torture suspected terrorists. Cheney says it worked, and saved American lives. But personally, I would rather a terrorist not be tortured and an attack not be averted (even if I was one of those killed in the attack), than live in a country where the ideal of inalienable human rights can be trampled on the moment people get scared. Where is the spirit of the revolution in Americans today, the notion that some things are worth dying for? How can America be a leader to the rest of the world if it sets an example such as this? And regarding the Texas case, how can America claim moral superiority over the religious dictatorships of the world if its own politicians are pushing for a theocracy?

    In the meantime, until this law is repealed, here’s a suggestion to ob/gyn’s who want to follow the law and the Hippocratic Oath: earplugs. The law states the doctors have to read all of this stuff to the patient and explain all about their baby, plus a whole bunch of lies and bullshit. The law doesn’t say the patient has to listen. Turning up the volume on the radio, like in the article, was a good idea but it didn’t work, she could still hear. With earplugs, she could be in a totally different place in her head and not hear a word.

  68. 68
    Pteryxx

    But for god’s sake if not the doctors, then who?

    How about EVERYFUCKINBODY ELSE? Jeezus. Why should Texas be an intervention-free zone?

    And “well-placed, financially comfortable”? You have NO idea. That doctor was working at a Planned Parenthood surgical center, while most of the state of Texas is frothing to find any excuse to shut them down. Abortion providers generally can’t disclose what they do because they’ll get threatened, harassed, slapped with fake lawsuits, and often physically attacked. Antis will plant employees and fake patients to troll for violations. And “financially comfortable” is often a joke – some abortion providers donate their services and spend their own money traveling to multiple clinics to reach patients. Any doctor working at a PP in Texas is already one dedicated provider, and that’s why this ultrasound bill is designed to torture THEM too.

  69. 69
    Josh Slocum

    I stand corrected, Pterryx. Oh, lord. It’s so much worse.

  70. 70
    Pteryxx

    I was under the impression that Roe. v. Wade gave all women access to abortions. Putting limitations on that access sounds possibly against the law. Is all that can happen when a state law is passed that violates federal law, that the state law is overturned, or can the theocrats who implemented the law and anyone who voted for it be sued?

    …I find your innocence rather touching and sad, like melting frost.

    All these states passing ever more ridiculous abortion restrictions are hoping for a legal challenge to Roe vs Wade, because it said that women have a right to abortion AND that states could pass “reasonable” restrictions upon that right.

    This particular Texas law has already been challenged in court by the Center for Reproductive Rights. The CRR sought an injunction until the suit was resolved, but an anti-abortion judge ruled that the law could be enforced while the lawsuit is pending. For details:

    http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2011/06/13/week-government-your-texan-uterus

    and

    https://hayladies.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/meet-the-anti-choice-judge-behind-texas-forced-trans-vaginal-ultrasound-decision/

    It so happens that Texas is ALSO violating federal law (or at least policy, I’m not sure) by declaring Planned Parenthood ineligible for Women’s Health Program funding:

    The conservative super-majority has instead decided to use the special session to focus, yet again, on regulating women’s reproductive rights by tagging an amendment on to the state health care bill that would block Planned Parenthood from receiving any of Texas’ Medicaid dollars from its Women’s Health Program (WHP). Indiana legislators have tried a similar tactic, and been told by the federal government that it’s illegal. But that’s not stopping Texas from trying, itself.

    In fact, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott seems downright cocky about his intentions to keep poor women on Medicaid from accessing Planned Parenthood–which provides about 40 percent of preventive services under the WHP. In a ruling earlier this year, Abbott said that the WHP “may not contract with entities that are affiliates of entities that perform or promote elective abortions.” By hoping to redefine the word “affiliate,” Abbott and the conservative Texas legislature hope to keep Medicaid dollars out of the hands of Planned Parenthood, even though their abortion providers are handled under a separate organization.

    Source is the first link above.

  71. 71
    Otrame

    Every single person who is not a fascist and who did not vote in Texas is partially responsible for this shit. If you didn’t vote you don’t get to complain.

    Next time, get your ass to the polls.

  72. 72
    Pteryxx

    Sorry for the rant, Josh. It’s not personal.

    This is a good article about what being an abortion provider is like. It’s about Dr. Mila Means, who hopes to succeed Dr. Tiller in Kansas.

    http://www.kansas.com/2011/06/23/1904507/doctors-plan-for-clinic-continues.html

    That upbringing, and what she calls a non-mainstream approach to her medical practice and her personal life, guided the decision she made about a year ago to try to perform abortions in a city that hasn’t had an abortion clinic since physician George Tiller was murdered by Scott Roeder in May 2009.

    Means plans to form a nonprofit. She hopes to raise $800,000 to $1 million to buy and equip a clinic where she can provide early-term abortions. She would like to open it in 12 to 18 months.

    Her desire to open a clinic comes as the climate for abortion clinics in Kansas grows increasingly prohibitive. Republican lawmakers, encouraged by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, passed several laws this year further restricting abortion, including one with new licensing requirements for clinics.

    Means has been the subject of a lawsuit; has received mail that was investigated by the U.S. Justice Department; and has had anti-abortion protesters show up at her office in southeast Wichita, at her farm in northern Sedgwick County and at office buildings she has looked at as potential abortion clinics.

    Wichita-based anti-abortion organization Operation Rescue says it will do everything it can to prevent the opening of an abortion clinic.

    Means, 54, a longtime Wichita family physician, had publicly been quiet about her plans until recently, when she decided to step into the spotlight by granting interviews to media outlets, including the New York Times.

    She wants to draw attention to an event Friday night at the church where funeral services for Tiller were held. She will appear as part of a panel to discuss what organizers call “the intersection of religion, politics, abortion and terrorism.”

