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Before Roe V. Wade: Memories of a Gynecologist who was There - Zer Netmouse
June 3rd, 2008
01:16 pm

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Before Roe V. Wade: Memories of a Gynecologist who was There
As reactionaries around the country continue to try to undermine and take away the abortion rights conferred by the Roe V. Wade Supreme Court decision, Dr. Waldo L. Fielding reminds us what it was like before.

I marched for women's rights in the spring of 1991. We marched under the symbol of the wire hangar, something many women used on themselves or had used on them in back alley abortions, risking accidentally punching through the abdominal wall or other types of tears that could lead to infections and even death. Dr. Fielding reminds us this was a symbol, but it was not a myth.

Recommended reading for everyone.

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From:elizilla
Date:June 3rd, 2008 06:48 pm (UTC)
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Did you ever read Samuel R Delany's book about his life as a young man? It's called 'The Motion of Light in Water'. He and his best friend got married at 18, because she was pregnant. This was in the early 60s. She did not seek an illegal abortion, they were going to have the child. There's a harrowing passage where he described how she miscarried, and the nightmare they went through trying to get emergency medical attention. The doctors and hospitals looked at their ages and the fact they were a mixed-race couple, assumed this was complications of an illegal abortion, and refused to believe otherwise. They would rather have let her die in the street outside, than get involved. Her regular doctor denied even knowing who she was.
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From:netmouse
Date:June 3rd, 2008 06:58 pm (UTC)
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Wow, that's awful. No, I never read that.
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From:elizilla
Date:June 3rd, 2008 08:09 pm (UTC)
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I bring it up because even if you believe that the women who seek abortions deserve all the horrors that Dr Fielding describes (which I don't), there is collateral damage that falls on women who would carry their baby to term if they could.

I've seen stats saying that something like one in three pregnancies ends in a miscarriage. The medical literature describes both as abortions, just that one is spontaneous abortion, and the other is therapeutic abortion. Even some of the causes are shared. The only real difference is intent.
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From:knightlygoddess
Date:June 4th, 2008 12:08 am (UTC)
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When I worked in the ER - I was a witness to two very disturbing abortions.

One was a miscarriage, or spontaneous abortion, and the woman nearly bled to death as we fought to stabilize her and get her into an OR (I went into the OR with her because my hand was literally the only thing slowing the bleeding).

The other was a homemade abortion gone horribly wrong. The cause was a coat hanger that had perforated the abdominal wall (and was still in place when she arrived).

I felt terrible for both women. The first, because it was a wanted pregnancy that ended terribly, the second because the woman felt that she did not have any other option but to "try it herself".
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From:fredcritter
Date:June 4th, 2008 01:32 am (UTC)
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Feel free to copy the icon...
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From:sllywhtboy
Date:June 4th, 2008 06:52 am (UTC)
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From:elizilla
Date:June 4th, 2008 02:40 pm (UTC)
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Did you see the conversation between the college girls? Sheesh. Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it. Some people just have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.
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From:sllywhtboy
Date:June 5th, 2008 12:27 am (UTC)
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i don't remember any specifics, it's been a couple years since i watched it.
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From:elizilla
Date:June 4th, 2008 04:18 pm (UTC)

Prospect Theory

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Did you see this article? It's got nothing about abortion. But it seems to me that the Prospect Theory that Bruce is describing has all kinds of application when discussing abortion.

The Prospect Theory says that humans are wired to choose a sure good over a possible bigger good, but they'll choose the risk of worse bad over a sure bad.

Look at the decision tree abortion is on. At every one of the decision points, rational behavior is at odds with human nature as described by Prospect Theory. Throw in the moral qualms some people have, and it's no wonder we're all tied up in knots over it as a society.

I bet you could do something interesting with Prospect Theory in your talkhard blog.
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