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Coat Hanger Abortions are back in Town.

Posted by S. Fenella Das Gupta, Ph.D., Neuroscience on with 0 Comments

by S. Fenella Das Gupta, Ph.D., Neuroscience

Hey! Why not? Cheaper than a co-pay, right?

The poor pitiful women that can't afford to go out of state [to have an abortion] are just going to start doing them at home with a coat hanger…. but hey! you have to have some moral values n’ you’ve got to start somewhere…..” stated Rep. Bubba Carpenter, the Mississippi state representative on May 14th 2012 (see video).  

Bubba Carpenter’s (R) nonchalant comment about coat hangers to abort a pregnancy was in reference to the plight some women might find themselves considering due to  House Bill 1390, which bans abortion in the state of Mississippi.

House bill 1390, originally passed by Mississippi lawmakers on March 13th 2012, was (ironically) intended for the purpose of stopping back-room abortions.  The bill, signed by Gov. Phil Bryant (R), required that doctors performing abortions be a board-certified OB-GYNs “with admitting privileges at a local hospital,” – i.e. out of state OB/GYNs entering MS to perform abortions at clinics such as the Jackson Women’s Health (the state’s only abortion provider center) would be violating state law.  The Jackson Women’s health clinic was also on the cards to be slated.

There appears to be some confusion over why the bill was drafted and being passed. On one hand it was touted to “improve women’s safety” (the Spin Doctor version), yet on the other hand the author of the bill Rep. Sam Mims V (‘pro-life’ advocate), said he really hoped that it would result in fewer abortions. Therein lies the rub. Sometimes those two issues may be at odds with each other.  

This House bill was supposed to go into effect July 1st 2012, but a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order that allowed the Jackson Women’s Health Clinic to remain open until a further hearing on July 11th.

Overall however, it’s not surprising that such a law was passed in MS as it has one of the toughest stance on the abortion rights; the state laws require a 24-hour waiting period, as well as parental consent if the patient seeking an abortion is a minor.

Sex education in schools is not required, but when it is taught, abstinence-only is set as the standard- which doesn’t seem to be working as MS has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country ( 55 births per 1,000, compared to a national average of 34.3), according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

So with one of the highest teen pregnancy rates, a reported higher than national average violent crime rate and a state wide ban on abortion, what resources are left for women in terms of safety and reproductive rights?

What happens to the teen that’s been raped by a close family member that she’s too intimidated to report?

Bubba may actually be right- coat hanger abortions may be on the increase.

Restrictive abortion laws lead to untrained, quack doctors performing back alley abortions in unsanitary conditions on vulnerable women. The perfect cocktail for severe bleeding, uterine perforation, tearing of the cervix, severe damage to the genitals and abdomen, internal infection of the abdomen, blood poisoning, reproductive tract infections and pelvic inflammatory disease, chronic pain and infertility.

Oh and let’s not forget the biggie- death.

Fenella Das Gupta is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist ( #47275) working in Northern California,specializing in fertility counseling. She works with individuals and couples as they make their way through the fertility maze. The other part of her work includes making fertility issues a newsworthy item, as she writes for the Petaluma Patch-a subsidiary of the Huffington Post. To read more about fertility issues in the news go to http://petaluma.patch.com/users/fenella-das-gupta-phd-neuroscience-mft/blog_posts

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