  73. 73
    Vicki

    So, when it’s filling a prescription, people get to opt out but lying is mandatory?

  74. 74
    Pteryxx

    I’m getting sick of you assholes in this thread blaming Texans and writing us off. I don’t see y’all flooding out to victim-blame Virginia, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Kansas, Illinois, Tennessee, Georgia, Arkansas, Florida…

    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/gpr/15/1/gpr150114-maps.html

  75. 75
    Pteryxx

    Damn. They harassed and sued Dr Means out of abortion providing, too.

    http://articles.latimes.com/2012/mar/05/nation/la-na-kansas-abortion-20120305

  76. 76
    yellowsubmarine

    I just finished reading that article and I have never been so saddened and freaked the fuck out all at once. More importantly, one of the commentators at the bottom is spewing all kinds of vile callused nonsense at the bottom. I’d appreciate some help booing her back to whatever hole she sprang from.

  77. 77
    MadScientist

    Is this a real case or contrived? Just wondering … the Texas Vagina Police is an abomination of the self-pious either way, but I don’t care much for fabrications.

  78. 78
    Pteryxx

    MadScientist, justify your claim that the story isn’t credible. Do a better job of it than “she’s a woman” and “it’s on the internet” if you can. Otherwise, go stuff yourself.

  79. 79
    maureen.brian

    Mad Scientist,

    Why would it be a fabrication? This is what the law was designed to do and it’s doing it!

    If you can’t handle straight logic from me then ask Pteryxx who is (a) there and (b) aware that neither the ritual wringing of hands nor self-indulgent head-in-arseholery is an appropriate response.

  80. 80
    Less Evolved Than You Might Think

    This is pretty sickening. A doctor who (presumably) went into the profession with a desire to help people being forced into delivering the psychological equivalent of a lead pipe to the kneecaps to a distraught woman who is attempting to save her unborn child a lifetime of pain, suffering and dependence.

    People talk about the good that religion does in the world in terms of charity work, support, community and so on, but anyone who believes this kind of behaviour is in any way “good” or “righteous” must be worthy of a gold medal at the Cognitive Dissonance Olympics.

  81. 81
    Helen

    Madscientist, for heaven’s sake, it isn’t some obscure thing. There are enough news items in the media. Go and educate yourself. Pffft.

  82. 82
    Less Evolved Than You Might Think

    Madscientist, for heaven’s sake, it isn’t some obscure thing. There are enough news items in the media. Go and educate yourself. Pffft.

    It’s not as easy as you make out. Within my lifetime I hope to see some kind of global system where electronic devices could be used to access an indexed collection of digital information. Only then will people be able to fully research their position before making a statement.

    I firmly believe that once a system such as I describe above is widely available, we will see the end of uninformed ranting and badly-researched and/or ignorant statements.

  83. 83
    zb24601

    Hopefully, this will cause the spontaneous abortion of the careers of those who passed laws like this in Texas, Virginia and other states.

    Let those who voted for these laws know that they were wrong, then vote them out in the next election. Send a message to future politicians.

  84. 84
    richardelguru

    Times like these I almost wish there were a god and a hell so these bastards could rot in it for eternity.
    But there ain’t and they won’t damn it!
    At least, since I became a citizen last year and I live in TX, I can have the pleasure of voting against the slime.

  85. 85
    WharGarbl

    @Ptyrexx
    #70
    Well… looks like picking on PP has some… unintended…
    Texas loses Medicaid funding in effort to spite Planned Parenthood

    “At least 130,000 poor Texas women will lose access to cancer screenings, well-woman exams and contraception.”


    … intended consequence.
    … FUCK!

    Yo poor wimmin! Guess what? Yall life ain’t worth shiat!

  86. 86
    Ophelia Benson

    Hypatia’s daughter @34 – yes this is policy – not so much of rethugs as of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. It is their explicit emphatic insisted-on policy that no abortion may ever be performed in and by a Catholic hospital, very much including to save the woman’s life and even if the fetus is doomed anyway. This came up late in 2010 because of the case at St Joseph’s hospital in Phoenix, which had performed a life-saving abortion in a case where the fetus was doomed no matter what. The bishop of Phoenix tried to force the hospital to sign a written promise never to do such a thing again. Afterward the UCCB issued a firm re-statement of the policy.

    This violates a federal law. The ACLU has been trying to get the Obama admin to enforce the law, but with no success last I heard.

    It’s a fucking outrage. It’s official policy of the US Catholic church that all Catholic hospitals should let women die along with their fetuses rather than abort the fetus.

  87. 87
    JGC

    The doctor’s legally required to describe the baby and read them the script, but is he legally required to ensure they’re listening/ I’d have an Ipod and earbuds on hand for patients (and I’d whisper).

  88. 88
    Ophelia Benson

    And Cody @ 51 – oh hell yes, this is a deliberate strategy of the church all right. And it’s working. In many places a Catholic hospital is the only hospital for hundreds of miles. You’ve been raped and you need emergency contraception? Tough shit.

  89. 89
    Raging Bee

    If Texas secedes, do you really think these idiots will even give women passports to leave their turf, for any reason?

  90. 90
    WharGarbl

    @Raging Bee
    #93

    If Texas secedes, do you really think these idiots will even give women passports to leave their turf, for any reason?

    Let along have the money to leave.

  91. 91
    WharGarbl

    @Pteryxx
    #66

    http://tx.opengovernment.org/votes/TXV00001307

    I got a bad feeling that…

    Yep, my house rep voted FOR that fucker.
    Well, at least he still won’t be getting my vote.

