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Saturday, June 01, 2013

 
Beatriz: why are they ok with a C-Section?

by digby

When I read yesterday that El Salvador had decided that it was ok to give Beatriz a C-Section for a "premature delivery" I was puzzled.  She is a very sick woman who may not make it through such major surgery and her fetus is anencephalic and will not live. but they are willing to put her through it rather than use the other available, less traumatic methods that are much less dangerous. How does this make any sense?

This article in Rh Reality Check suggests an answer:

She will be “allowed” to have a caesarean section, described as a “premature delivery.” Why a c-section, why surgery? Is this justified because it is the safest possible form of delivery for her? Can someone explain this please? What is wrong with either a dilatation & evacuation, or induction with mifepristone and misoprostol? Both surely carry fewer risks?

Please recall the case of “Aurora” in Costa Rica, at the end of 2012, who was also carrying a fetus with no chance of life, a fetus whose heartbeat stopped only at 29 weeks of pregnancy. She also was then given a c-section. Some of us asked why that was necessary at the time, but no one raised the question or challenged it publicly. It is time to ask publicly: why is a c-section the delivery method of choice? Is it only because it is the only form of termination of the pregnancy that they think cannot be labelled abortion?

Are these two cases representative of a new “Catholic health policy” for pregnant women with an emergency obstetric situation involving a non-viable embryo/fetus – that they are imprisoned in a hospital, in some cases for months, denied a life-preserving abortion until the fetal heartbeat stops, and then delivered of the dead baby by the highest risk procedure possible for the woman, a caesarean section??

Beatriz’s treatment should be considered cruel and degrading treatment and a violation of the Hippocratic oath to do no harm. The protest here is not finished; it is only beginning because cases like Beatriz’s and Aurora’s are only just coming to light through the vigilance and action of human rights and women’s abortion rights groups.

There was a reason why doctors perform late term abortions with the methods they use --- it's to preserve the health and life of the woman. What seems to be happening here is that the authorities are willing to risk the woman's life and health for months on end, making her sicker in fact, until such time as they can pretend to be "delivering" a fetus via caesarean section, even though it is destined for an early death (or in some cases, already dead.)

Recall, these are not ordinary healthy women who have brought their fetus to term who need to have a C-Section because of complications in delivery. These are women who have very serious health problems. To risk their lives in order to essentially pretend they are not violating their ban on abortion is not only cruel, it's stupid. After all, if they're worried about God, I think he's probably figured out what they're doing.

The post concludes:

Reproductive Health Matters has just published my paper analyzing Catholic health policy on emergency obstetric care involving termination of pregnancy which discusses all the cases I could find that have come to light up to several months ago. The paper is entitled: Termination of pregnancy as emergency obstetric care: the interpretation of Catholic health policy and the consequences for pregnant women: An analysis of the death of Savita Halappanavar in Ireland and similar cases

This is a common problem. If health professionals systematically put the lives of their patients at risk for any other ideological non-clinically justifiable reason, it would not be tolerated. I believe any Catholic health professionals and/or hospitals refusing to terminate a pregnancy as emergency obstetric care should be stripped of their right to provide maternity services... At issue is whether a woman’s life comes first or not at all.

That's exactly right. Does being pro-life really mean that a dead fetus comes before a living woman? That's what we're talking about here.


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