By Steven Ertelt
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre lied to reporters today about abortion when she falsely claimed that abortion bans prevent treatment for women who have miscarriages.
Abortion advocates made the false claim for months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade but were refuted week after week by pro-life groups, doctors and others who made it clear that abortion is not miscarriage and that every state law banning abortions allows such treatment.
“When they say ‘protect the lives of unborn children,’ they mean a national ban on abortion that puts doctors and nurses in jail for performing miscarriage, management, or saving the health of the mother,” Jean-Pierre said in response to a question.
Not only is miscarriage care allowed, but every state that bans abortions also allows medical treatment to save the life of a pregnant mother.
Each of these states permits abortion in those rare and heartbreaking circumstances when it is necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman. Physicians can make this determination based on their “reasonable medical judgment,” a standard very common in the medical profession and used for any case involving medical malpractice litigation.
Meanwhile, abortion advocates are spreading the dangerous lie that life-saving care is not or may not be permitted in these states, leading to provider confusion and poor outcomes for women.
While some laws contain definitions and exceptions that more explicitly speak to certain situations, each law reviewed does not prevent mothers from receiving the medical care necessary. A plain reading of any of these statutes easily refutes the false and dangerous misinformation being spread by pro-abortion activists. Further, none of the laws reviewed prohibit a medical professional from acting as necessary when facing a life-threatening medical emergency; therefore, under these laws medical professionals can exercise reasonable medical judgement and as outlined by the ACOG guidance, are not required to delay necessary care and treatment to a mother.
As Doctor Ingrid Skop explained, protecting babies from abortion does not stop doctors from helping mothers who have faced a miscarriage.
Skop received her Bachelor of Science in physiology from Oklahoma State University and her medical doctorate from Washington University School of Medicine. She completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Dr. Skop is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Dr. Skop served for over 25 years in private practice in San Antonio, where she delivered more than 5,000 babies and personally cared for many women who had been harmed, physically and emotionally, from complications due to abortion.
Abortion advocates in the media sometimes predict that physicians in states with restrictive abortion laws will be unable to treat women suffering spontaneous abortions (miscarriages) because the treatments are similar to provision of early induced abortions. This should immediately be recognized for the fearmongering it is.
Once diagnosed, an early pregnancy loss can be treated in several ways: expectant management (watchful waiting) may be employed if the miscarriage appears to be occurring naturally, a dilation and suction procedure removes the tissue in a minor surgery, or medications to cause uterine contractions may be given to hasten the process.
Misoprostol is often used because it is readily available, but those with access to mifepristone (the restricted component of the medical abortion regimen) sometimes add that to misoprostol for miscarriage management. It should be noted that mifepristone is dispensed under a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS), so only registered abortion providers have access to mifepristone for prescribing chemical abortion. Texas’ definition of abortion explicitly excludes miscarriage management, as do the definitions of many other states.
It is clearly the standard of care for any physician to intervene in a pregnancy that presents a risk to the mother’s life. Laws restricting induced abortion will not prohibit such an intervention.
Meanwhile, a new video from the American Association of Pro-Life OB-GYNs dispels the myth that banning abortions would prevent doctors from providing life-saving care to women who suffer miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies.
Dr. Christina Francis, an OB-GYN and board chair of the medical association, explained, pro-life laws do not stop doctors like herself from providing life-saving care to women. These laws always include exceptions if the mother’s life is at risk, and Francis said miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies are not the same as elective abortions.
“I think we need to be exceedingly clear: Treating an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage is not an abortion,” she said. “And my ability to treat these conditions would not be hindered by a state outlawing abortion.”