    On education front… it’s interesting that with this in the state CONSTITUTION…

    “…it shall be DUTY OF THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools.”

    … do our state rep actually read their own fucking constitution?

    FUCK!

  92. 92
    StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return!

    So horrible I cannot really imagine it.

    Not properly.

    But at least I know that much and I get a slight appreciation of how utterly appallingly wrong the Coathanger lobby policy is here unlike the cruel, worthless, priviledged-coccooned and zealously wilfully ignorant and uncaring sacks of manure who have imposed this torture on others.

  93. 93
    NathanR

    “Pure evil”. Oh, give me a break. There’s only one person experiencing an absolutely horrible death and its not the mom (or the dad). Seriously, you guys have no idea what true love is. True love is saying “give me the baby”. I will love it. I will care for it. I will try to give it the best life that I possibly can. I will always be there for it, be there through its suffering, its tears, its joys, its fleeting life, etc. To love it and value it and treasure it until its last moments. To give it the love of God that it deserves. Mother Theresa was right about this, even if no person you know measures up to such heroic efforts.

    You are wrong. And, yes, your thoughts are the evil ones.

    And I will protect it from persons like you who profess to know what “evil” is. And don’t go on about the narrow-mindedness of religious persons like me. You don’t even have a philosophical basis for your assertion of what “evil” is. It’s laughable (of course it exists and you often do accurately identify evil, since you do have a conscience and there is such a thing, but again, you have no real intellectual basis for your feelings vs. evil that are often right and true). Again, if you were consistent, would you not realize that your belief in evil is simply faith, or intuition, or whatever, and has nothing to do with reason?

    “If God exists I hope he has a good excuse”. No actually we’re the problem.

    Would I allow for an abortion for the sake of the life of the mother? Yes – we live in a tragic and fallen world where there are sometimes no good choices…

    I hold no hatred for you, only pity. But I see what kinds of people you are – your hatred for the likes of me can know no bounds.

    P.Z. – feel free to reject this message. I won’t be reading any more of the comments here, nor interacting with them. So, it won’t do you any good to respond to me now. If you consider that “trolling” or whatever, that’s fine. Its enough for me that you see this comment. All this said, I frequently appreciate your insights and admire the love and concern you have for your own family. Surely you see that your students (not in your classes, but on the web) are “twice the child of hell” that you are though… (I know you know your Scripture a bit…)

  94. 94
    Norway1

    I laugh everyday watching The Daily Show picking these politically retarded people apart.

    This however, is not funny. Your country is f##ked up. You need to fix it.
    There are alot smarter people in the countries you bomb daily, then most of these lawmakers you have at home in the US.

    Really sad and inept.

  95. 95
    Less Evolved Than You Might Think

    @97 NathanR

    I call “Poe”. I can hope, can’t I?

  96. 96
    Q.E.D

    NathanR’s drive by post and flounce reminded me of Brave Brave Sir Robin

  97. 97
    mdvalero

    Near the end of the article:

    Later, in reviewing the state-mandated paperwork I’d signed, I found a statement about women who may opt out of the new sonogram edict. It seemed that minors, victims of rape or incest, and cases in which the baby has an irreversible abnormality might be spared the extra anguish. I asked the Planned Parenthood staff about this and, after conferring privately, they thought that my child’s condition might have exempted me from the new sonogram rules. They apologized for their uncertainty, explaining that the law was so new they’d not had a chance to understand what it means in practice. “Could I have skipped the 24-hour wait, too?” I asked, wondering whether that extra day of distress might have been avoided. “No,” a staffer replied, “the mandatory wait applies to everyone.”

    A few weeks later, I decided to clarify this for myself. I asked the Department of State Health Services, the agency responsible for implementing the sonogram law, who exactly is exempt. The department responded by email: “A woman would still be subject to the sonogram but would not be required to hear an explanation of the sonogram images if she certifies in writing that her fetus has an irreversible medical condition as identified by a reliable diagnostic procedure and documented in her medical file.” Based on this reply, it seems that the torturous description I’d borne was just a clerical mistake…

    So this woman shouldn’t have had to go through this, but I can’t believe that they f-ing mandated that rape/incest victims have to get the sonogram. Even if they don’t have to hear the description, they’ve already been through enough.

  98. 98
    Ophelia Benson

    Hoooooooo-boy – we have no idea what true love is, because true love is gestating a person who will be in constant pain for his (this one was a boy) entire life.

    Plus Nathan thinks I’m PZ. Whatever.

  99. 99
    Francisco Bacopa

    I might also add that the larger Planned Parenthood buildings in the Houston are designed for resistance to bombs. Thick walls with air gaps and baffles, small, thick windows, stuff like that.

  100. 100
    chigau (違う)

    Plus Nathan thinks I’m PZ

    Now that is funny.

  101. 101
    Michael Zeora

    I… have no words that could properly explain the anger I feel towards my State’s Government (I live in Texas) that could ever properly explain without looking a little well… Terrorist-y.

    I hope these happenstances push my fellow Texans to do the right thing and toss that One-Note Backwards-Facing Governer and all his kin out of office.

    And first order of business should be to repeal this law forcing such absolute BS to be heard not only by the women who have abortions, but by the doctors who are forced to say it.

  102. 102
    Jado

    “This is pure evil.”

    Well, then…Mission Accomplished!!!

  103. 103
    left0ver1under

    Emu Sam #6 says: “Depending on where you live in Texas, it can take eight hours to get to another state by driving, and then you’re in Louisiana, Oklahoma, or New Mexico. Mexico might be easier.”

    That’s the whole point, isn’t it? To make it difficult, if not impossible for those without wealth to get medical care.

