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Oct 03 2012

Over 140 medical professionals

Great. There was a “symposium” in Ireland at which some boffins concluded to their own satisfaction that “abortion is not necessary to save the mother’s life in any circumstance” so PersonhoodUSA naturally gives a yell of triumph. Go right ahead and force Catholic hospitals to let pregnant women die rather than provide an abortion, Catholic church!

According to the Irish organization Youth Defence, “Leading medical experts speaking at a major International Symposium on Excellence in Maternal Healthcare held in Dublin have concluded that ‘direct abortion is not medically necessary to save the life of a mother.’”

Over 140 medical professionals attended the Symposium where new research and extensive clinical experience was presented by experts in obstetrics and gynecology, mental health, and molecular epidemiology. The symposium’s final determinations were published in a declaration titled “Dublin Declaration on Maternal Healthcare” which reads:

“As experienced practitioners and researchers in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, we affirm that direct abortion is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman. We uphold that there is a fundamental difference between abortion, and necessary medical treatments that are carried out to save the life of the mother, even if such treatment results in the loss of life of her unborn child. We confirm that the prohibition of abortion does not affect, in any way, the availability of optimal care to pregnant women.”

Science has spoken! Well, at least medical expertise has spoken. Or some medical expertise has spoken. Or a bit of medical expertise combined with an agenda has spoken.

45 comments

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  1. 1
    Uncle Glenny

    I can’t wrap my head around the penultimate sentence you quoted.

    So, chemotherapy that killed the fetus would be OK? Am I just sleep deprived?

  2. 2
    Eamon Knight

    There’s some serious weasel-wording going on in that last paragraph, with the Doctrine of Double Effect lurking just beneath the surface. I think they’re leaving an opening whereby you can treat medical conditions of the mother, even though it may or will kill the fetus, but that’s not an abortion because you didn’t really mean to (and why that couldn’t be applied to the infamous Brazil or Phoenix cases, I don’t know).

    Because in Catholic moral theology, intentions *are* magic.

  3. 3
    Kausik Datta

    “…We uphold that there is a fundamental difference between abortion, and necessary medical treatments that are carried out to save the life of the mother, even if such treatment results in the loss of life of her unborn child.”(Emphasis mine)

    Wow!! That is some amazing verbal jugglery there to reconcile between medical fact and religious injunction.

  4. 4
    machintelligence

    We uphold that there is a fundamental difference between abortion, and necessary medical treatments that are carried out to save the life of the mother, even if such treatment results in the loss of life of her unborn child.

    Well, they might believe that, but I doubt that the RCC does.

  5. 5
    dshetty

    where new research and extensive clinical experience was presented by experts in obstetrics and gynecology, mental health, and molecular epidemiology
    This new research will be reviewed and published in reputed journals – right next to those extensively researched articles about ID.

  6. 6
    Randomfactor

    We confirm that the prohibition of abortion does not affect, in any way, the availability of optimal care to pregnant women.

    By redefining “optimal care” to mean “to hell with the incubator.”

  7. 7
    Gordon

    Rumour has it that most of Youth Defense’s supporters are actually American.

  8. 8
    ImaginesABeach

    I have heard it said that a D&E is not an abortion if done to preserve the life of the woman. In that case, it’s a medical procedure, and one of the side effects is termination of the pregnancy.

  9. 9
    Kevin K

    Apparently, ectopic pregnancies are “real” pregnancies.

    And as to chemotherapy that kills the fetus not being an abortion, that’s exactly the way the Santorums are able to justify their believe they did not engage in the practice.

    She was given a massive dose of antibiotics to save her life, with the known side effect of terminating the pregnancy. Oh no, that’s not an abortion. Because they didn’t wish the pregnancy to end, it was merely the inevitable outcome — apparently if you think magic thoughts, it’s different.

    But RU-286 is abortion. Cuz the difference between the two approaches is … well …. um …. er ….

  10. 10
    sunny

    Or a bit of medical expertise [in IRELAND] combined with an agenda has spoken.

  11. 11
    Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle

    By redefining “optimal care” to mean “to hell with the incubator.”

    That’s def the RCC’s position, but this:

    “We uphold that there is a fundamental difference between abortion, and necessary medical treatments that are carried out to save the life of the mother, even if such treatment results in the loss of life of her unborn child.”

