(Cartoon from Mikhaela B. Reid, the rightfully angry cartoonist of Boiling Over. )
To all those who think that the Roberts-Alito court's decision effectively outlawing all the safest forms of late-term abortion isn't that big a deal, I give you this:
…“I don’t think many of us know what partial birth is — it’s not a medical term at all,” said Kiran Chawal, a third-year resident there. “We’ve all looked it up to figure out what they’re talking about. It’s difficult to understand or interpret.”
… “It’s not a pro-choice issue as much as it is a medical issue,” says Chawal. “You’re telling doctors how to perform a procedure. Are they going to tell me next week that I can’t use a speculum to do a Pap smear?” Jessica Salas, one of the chief OB residents at Bellevue, doesn't perform abortions because of her own moral concerns, but she is nevertheless opposed to the ban. “I don’t feel like a lawyer has the right to tell me how to practice medicine,” she said. “It’s a sad day for practitioners in general. They’re telling us how to do our jobs and to do something that’s not safe for the patient.”
Even worse, the legislation is, by medical standards, imprecise. The term “partial-birth abortion” is an evocative phrase used by pro-life advocates, and by the Supreme Court last week, but it isn’t used by doctors, who prefer “intact dilation and evacuation” to describe the procedure. And the ban doesn’t outlaw abortion itself, just this one particular method, so it makes for complicated decisions should emergencies arise. “You want to be thinking about what’s the safest thing for the patient, not taking your gloves off and calling the ACLU to figure out if you’re going to be breaking the law,” said one attending OB/GYN at a large city hospital. “It takes away tools from doctors. Now we have to worry about criminal prosecution while we watch a woman bleed.”
Silly doctors. That's exactly what John Roberts and Samuel Alito want you to do: Watch a woman bleed to death rather than save her life by terminating that of the fetus that's killing her. For Roberts and Alito, women's deaths during their pregnancies aren't bugs, they're features.