    Such barbaric laws make the bible belt look like the Iron Curtain of the late 1980s: It might be possible to sneak out through Hungary or Yugoslavia, but those who wanted to get out of East Germany directly were out of luck unless they were wealthy enough to go south through several countries.

    The problem with that analogy is that the bible belt wall is being built instead of dismantled.

  104. 104
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    NathanR, since I sincerely doubt you’re not at least lurking still: You are not only a sadistic piece of shit, but you are a stupid one as well.

    BTW, Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu glorified the suffering of others, the poorest of the earth, while obtaining for herself the best medical treatment possible. She was toxic waste in a habit, and it would give me great pleasure to empty my bowels on her grave.

  105. 105
    Kitana

    While I support the right of a woman’s choice (especially in extreme cases) you have to realize that you are ending a future life and take responsibility. It should NOT be easy. It SHOULD be the hardest thing you’ve ever done.

    I’m sure a lot of people would be more comfortable if it were all hush-hush, you make the decision, go in to a doctor, get hustled into a back room, and presto! it’s gone. Easy as removing a tumor and about as personal. That way they don’t have to really THINK about what they are doing.
    I support a woman’s right to abortion and I do not believe in God, and yet I agree with those restrictions. It’s a basic matter of human rights.

    I don’t feel those rules are in place to bully the mother, but rather to give a life that can’t speak for itself one last chance to exist. It’s not a tumor. It’s a baby. If I could not speak for myself I know I would want someone to take one last stand for me, even against someone doing what they think is best.

    So yes, I do feel bad for this woman, but no, I do not feel she should have been spared her ordeal.

  106. 106
    A. R

    There’s only one person experiencing an absolutely horrible death and its not the mom (or the dad). Seriously, you guys have no idea what true love is. True love is saying “give me the baby”. I will love it. I will care for it. I will try to give it the best life that I possibly can. I will always be there for it, be there through its suffering, its tears, its joys, its fleeting life, etc. To love it and value it and treasure it until its last moments. To give it the love of God that it deserves. Mother Theresa was right about this, even if no person you know measures up to such heroic efforts.

    Person? Its a fetus with impaired brain and neural function that will likely die days or weeks after delivery. You cannot give it a comfortable life, or death for that matter. By the way, Theresa of Calcutta was a sadistic power hungry lapdog to some of the worst figures in recent history. She was not a hero.

  107. 107
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Fuck you, Kitana. It is MY body. I do not need you or other sanctimonious assholes throwing obstacles in my way in order to comply with your vaunted sense of ‘morality.”

    If I ever have the misfortune to get pregnant, I will get the uterine parasite removed with no regret whatsoever, as all these women did.

  108. 108
    Dianne

    It’s a baby.

    No, it’s not. It’s a fetus. Or an embryo or zygote. Most abortions are performed on embryos, not fetuses, even.

    If you can’t name 5 major biological differences between a fetus and a baby without thinking about it too hard, you should fail freshman biology.

  109. 109
    A. R

    So yes, I do feel bad for this woman, but no, I do not feel she should have been spared her ordeal.

    And why not? At this point, she was already emotionally distraught. Why make it worse?

  110. 110
    Dianne

    I do feel bad for this woman, but no, I do not feel she should have been spared her ordeal.

    Why? This woman is having an abortion of a wanted pregnancy because the fetus is too malformed to live. There is no chance of the ordeal doing anything but adding to her suffering. She will never have a living baby. She really has no reasonable options except to go through with the procedure. I can only conclude that you’re saying that you’re a sadist who wants to impose his/her desires on unwilling women. There is no “pro-life” position in your statements. Only pro-suffering, anti-life.

  111. 111
    Avicenna

    It’s kind of stupid that doctors have to follow a blatantly moronic rule about this.

    Because we can tell you why the restriction of abortion is placed at 24 weeks.

    24 weeks is when the foetus is considered human because it has a 50% chance of survival post delivery. At 28 weeks we can provide a survival rate of 96%. We actually give (a now very expensive drug since Progesterone is a monopoly and the drug value is now exorbitantly high for this preparation) drugs to postpone premature birth till this stage. My nephew was born at this age last year. Doctors did everything in their power to save his life.

    It’s not so cut and shut as people think. It’s a baby and a foetus depending on who sees it. If the mother wants a baby then the foetus is a baby. If the mother doesn’t then the baby is a foetus. Ultimately it’s what we tell ourselves to feel better about the choice and it’s a projection of what we want out of the little bundle of cells.

    But that choice is VITAL. And it says a lot, it’s a difficult fucking choice to make. It’s not one embarked upon lightly in the west. This? This is a ridiculously amount of crap that patients and doctors have to face in order to do a procedure that saves lives and improves lives.

    And it shows. The doctor HAS to read out a frankly idiotic script to not lose his license. And they get around the script by playing music over the top so you cannot hear the words that make you unhappy.

    Why? No other fucking procedure has this requirement. We don’t separate conjoined twins by regaling parents of the functionality of the twin who is most likely to die from the procedure. We don’t tell patients about ANY procedure in this way shape or form. If we sold surgery solely on risk then no one would have surgery. Why should abortions be any different?

    And as usual we have people like Nathan R discussing unconditional love…

    I know a mother who was so in love with her kids that she threw herself out of a window for them. She was pregnant. She couldn’t afford to feed 3 children. A fourth would have been impossible to feed. When you have 4 children and enough food for 3, it is not 1 child that starves but all four.

    Is that not love? Because what Nathan R describes is not Unconditional Love but obsessive love. It’s the inability to think of what is best for your child and merely what is best for yourself.