    Perhaps I’m wrong, but that reads to me like, “FINE! We won’t call it “abortion”, but we’re not going to stop doing it.”

  12. 12
    Ian MacDougall

    I’m sure there is a term for ‘starting out with what you want to prove, and then finding justification for it’.

    Science? No. That starts with facts and follows with explanations.

    Witchcraft? A distinct possibility.

    There is a term for it, I’m sure.

  13. 13
    Gregory in Seattle

    “As experienced practitioners and researchers in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, we affirm that direct abortion is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman.”

    That is an exceptionally broad statement for an actual medical practitioner to make, given the vast number of possible medical situations. Never, ever?

    Who were the people who participated, and what are their credentials?

  14. 14
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    It seems impossible to find a link to the actual Dublin Declaration containing the signatories to the Declaration. It’s impossible to tell who among the supposed 140 attendees actually agreed with the Declaration, who dissented (if anyone) or who would have expressed a more nuanced opinion if given the chance.
    The organizing committee which put on the event is chaired by

    Professor Eamon O’Dwyer, MAO, LLB, FRCPI, FRCOG. Professor Emeritus, Gynaecology and Obstetrics, NUI Galway.

    Speakers at the event (not necessarily all in agreement with the Declaration):

    Byron C. Calhoun, Professor and Vice-Chair, Dept of Obstetrics and Gynecology, West Virginia University-Charleston
    Frederic Amant, Specialist in Gynecologic Oncology, UZ Gasthuisberg, Leuven
    Priscilla K. Coleman, Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, Bowling Green State University in Ohio
    Elard Koch, Institute of Molecular Epidemiology (MELISA), Center of Embryonic Medicine and Maternal Health, Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción
    Jean Kagia, Consultant Obstetrician/ Gynaecologist, Private Practice
    Monique V. Chireau, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Duke University Medical Center
    John Monaghan, Consultant Obstetrician/ Gynaecologist, Portiuncula Hospital, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway
    Eamon O’Dwyer, Professor Eamon O’Dwyer, NUI Galway

    see the Symposium’s site

  15. 15
    Argle Bargle

    Ian MacDougall #12

    There is a term for it, I’m sure.

    Wishful thinking comes close as does sophistry but perhaps bullshit is the correct term.

  16. 16
    anne mariehovgaard

    (…) direct abortion is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman. We uphold that there is a fundamental difference between abortion, and necessary medical treatments that are carried out to save the life of the mother, even if such treatment results in the loss of life of her unborn child.

    What they’re really saying here is that “abortion” is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman, because if the procedure (e. g., surgery to remove an ectopic pregnancy) is medically necessary to save the life of a woman, they’ll call it something else.

  17. 17
    dianne

    What the heck were those “medical professionals” smoking? It was too strong for them, whatever it was. HELLP syndrome, pre-eclampsia, ectopic pregnancy, pulmonary hypertension, uterine cancer, severe hydrocephalus with anencephaly, acute hepatitis of pregnancy, DIC, twin pregnancy with demise of one twin (higher order multiples also, of course)…all conditions that may require abortion to save the pregnant woman’s life (and, in some instances, the life of the other fetus or fetuses that are still viable). And that’s just what I came up with by thinking about it for 30 seconds, without consulting any references. And I’m not an OB.

  18. 18
    dianne

    @16: When confronted with this example, “pro-lifers” usually propose waiting for the ectopic pregnancy to rupture and kill the embryo (tubal pregnancies don’t last long enough for there to be a fetus involved) and then remove the ovary, along, often, with a fair bit of the rest of the abdominal cavity, after it’s dead. There is zero chance of a tubal pregnancy going to term and waiting for the inevitable rupture is painful and dangerous to the mother, compromising her health, fertility, and survival and, of course, it’s mentally agonizing to wait for the inevitable, but at least you can call it something other than an “abortion” and that’s all that matters, right?

  19. 19
    Ophelia Benson

    As Eamon says, though, it’s recognizably the Double Effect nonsense. If I remember correctly the “problem” in the Phoenix case was that abortion was the treatment, period. The pregnancy was causing the high blood pressure and only termination would fix that. Apparently the claim here is that oh ha there are other ways.

