Bingham Questions Carney on Abortion

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To the Editor:

Re “Devin Carney Responds…” (opinion, Oct. 18):

As a retired OB-GYN, I feel State Rep. Devin Carney’s stance on abortion would have a significant adverse impact, if implemented in Connecticut.

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Carney favors a ban on late-term abortion. I have never heard of one that was done since the Roe v. Wade decision except under severe circumstances and with significant risk to health and life.  The procedure itself in late pregnancy is more dangerous than giving birth.  And when the risks are understood by patients, including the possibility that a fetus might survive on its own with disabilities if aborted early in the 3rd trimester, women usually will decide not to abort a pregnancy.  

One of the significant risks of a ban is that a women will try to induce abortion on their own, without a full understanding the increased risks, or will try to abort their pregnancy despite the risks.  We saw many who did so prior to Roe v. Wade, and these were the situations most likely to result in maternal as well as fetal death.  A ban would mean patients would avoid seeking counseling, and seek out very dangerous underground care.

As for Carney’s opposition to nurse-midwives performing abortions legally, he should understand that a safe early abortion is technically far less difficult to perform than a safe delivery at full term, something that they have been able to safely perform.  The ability to do a proper physical exam and give proper advice and counseling is not limited to MD’s.  In fact, many MD’s have far less technical and social skills than nurse midwives and nurse-practitioners.  Experience indicates women seeking abortion will tend to be given better and more empathetic care from a nurse-midwife or nurse-practitioner than from a busy doctor.

As for the Birthright clinics Carney supports, most of them try to trick people into thinking they are an abortion referral and pregnancy counseling service that promotes the full range of options as Planned Parenthood does. Not so.  Patients seeking abortion at these centers have been badgered and shamed for even thinking they might consider abortion as an option.  Moreover, these clinics do not provide contraceptive services to those who come and are found not to be pregnant.  These clinics deserve to be shut down if they work in any way to fraudulently bring clients in.  Alternatively, they should be required to provide a range of referral options, with accurate information about abortion and the physical and psychological consequences people have when they are forced to continue, or to abort, a pregnancy against their will.  There is a lot of misinformation and incomplete information being given to those who go to such clinics,

Carney’s position is not the Pro-Choice stance he professes. And those who are poor and/or uninformed will be those most likely to be adversely impacted by the policies he supports.  The wealthy have always had full freedom to choose safe and legal  options, Those most vulnerable for financial and social reasons are those at highest risk from the policies Carney supports.

David Bingham, MD
Salem, CT