    Mother Theresa had good intentions warped by her faith and raped by the Catholic Church. Rather than money going to the house for the dying money was siphoned into convents and schools. While the House for the Dying remained a hell hole. Because hell holes generate money. She had no grasp of healthcare including encouraging TB patients to avoid medical care (Indian TB medical care is free) to come sit in her home for the dying. Many patients were healthy until they were shoved into unsanitary conditions filled with TB. Her stance on Condoms, Sex Ed and the like resulted in her campaigning against birth control and proper sex education. In short? She was a complete idiot when it came to proper healthcare for women.

  112. 112
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    While I support the right of a woman’s choice (especially in extreme cases) you have to realize that you are ending a future life and take responsibility.

    Funny how you are defending this one instance while these people are actively working on even more fronts. You do realize that using contraceptives prevents a future. You do realize that having sex without the possibility of future life denies what the act of sex is supposed to be for.

    So, you do not like the idea of an abortion? Here is what you do, you take responsibility and carry the fetus to full term. Not all women think that ending a pregnancy early on is the HARDEST THING THEY WILL EVER DO.

    Here is one question. How many future lives has your body ended (I am assuming that you are a woman.) because the fetus never connected to the uterine wall? Because the uterus detected an anomaly and rejected the fetus? Didn’t these future lives deserve the same chance as the aborted fetus?

    Where is your outrage?

  113. 113
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Avicenna:

    It’s a baby and a foetus depending on who sees it. If the mother wants a baby then the foetus is a baby. If the mother doesn’t then the baby is a foetus. Ultimately it’s what we tell ourselves to feel better about the choice and it’s a projection of what we want out of the little bundle of cells.

    Why, gosh, you’d almost think that it was up to the woman to decide what was happening in her own body, wouldn’t you?

    Mother Theresa had good intentions warped by her faith and raped by the Catholic Church.

    Whatever supposed “good intentions” she had were worth precisely jack and shit. She was entirely morally responsible for the role she played in the misery she helped perpetuate.

    Also, don’t fucking use “rape” as a metaphor, kthx.

  114. 114
    Dianne

    It’s a baby and a foetus depending on who sees it. If the mother wants a baby then the foetus is a baby. If the mother doesn’t then the baby is a foetus.

    Biologically, it’s a fetus until it’s born. Then it’s a baby. People call it a “baby” because that sounds friendlier than “fetus”, but it’s not a baby until it’s born. There are significant biological differences between a fetus and a baby.

    While it’s true that an otherwise healthy newborn of 28 weeks gestation has a reasonable prognosis, abortion of an otherwise healthy fetus gestating in a generally healthy mother is rare to unheard of. Quite simply, third trimester and late second trimester abortions are virtually always performed because the fetus has a defect incompatible with life or the mother is too unhealthy to either continue the pregnancy or tolerate labor/c-section.

    Occasionally, there are 20+ week abortions for fetal demise of one twin in order to try to save the second twin. But the famous “can’t fit into my prom dress” abortion-it almost doesn’t happen. The only cases I’ve heard of even in the illegal or semi-legal setting are all cases where the pregnant woman could not get an abortion earlier due to legal blocks or lack of funds. So one way to prevent late term “elective” abortion is to make abortion more available early on.

  115. 115
    Jadehawk

    Mother Theresa was right about this, even if no person you know measures up to such heroic efforts.

    why am I not surprised that anti-choicers would support that hypocritical, sadistic ghoul. “heroic” my ass, she was a torturer.

    You don’t even have a philosophical basis for your assertion of what “evil” is.

    of course we do, and a better one than you do, since it’s based on the real world rather than millennia-old fantasy and the ramblings of authoritarian doodz with complexes.

    you have no real intellectual basis

    says the religious troll. lol.

    your hatred for the likes of me can know no bounds.

    oh, that’s not true. unlike you, we generally don’t stoop to torturing people.

    P.Z. –

    either this is addressed to the wrong blog-writer, or the writer doesn’t know how to spell P.S.; either way, hi-fucking-larious.

    I won’t be reading any more of the comments here, nor interacting with them.

    coward and willfully ignorant troll.

    . It should NOT be easy. It SHOULD be the hardest thing you’ve ever done.

    no it shouldn’t be, you ghoul. women should not be tortured for exercising their right to bodily autonomy.

    . It’s a basic matter of human rights.

    so from this I’m forced to conclude that you don’t think women are human, since their fetuses have human rights, but they themselves don’t.

    I don’t feel those rules are in place to bully the mother, but rather to give a life that can’t speak for itself one last chance to exist.

    so do you have think a representative of PETA or the ALF should be at all times present in slaughterhouses, describing in detail the life and suffering of the animals being turned into steaks and bacon? because let’s face it, your average cow and especially pig has more right to not be killed than an embryo or a fetus that is going to die painfully soon anyway.

    If I could not speak for myself I know I would want someone to take one last stand for me, even against someone doing what they think is best.

    so because you are having existential angst, you’re ok with women being tortured? how incredibly, egomaniacally selfish.

  116. 116
    Diane G.

    We need to set up an underground railroad sorta thing to get these women to a decent state. Only it should be blatantly above ground, of course.

  117. 117
    twincats

    This doctor reported that her Catholic hospital subjected patients with ectopic pregnancies to unnecessary delays in treatment, despite patients’ exhibiting serious symptoms indicating that a tubal rupture was possible.

    There is actually very concrete action that can be taken against this and it doesn’t involve arguing with any pols or Catholics at all.

    If you are a woman, find out from your OB/GYN (if you have one) if they are affiliated with any Catholic hospitals or clinics. (or others that have the same sorts of rules) If the answer is yes, tell him/her you are going to find another doctor and why you are doing it and then do it.

    I realize that this isn’t universally possible, but if enough women can do it, it will be a noticeable vote of no confidence in the Catholic health care systems’ ability/willingness to care for women.