  20. 20
    iknklast

    So, let me get this straight. Any woman who dies from lack of an abortion is just pretending to be dead? Dead women don’t count as evidence? Wow. Just…wow. Medical professionals? Sound more like ghouls.

  21. 21
    dianne

    The woman in the AZ case probably had pre-eclampsia. There is no other treatment besides ending the pregnancy. There are some temporizing measures that can help if the pregnancy is far enough along that another few days or week would mean that a delivery of a live baby was possible. But in this case the pregnancy was 11 weeks along. There is no treatment that would allow the pregnancy to continue another 13 weeks or so, which would be the minimum to even consider a delivery with any rational hope of a surviving, eventually healthy child. If she hadn’t been treated, she would have started having seizures, her blood would have started clotting in her veins and simultaneously bleeding out every orifice and any lines or tubes in her body, she would have first gasped for breath then been completely unable to breath as her lungs filled up with fluid, and she would have eventually drowned or exsanguinated or went into a seizure that ended only with death. That’s what the “pro-life” movement WANTED to happen to her.

  22. 22
    davidhart

    Iknklast@20: No; you’ve misunderstood. When they “affirm that direct abortion is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman”, what they mean is that saving the life of a woman is not medically necessary.

  23. 23
    iancaballero

    So what would these asshats say to the doctor who performed my wife’s literally lifesaving abortion?

  24. 24
    Ian MacDougall

    Rodney Nelson @ #15:

    Sophisticated bullshit?

    Phylum bullshit; Class sophistiryised; Order wish-fulfilling?

    I think we’re getting closer.

  25. 25
    octopod

    What do they mean by “direct” abortion, I wonder?

  26. 26
    Margaret

    if the procedure (e. g., surgery to remove an ectopic pregnancy) is medically necessary to save the life of a woman, they’ll call it something else.

    Yes. I brought up such a case when talking to a Catholic friend, and she stated flatly that in that case it wasn’t an abortion. For the religious, it’s the words that matter, not reality. They define things out of existence with the same ease as they define things into existence.

  27. 27
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    I hate Catholics. I’m USAian and normally have great respect for the first amendment no-law-respecting-establishment-of-religion, but lately I’ve been wishing we could make Catholicism flat out illegal. Seize all RCC property – church buildings, schools, hospitals – under RICO laws, but more than that, make it illegal to say mass, attend mass, own a Catholic bible … yes, I know how problematic this would be, morally, as well as impossible to enforce in the real world … but I have come to think that everyone who voluntarily remains affiliated with the RCC are at best abettors of truly evil criminals, if not truly evil themselves. Catholicism sucks. People who remain Catholics personally suck, too. It’s not just their abstract ideology that sucks, it’s their entire inhumane identity that sucks. They need to be stopped.

  28. 28
    Ian MacDougall

    Hotshoe:

    “…lately I’ve been wishing we could make Catholicism flat out illegal. Seize all RCC property – church buildings, schools, hospitals – under RICO laws, but more than that, make it illegal to say mass, attend mass, own a Catholic bible … yes, I know how problematic this would be, morally, as well as impossible to enforce in the real world … ”

    Been tried before and found wanting, I’m afraid. One needs of course the power of an absolute dictator to do it, and England had one in the person of Henry Tudor, who was on the throne from 1509 to 1547.

    Henry scores a place in Nigel Crawthorne’s book, ‘Tyrants: History’s 100 Most Evil Despots & Dictators’.

    He is widely believed to have written ‘Greensleeves’, but that was probably an attempt by his PR department to humanise him.

  29. 29
    Kotrba

    I think that those necessary medical treatments include hysterectomy. according to the doctrine of double effect it is not abortion, so… The fetus/embryo dies anyway and the woman has to go through a major surgery and lose an organ, but who cares, it`s not abortion!

    For some reason these types are very reluctant to say “hysterectomy” aloud. I think I only heard it once in an internet debate
    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:E–QnofIRNMJ:wwww.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/sarahmoricebrubaker/5290/catholic_conscience_over_a_woman%E2%80%99s_life/+&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=sk&client=firefox-a
    “drfrankobgyn” says here:
    “As a practicing Ob/Gyn doctor, I am obliged to point out that Sarah’s entire argument is based on false premises. The first is the mistaken belief that there exist situations where a direct abortion is required to save a woman’s life or somehow preserve her health. An appendectomy, hysterectomy, or salpingectomy is often necessary to preserve the life or health of a woman.” Etc.

