Opinion: Don’t think Arizona abortion bans are harming women? Think again.

Credit: Associated Press

By Linda Spar, Gloria Frank

April 22, 2024

This is part TWO in a series on the increase in violence against women since the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and the future of abortion care and emergency medical treatment in the United States.

Read part one here.

Not only the lives employees of clinics that provide abortions, but now the women themselves are in mortal danger: a slow, legislated, agonizing suffering and death. Doctors standing by, helpless, until their patients become septic.

Abortions, for decades comprised of routine gynecological procedures like inducement or dilation and curettage, were performed as standard lifesaving care to save women from undue suffering and possible death. This was done to remove frequently desired pregnancies that were incompatible with life.

Now, administering and receiving this lifesaving care is a crime. Thus far success in fighting back has been limited—a few states, such as Ohio, have enshrined reproductive rights into their constitutions via a special election, and there have been some pro-abortion judicial opinions in red states, some overturned on appeal.

The once-shocking stories of pregnant women facing death, long-term adverse health effects, and infertility due to abortion bans are now commonplace. Doctors and hospitals that are supposed to protect women are turning them away and treating them like second-class citizens.

Mylissa Farmer was 17 weeks pregnant when she experienced preterm pre-labor rupture of membranes. In other words, (PPROM)her water broke in the beginning of her second trimester.

She had no amniotic fluid left and was at risk of dangerous infection and of losing her uterus. Freeman Health System in Missouri and the University of Kansas Health System in Kansas both refused to abort the fetus—though it could not survive until viability at that early stage of pregnancy—simply because the fetal heartbeat was detectable.

Abortion in Kansas at 17 weeks was legal, but the second hospital still refused her treatment. Mylissa traveled to Illinois to get an abortion.

Jayci Statton’s physician sent her to the emergency department of the University of Oklahoma Medical Center with extreme nausea and severe vaginal bleeding early in her pregnancy. Both her physician and hospital personnel diagnosed a partial molar pregnancy, which can lead to the mother hemorrhaging, experiencing preeclampsia, and even getting cancer.

The fetus is not viable, in this condition and the pregnancy puts mother is at risk in these cases. Because the fetus had cardiac activity on the ultrasound, the hospital transferred Jayci to Oklahoma Children’s Hospital, which reached the same conclusion that cardiac activity precluded an abortion and told Jayci to wait in her car until she got sicker.

Her husband pleaded with the hospital to provide an abortion to no avail. She eventually obtained an abortion out-of-state after a 3-hour drive during which she feared she would suffer a fatal hemorrhage.

Brittany Watts was over 21 weeks pregnant when she went to Mercy Health-St. Joseph Warren Hospital in Ohio with vaginal bleeding. Doctors told her that she had experienced PPROM and the fetus was not viable.

They recommended that she be induced and deliver the fetus because she was at risk of infection or death. After waiting eight hours for the hospital ethics committee to consider whether to allow inducement while the 22-week cut-off for abortions in Ohio was looming, Brittany left.

She returned to the hospital the next day and left again without treatment.

Two days later, Brittany miscarried in her toilet and tried to remove the fetal remains. She was partially successful and placed some of it in a container near her trash. She returned to the hospital, told personnel what had happened, and asked to be examined for complications of miscarriage.

RELATED: Kari Lake calls on Arizona county sheriffs to enforce 1864 abortion ban

A nurse alerted the police, who searched Brittany’s home and confiscated her toilet. A prosecutor later charged Brittany with the felony “abuse of corpse,” but, mercifully, the grand jury exonerated her.

Women in the United States are now deemed both expendable and criminal by virtue of their sex and reproductive status.

In addition to Donald Trump publicly “grabbing them by the pussy,” we women are being terrorized. After centuries of many types of subjugation, this latest one is the most frightening because it’s one more step by the religious right in trying to lead our country into dominionism (a government controlled by Christians based on their interpretation of biblical law).

If there are any doubts this is already happening, watch the 2019 documentary on Netflix called The Family. And know that the new speaker of the House of Representatives, Mike Johnson from Louisiana, displays a New Apostolic Reformation flag outside his office.

A central tenet of the organization’s belief system is that it is God’s will for Christians to take control of all of America to create a Christian nation. The flag is also popular among Trump supporters.

America becoming dominionist is the wish of a large percentage of evangelical Christians and devout Catholics. This is a major reason why they are still supporting Donald Trump. A man they describe as the “salty sailor” whom they dislike yet vote for anyway as a vehicle to continue on the path of outlawing contraception and banning all pharmaceutical and surgical abortion in America.

“Right to Life” believers who only fight for the life of the embryo or fetus, and not the mother, who functions only as an incubator of the quiversful of new disciples who will rule America.

Authors

  • Linda Spar

    Linda is a former Presidential Management Fellow who wrote the EMTALA enforcement regulations while she was lead on the Medicare EMTALA enforcement program in the mid-1990s. She is the co-author of “EMTALA in the 90’s – Enforcement Challenges,” in Health Matrix: Journal of Law-Medicine, Case Western Reserve University.

  • Gloria Frank

    Gloria retired in 2021 after a 36-year legal career, including leading Medicare’s EMTALA enforcement program in the late-1990s. She co-wrote the OIG Special Advisory Bulletin on EMTALA and assisted the Department of Justice in the Roberts v. Galen of Virginia EMTALA case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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