  118. 118
    elonin

    Twincat As the entry stated many hospitals are religiously affiliated. Better answer is to require churches to play by the rules when opening side businesses.

    Who would accept it if a church decided to open a fast food restaurant but didn’t comply with food safety guidelines?

  119. 119
    Agostino

    Call it a foetus, zygote, baby, whatever all that is is just stages of the development of a human being. It is absolutely incredible that so many here just don’t give a rat’s ass about the rights of the human being whose life was terminated.

    The rights of the unborn need protecting. Millions of humans, whose lives are terminated, needlessly. Just wrong, and the fact that so many of you here are OK with this, scares me shitless.

  120. 120
    Ophelia Benson

    Churches and other religious institutions shouldn’t have anything substantive to do with health care at all. (I say “substantive” because if they want to provide chaplains or whatever for people who want them, that seems ok.) Health care should be a secular scientifically-oriented system, staffed by people with good people skills as well as medical skills. Religion is just totally beside the point at best, and at worst it’s a demon from hell.

  121. 121
    Agostino

    If it wasn’t for the Church, a large percentage of people worldwide wouldn’t even have access to healthcare.

  122. 122
    Diane G.

    This article needs updating, but the take-home message stands:

    “…so-called religious hospitals are more public than public hospitals.”

    http://atheists.org/content/question-atheists-hospitals

  123. 123
    Algonquin on the Bayou a/k/a Sharon

    “I closed my eyes and waited for it to end, as one waits for the car to stop rolling at the end of a terrible accident.”

    Vivid! Horrifying!

  124. 124
    Godless Heathen

    Pteryxx @74,

    According to that map, Illinois is supportive of abortion rights (which is what I thought).

    Just wanted to defend my home state. :-)

  125. 125
    Jadehawk

    If it wasn’t for the Church, a large percentage of people worldwide wouldn’t even have access to healthcare.

    which really just tells you how screwed up our world is, when a totalitarian organization is the only thing keeping people from dying. Though, it should be noted that in many cases this isn’t necessary. Plenty of money is available (or could be made available if money going to religious organizations were channeled more effectively to secular organizations or as taxes) to make secular healthcare provision a standard across the developed world and parts of the developing world.

  126. 126
    Algonquin on the Bayou a/k/a Sharon

    I’ve always said we shouldn’t wait for Texas to secede from the Union. We should be proactive and GIVE it back to Mexico.

    Why would Mexico want it?

  127. 127
    XXIst Century (now on Daylight Time) Vole

    There is something within me that I call (for lack of a better term) a soul, and it is now shattered….

  128. 128
    Rick Schauer

    It’s a grotesque groupthink, similar to when penned-up pigs attack runts or crips to make more room at the trough – they are sacrificing and raping womens’ emotions – demonizing them with unfathomable and willfully ignorant tripe. What a bunch of fucking asshats!

  129. 129
    geraldwilgus

    This makes me profoundly ashamed of my country. The thought of such uncaring cruelty makes me ill.

  130. 130
    dianne

    all that is is just stages of the development of a human being

    So are unfertilized gametes. How many tears do you shed for an unfertilized oocyte?

    Do you have any idea how life is distinguished from death medically? What has to be absent for a person to be declared “dead”? Hint: It’s not the heart that “pro-lifers”, harking back to old superstitions, fetishize.

    the fact that so many of you here are OK with this, scares me shitless.

    Well, cupcake, the fact that you’re happy as a clam with slavery scares some of us as well.

    If you really wanted to save zygotes, you wouldn’t be bothering with the relatively few that die in abortions, you’d be more worried about the 80% or so that die from spontaneous pregnancy loss. Yet I’ve never heard a “pro-life” advocate express the least bit of concern about the “babies” who die because of early failure of pregnancy. Where’s the call for research into the cause? Where are the foundations to prevent miscarriage? Where are the fundraising events, a la Susan Komen?

    The answer is “nowhere”. The reason is that you don’t believe that a single celled organism is a person either, no matter what its genetics. It’s a scam to enslave women, end of story.

  131. 131
    Lance Baker

    That was one of the saddest things I’ve read for many a long day. I’m a 51 year old ex soldier and that brought tears to my eyes. I have six children, all healthy and yet, had we been in similar circumstances, we would have done exactly what you did, which is this only humane thing to do. I can only begin to imagine the psychological stress this entire situation must have caused. Fortunately we live in Australia where sanity still prevails and this nightmare does not have to be faced. Your entire country is starting to sound like a theocracy from over here; rightly or wrongly. I would love to visit the U.S. but I don’t believe I could live there with this sort of medieval, religiously inspired mental torment being promoted by those running the place.

  132. 132
    yellowsubmarine

    I fully agree Lance. Alas I am stuck in the good Ol’ Amurika. Someone get me outa here. By the time they’re done I’m afraid I wont even get to vote anymore.

  133. 133
    Avicenna

    Ms. Daisy Cutter –

    I work with the sort of people that Mother Theresa did. Let’s just say that if she was willing to hang out with these people then she was pretty badass. Credit where it’s due, she hung out with infectious people who had no hope as they lay dying where people normally just ignored them.

    Detracting from her actual human qualities is what the bloody church does. It’s not enough that she tried in her own limitted and biased way to improve the lives of people. Leave it at that. That’s an amazing goal and she did do a fair bit for people who were actively dying. I am not aware of any attempts she made to convert people on their deaths (I have gone to the house before), to visit when I was younger and to volunteer when I was older.

    The fact remains is that she was a human being who loved people. We aren’t discussing her flaws or her stupid faith. We are discussing the fact she sat in some of the most heart wrenching and soul destroying environments to try and give some people hope in the only way she thought was right.