    Ordinary anti-choicers usually have no idea about hysterectomy as a means to save a pregnant woman. To many of them this idea would be horrifying: The “baby” dies and the mother loses her ability to have more babies? That would be unacceptable.
    To them such Declarations like the one above usually mean something else. They just believe that pregnant women magically never get so sick that they need stop being pregnant. After all, that`s the only remaining interpretation…

    (English is a second language for me, so please forgive my mistakes.)

  30. 30
    dianne

    Yes, there are attempts to work around calling a necessary procedure an abortion. But often the self-declared pro-life movement will simply state that the woman in question should die. The only treatment available to save the woman in Arizona was an abortion of a healthy fetus in a healthy uterus. Hysterectomy could have been used, but there was absolutely no indication for it and it would have vastly increased the risk to the patient. They flat out said she should die. I’m embarrassed that there are OBs in the world so stupid and ill trained that they would not understand that abortion is sometimes a life saving procedure. They should not be allowed to practice. End of story. No anti-woman OBs, no Jehovah’s witness blood bankers.

  31. 31
    dianne

    Actually, when I think about it, any OB who claims that abortion is never necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman should be evaluated for antisocial personality disorder. Because a practicing OB will have seen cases where an abortion was necessary and may have let a patient die when she could have been saved. They have failed to have empathy for another person who is dying right in front of them and that’s a major diagnostic criterion for APD. And their medical licenses should be pulled entirely. They aren’t safe. Even if they left OB entirely, they will always put their own feelings first and therefore should not ever be trusted in a position where they have power over human lives.

  32. 32
    Didaktylos

    @12&15 – I’ve a vague idea that the term you’re looking for is “casuistry”.

  33. 33
    iknklast

    “Iknklast@20: No; you’ve misunderstood. When they “affirm that direct abortion is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman”, what they mean is that saving the life of a woman is not medically necessary.”

    My bad. I guess I keep getting caught up in the (mistaken) notion that women are people. I keep forgetting we’re merely incubators.

    My mom nearly died when I was 10 because a Catholic doctor (at the local naval base, no less) refused to tie her tubes after her 5th child, and her 6th pregnancy was very life-threatening. The doctor’s action? Scold my mom for getting pregnant again (birth control in this days was not as effective as it is now). By the way, for the record, my mother, though fundamentalist, was never Catholic. She had no problem with birth control and tubal ligation.

  34. 34
    hotshoe, now with more boltcutters

    Actually, when I think about it, any OB who claims that abortion is never necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman should be evaluated for antisocial personality disorder. Because a practicing OB will have seen cases where an abortion was necessary and may have let a patient die when she could have been saved. They have failed to have empathy for another person who is dying right in front of them and that’s a major diagnostic criterion for APD. And their medical licenses should be pulled entirely. They aren’t safe. Even if they left OB entirely, they will always put their own feelings first and therefore should not ever be trusted in a position where they have power over human lives.

    We have more-or-less 140 persons to evaluate from the Dublin symposium. Well, that is, we would, if they had the courage to release the signatories to their Declaration. And that is, if we had any power.

    Sadly, what I know about the medical world suggests it getting worse, not better, as doctors being educated today are not being taught about abortion at all. If the only information they receive is a lie like the one propagated by this symposium, the new doctors are not really to blame for being unable to recognize when an abortion is necessary. But blame or not, the women will still be harmed or dead.

    Words cannot express how glad I am not to be a woman of childbearing age, anywhere, even in a supposedly modern country nowadays. I cry for our younger sisters and daughters.

  35. 35
    Kotrba

    @dianne
    You are right, of course. I have read that the AZ bishop wrote that the woman should have died.

    I have interacted mostly with individual anti-choicers in my country (Slovakia) who refused to admit that pregnant women can get so sick. When I tried to point out that women can die without abortion, they insisted on denying that possibility. Also they would say that abortion is murder, but when asked about punishment for women who had an abortion they would not have an answer. I should have specified I was talking about this type of anti-choicer.

