July 27th 2002

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Articles from this issue:

TRADE: Sugar industry study backs failed policies, not new solutions

SOUTH AUSTRALIA: SA Govt to ignore Drug Summit call for harm minimisation?

ICC: a clarification (letter)

It's a cruel world ... (letter)

Welfare equity? (letter)

Islam and Australia (letter)

COMMENT: After Cheryl Kernot - character is important in public life

ASIA: Hong Kong: deflation and Big Brother

BIOETHICS: It's fact - life begins at fertilisation

COMMENT: Liability insurance and the abortion industry

COMMENT: How to uphold Australian 'culture' - plagiarise

BOOKS: 'ALIVE: The True Story of the Andes Survivors', by Piers Paul Read

COVER STORY: Why the Kashmir conflict won't go nuclear

EDITORIAL: The maternity leave morass

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Telstra sale splits minor parties - but will it be enough?

Government should act to secure super savings

MEDICAL SCIENCE: Nerve cells used in spinal cord regeneration trial

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Empty vessels at the old corral / Short-termism

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Liability insurance and the abortion industry

by Babette Francis

News Weekly, July 27, 2002
Doctors' complaints about rising costs of insurance are news at the moment. While one has sympathy for an obstetrician who is sued when a baby is unexpectedly disabled, there is another area of the specialty which deserves no sympathy: the abortion industry.

The medical profession, and particularly Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG), is culpable for not policing this industry to ensure that proper standards are maintained.

Contrast between care given to patients with other surgery compared to lack of care given to women presenting for abortion is stark. Surgeons take a medical history and and are supposed to explain all the options.

Doctors who would take a dim view of a colleague who removed 99% of healthy appendixes from healthy patients, condone the removal of thousands of healthy fetuses from healthy mothers.

Abortionists often do not see their clients before the procedure - aborted women complain they did not even know his name and "he wouldn't look me in the eye", (in one litigated case, the only counselling was from a trainee social worker) and unlike other surgery, there is no follow-up.

Abortionists do not take a family medical history - particularly negligent because if there is a family history of depression or mental illness, the woman may fall into the 10% category, who following abortion, are left seriously dysfunctional.

If there is family history of breast cancer, the risk of breast cancer following abortion will increase substantially. In the study by (pro-choice) Janet Daling, University of Washington, 1994, every woman who had an abortion under age 18 and who also had a family history of breast cancer, developed breast cancer by age 45.

Abortion clinics in the USA now warn of "possible increased lifetime risk of breast cancer". There have been at least two legal settlements in Australia for failure to warn of increased breast cancer risk, and more are in the pipeline.

The first case has also been filed in the UK. On abortion-breast cancer risk, the RANZCOG says the data is "inconclusive".

Would they recommend anyone get on a plane if the airline stated that 28 claims the plane was going to crash were "inconclusive"? And which insurer would provide coverage?

Increased risk

The College knows that a woman who has an abortion in her teens or early twenties and then does not have a baby until she is 29 (average for first births in Australia) has substantially increased her breast cancer risk by delaying her first full-term pregnancy.

Some of the highest damages payouts awarded against doctors have been where babies have cerebral palsy. Premature births are one of the major causes of cerebral palsy and abortion can leave a woman with an "incompetent cervix", resulting in premature birth and cererbral palsy for the subsequent "wanted" baby.

If obstetricians want to reduce risks of delivering premature babies, they should outlaw abortions. The growing problem of "infertility" and demand for IVF, surrogate motherhood etc, are also related to prior abortions.

The "Disclosure and Consent to Medical and Surgical Procedures" form for Termination of Pregnancy or Suction Curretage or Abortion, of the Woman's Choice Quality Health Centre, San Antonio, Texas, USA, reads as follows: "I also realise that the following risks and hazards may occur in connection with this particular procedure and even death:

(a) bleeding with the possibility of requring further surgery &/or hysterectomy to control,

(b) perforation [holes in] uterus and/or damage to the bladder, bowel, blood vessel,

(c) abdominal incision & operation to correct the injury,

(d) infection of female organs: uterus, tubes, ovaries,

(e) sterility or being incapable of bearing children,

(f) incompetent cervix,

(g) failure to remove all products of the conception,

(h) continuation of the pregnancy,

(i) depression or 'the blues',

(j) Post-abortion stress syndrome,

(k) possible increased lifetime risk of breast cancer."

Under threat of litigation, the abortion industry is belatedly acknowledging risks of abortion, denied for so long.

Abortion is medically unnecessary, and it is the joint failure of governments and the medical profession to inform or protect women from abortion trauma that is driving victims to legal redress.

By barring pregnancy support helpers from clinic doors, governments and abortionists have connived in preventing women from hearing about other options. (It's as if specialists physically barred women from hearing a second opinion.)

Funding pregnancy support is not enough - when a frightened teenager or disadvantaged woman presents for abortion is when she needs to hear that other help is available and that surgery is unnecessary.

A shutdown of the abortion industry would reduce insurance and litigation costs.

  • Babette Francis is National & Overseas Co-ordinator, Endeavour Forum Inc

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