    Instead her death has turned into this bizzare charade of faith and magic in order to milk money out of her. Even legacies can be violated. Respect Theresa for her achievements, she isn’t above criticism but remember that she sat in a Calcutta slum. We have not.

  134. 134
    setar, too lazy to log in on his blackberry

    Avicenna, read before responding. Nothing was exactly what Mother Teresa DID. She ENCOURAGED people to come and receive nothing even when they could get REAL TREATMENT for — get this — NOTHING!

    And the money bit didn’t just start after her death — but that’s just me being an actual honest skeptic and taking into account the tours she embarked on in life. In first class. For not just permitting but encouraging people to come and die without treatment at her hovel for the dying.

    You are — likely inadvertantly — a sick excuse for a human being for attempting to defend Mother Teresa.

  135. 135
    Matt Penfold

    Detracting from her actual human qualities is what the bloody church does. It’s not enough that she tried in her own limitted and biased way to improve the lives of people. Leave it at that. That’s an amazing goal and she did do a fair bit for people who were actively dying. I am not aware of any attempts she made to convert people on their deaths (I have gone to the house before), to visit when I was younger and to volunteer when I was older.

    She did nothing. She let people die in agony because she considered it good for their souls.

    Of course when she got cancer she made sure she got the best possible treatment, and when it was clear the cancer was going to kill her she got the best possible palliative care.

    It is very telling you think that allowing people to die in agony is a good thing. What a piss poor excuse for a human you are.

  136. 136
    Ophelia Benson

    Avicenna – MT could perfectly well have gotten medical training in order to give real help to the poor in Calcutta. Just “sitting” with them doesn’t cut it. You’re defending the indefensible.

  137. 137
    julian

    We are discussing the fact she sat in some of the most heart wrenching and soul destroying environments to try and give some people hope in the only way she thought was right.

    The problem being the ways she thought were right didn’t involve pain relief and moralizing about the wonders of suffering because it would bring them closer to God.

    I’m not hostile to the idea our intentions and motivations matter but it’s pretty clear that providing ineffective help is as helpful as providing no help.

  138. 138
    Matt Penfold

    I’m not hostile to the idea our intentions and motivations matter but it’s pretty clear that providing ineffective help is as helpful as providing no help.

    I think it is pretty clear her motivation and intention was not to provide proper medical care, even if because of lack of resources it had to be basic care (morphine is not an expensive drug), but to make her feel good.

  139. 139
    Ms. Daisy Cutter, General Manager for the Cleveland Steamers

    Avicenna, you FUCKING MORON, she let them die in agony and wouldn’t even give them painkillers because their suffering was pweshus unto jeeeezussssss. Google the phrase “Jesus is kissing you.”

    I pity your future patients, having an idiot such as yourself for a doctor.

  140. 140
    tarentolamauritanica

    Only a semireligious country could invent such a nonsense.

  141. 141
    Chiroptera

    Augustino, #123: Call it a foetus, zygote, baby, whatever all that is is just stages of the development of a human being.

    And that’s all it is, just another stage in the development. Calling it a “fetus” is far more accurate than calling it a “baby.”

    -

    It is absolutely incredible that so many here just don’t give a rat’s ass about the rights of the human being whose life was terminated.

    Well, I give more than a rat’s ass about a woman whose life would have been terminated if her doctors had followed a dumbass bishop’s orders.

  142. 142
    Jac

    I feel for this woman and her partner. It is horrendous news to hear your longed for child has a likely terminal condition or very short life. We went through it. After a lot of reflection we felt our pain would be compounded by choosing to terminate. A distant relative of mine had a severely handicapped child, Richard. He did die at 5 years but he brought a lot of love and compassion, laughs (and tears) into their house and they never regretted having him. So we left it in the hands of fate. Our little guy/gal passed away in utero at four and a half months so nature decided.
    Sometimes I think we’re so keen to act on an issue immediately we can cause ourselves even more distress. The Texas laws are draconian and are certainly imperfect. Maybe our great grand parents had the right idea – dig deep, deal with the cards your dealt with and do your best.

  143. 143
    Cathryn

    This has to stop. There is no way anyone will convince me that this is right.

  144. 144
    Rei

    In my line of work, I see a lot of people suffering horribly. Should it be legal for me to play God and kill them, just so they don’t suffer in my opinion?
    If it’s ok to kill a 3rd trimester unborn child, why not a “4th trimester”?
    Suffering is unacceptable, but killing is all right? Where does one get his or her morals, his or her standard of right and wrong?

  145. 145
    Ophelia Benson

    Why are you talking about the third trimester? In this case it was second trimester.

  146. 146
    dianne

    Rei, do you oppose do not resuscitate orders? Palliative care? Is turning off a respirator “playing god”?

    On the other side of things, do you favor mandatory organ and tissue donation from living donors? Should people be forced to give blood, regardless of the possible damage to their health, in order to save others? Do you even donate blood?

    Do you understand the difference between a fetus and a baby? There are a number of biological differences that anyone with a college education should be able to name without difficulty. Some of them have distinct ethical implications. Which is why talking about the “fourth trimester” is a particularly foolish argument to make.

  147. 147
    Pteryxx

    Godless Heathen @128:

    Pteryxx @74,

    According to that map, Illinois is supportive of abortion rights (which is what I thought).

    Just wanted to defend my home state.