  36. 36
    Argle Bargle

    Didaktylos #32

    I’ve a vague idea that the term you’re looking for is “casuistry”.

    casuistry, n. adroit and false reasoning.

    That’s the word!

  37. 37
    iknklast

    “Sadly, what I know about the medical world suggests it getting worse, not better, as doctors being educated today are not being taught about abortion at all”

    However, many of them are being educated in alternative medicine procedures, and also in faith-based care issues. (Though I would hope it’s a very small minority).

  38. 38
    dianne

    OB residents in NYC are required to learn how to perform abortions as part of their training. Always insist on a NYC trained OB!

    I’m quite serious. You don’t want to be in need of an emergent life saving abortion only to find out that you have to fight not only with your insurance company but your OB to actually get it.

  39. 39
    jb

    I have been engaging pro-life idiots on yahoo comments for fun lately and boy have I met some doozies

    Many commenters do cling to the belief that every pregnancy is a minor inconvenience, that *only* ectopic pregnancy are life threatening, and that women only have abortions for vapid ‘social’ reasons.

    Two common themes are also:

    1) procreation is a necessary part of sex. thus, if you agree to sex, you agree to procreate

    2) a woman can get an abortion if raped, but only if she passes a rape trauma test and has enough bruises and injuries etc (because many women will lie about getting raped just to get an abortion)

    They also insist that a fertilized egg is a *short* person. And if you would not kill a 6ft tall person, why would you kill a microscopic person?

    Then they compare women to Nazis, Nazis who do not want equality, but Nazis who want nothing but power over the defenceless, innocent embryo.

  40. 40
    dianne

    jb: Would it help to point out that the actual Nazis were profoundly anti-choice? They favored forced abortions for some, denial of abortions for others, but they never allowed women to have free choice or control over their fertility.

  41. 41
    jb

    yeah, I have pointed that out

    but these people are fanatics

    I mainly just troll them

    sometimes I pretend to be the very *worst* example of a pro-lifer just to smear their cause

    they also *love* to claim that Hitler was really a communist. You know, the whole ‘national SOCIALIST’ part. And they will argue about it and call you stupid for it.

    they also think that Obama is a kenyan marxist, and that belief in evolution is *irrational*

  42. 42
    Lisa Graas

    Fascinating that the desire to kill children seems to come so naturally among those who have the desire to ban Catholicism.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there were instructions somewhere on this blog for boiling kittens for dumplings.

  43. 43
    Red-Green in Blue

    #43,

    Could you point out where anyone on this blog or elsewhere advocates “killing children”? Oh, sorry, you meant “killing non-viable and moribund foetuses threatening the lives of women who, if their lives are saved by the abortions indicated by medical circumstances, could usually go on to have the baby/ies they wanted in future, thereby fulfilling the objective the Catholic Chirch’s god has for them, rather than dying in pain and distress, and leaving their families bereft”…

    No? You didn’t?

  44. 44
    Red-Green in Blue

    Oh, and #43 again:

    Note that the very first post after hotshoe’s (which itself acknowledges that banning the Catholic Church would not be legal or ethical, hence his/her statement “I’ve been wishing we could” and “yes, I know how problematic this would be, morally, as well as impossible to enforce in the real world”) points out the obvious historical parallels and says that no, that would not be acceptable in this day and age.

    And if it really came to it, I think you’d find us atheists and secularists out on the streets with you fighting for your freedom of religion, and your freedom to believe what you want on the matter of abortion. Would you similarly fight for our right not to have our lives ruled by your religion and its dogma, O Bandita?

  45. 45
    Sheet Metal Screw

    yet highly critical ease of installation He came to the USA in 1891 lathe cuts X-rings are most commonly used in reciprocating applications 1986 rubber gaskets

  1. 46
    Three doctors | Butterflies and Wheels

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    Savita Halappanavar | Atheism, Music, and More…

    [...] Pharyngula – It’s Time to Abort the Catholic Church Butterflies & Wheels – Over 140 Medical Professionals, Ireland Speaks Up, Doctors Weigh In, and numerous others. Zinnia Jones – This is what a [...]

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