    Good point, I didn’t match my states up with the map correctly. However, y’all in Illinois might want to watch for this:

    SPRINGFIELD, Ill. • Anti-abortion state legislators are once again trying to get a bill onto the Illinois House floor via the barn door.
    A bill that would impose tough new standards on facilities that perform abortions (HB4117) is slated for a hearing in the House Agriculture & Conservation Committee later this month. Committee votes are the first hurdle that a bill must overcome to get to the House floor, with the bills generally assigned to committees by topic.
    So what does abortion have to do with “agriculture & conservation”?
    Nothing. But that particular committee—because it usually deals with farm and hunting issues—is controlled by lawmakers from rural or downstate areas. And in Illinois’ heavily geographic politics, rural and downstate lawmakers (of both parties) tend to be the ones most likely to oppose abortion rights.

    Source

  148. 148
    Godless Heathen

    Pteryxx @154:

    Oh, crap. I hadn’t heard about that or about the bill making it to the house floor last year (for what it’s worth, I was more concerned with job-hunting, getting a job, and moving to the East Coast).

    Anyway, ick. I’ll have to pay attention to this. Too bad I can’t vote there anymore.

    Thanks for the heads up.

  149. 149
    Godless Heathen

    Info on the “Ultrasound Opportunity Act,” for any readers who can vote in Illinois:

    ACLU Opposes HB 4085

    HB 4085

    From the text of the bill:

    the referring physician,…shall offer any woman seeking an abortion after 7 weeks of gestation an opportunity to receive and view an active ultrasound of her unborn child

    An opportunity? Blech. I don’t read legalese, so I’m sure whether it will be required to do the ultrasound or not, but even if it isn’t, it’s the first stop on the way to requiring ultrasounds and waiting periods. GAH. I thought Illinois had too many liberals to let this happen!

  150. 150
    Pteryxx

    Thanks, GH. This crap’s going on under the radar in a coordinated effort, and it’ll take all the allies to fight it.

    GAH. I thought Illinois had too many liberals to let this happen!

    Heh *pat pat* welcome to where I was a few months ago.

  151. 151
    Godless Heathen

    Heh *pat pat* welcome to where I was a few months ago.

    Thanks… :-)

    Given this, I’m interested to see how today’s primary turns out. I’m 95% sure that Romney will win, but maybe not…

  152. 152
    MOM5

    I agree with JAC above- I have had several friends get told their unborn child had problems and they stressed and worried the entire pregnancy only to find out when the baby was born that there was nothing wrong? With my last two pregnancies I rejected the tests for spino-bifida, (however you spell it) etc because there is NOTHING a doc can do to fix it before the baby is born anyway? And my question is this… If abortion is only killing a “fetus” not a “baby” or your future child, why would it be so upsetting for a doctor to name all of the parts of the so called “fetus”, something everyone who supports abortion doesn’t associate with a child? Seems hypocritical? In fact all of the fowl language associated with the anger about this post only further solidifies my opinion of hypocritical…

  153. 153
    Ophelia Benson

    Because in this case the parents wanted the baby, so they naturally thought of it as a baby. They didn’t think of it as a baby as a way to try to bully other women into continuing pregnancies that they didn’t want to continue.

    I support the right to abortion, but I have no problem whatever with people talking about “the baby” the minute they learn they’re pregnant. Calling every fetus a baby (let alone a child) is not the same as that.

  154. 154
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    Fowl language? BWAAAK bukbukbukbuk B’KAAAW!

    And frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn for your prissiness about language. Anybody who *isn’t* angry about this is the morally problematic one here.

  155. 155
    MOM5

    excuse my typo Alethea-”foul”- just my opinion of course but there ARE ways to express anger in intelligent ways. I just find it hypocritical as this was posted on my FB with the most disgusting comments and it seems somewhat sad that people who support abortion would debase themselves by expressing their anger in the most disgraceful way at a doc following scientific protocol- when most who support abortion don’t consider the fetus a “baby” anyway, whether or not the couple in the article did?

  1. 156
    I Never Want to Have an Abortion « grimalkinblog

    [...] then, I’d have to go through this, a description of a sonogram. To be honest, I don’t think it would make me feel bad. What it [...]

  2. 157
    BMJ Group blogs: Journal of Medical Ethics blog » Blog Archive » How Abortion Law Works in Texas

    [...] them.  Well, via Ophelia, here’s an account of what really happens. Halfway through my pregnancy, I learned that my [...]

  3. 158
    Right-Wing War on Women: Rick Perry and the Texas Taliban (“This is pure evil”) « Designated Driver of North America

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  4. 159
    prairie dog magazine | dog blog

    [...] In case you’re wondering what impact that law is having on women, Ophelia Benson at Butterflies & Wheels tells one woman’s horrifying tale. [...]

  5. 160
    To Deserve Hell | veganatheistblog

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  6. 161
    Results of the War on Women, 2012 « Foster Disbelief

    [...] Butterflies and Wheels: So there’s this couple in Texas looking forward to their second baby, a brother for their [...]

  7. 162
    In the name of the Texas GOP, I thee rape « One Utah

    [...] Posted by Shane Smith in Health Care on March 17th, 2012 For some reason I really thought this would get more response than it has. Something about the image of a woman already heart broken by [...]

  8. 163
    naccyyc

    [...] if to underscore the point, Ophelia Benson just posted this sad tale that shows one anecdote of how the anti-choicers really do try to remove choice, if not literally [...]

  9. 164
    The Great Ladyparts Scare of 2012 « The Bitter Homeschooler

    [...] those three steps I just mentioned. Because we’d still have horribly sad stories like this one. And our opponents would still insist that it’s all perfectly simple, thank you. No need for [...]

  10. 165
    The Great Ladyparts Scare of 2012 » Bitter Notes

    [...] those three steps I just mentioned. Because we’d still have horribly sad stories like this one. And our opponents would still insist that it’s all perfectly simple, thank you. No need for [...]

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