As the national debate continues over a bill in the Virginia state legislature allowing women a chance to see the ultrasound that abortion centers typically perform before an abortion, pro-life advocates say those ultrasounds are medically necessary when the abortion drug is used.
By arguing that ultrasounds aren’t needed before an abortion or that they are supposedly against women’s rights and health, abortion proponents may be putting women at risk.
The mifepristone drug has already been documented to have claimed the lives of at least 14 women around the world, according to FDA figures and has injured another 2,200 in the United States alone. The European manufacturer suggests more may have died as well. Two women died after ruptured ectopic pregnancies that could presumably have been treated if a physician had conducted a thorough examination of the woman, including use of ultrasound to determine the location of the pregnancy.
Americans United for Life president Charmaine Yoest called attacks on a Virginia ultrasound bill “clear evidence that a powerful abortion lobby is willing to sacrifice women’s health and safety for a radical abortion agenda.”
“The Virginia bill that has passed the Senate and may be considered in the House as soon as this afternoon requires an ultrasound before abortion for the medical safety of the woman,” she said. “Late term abortions and ectopic pregnancies, for example, pose great risks to women’s health and lives. Women given abortion-inducing drugs when pregnant with an ectopic pregnancy have died.”
The Virginia bill also stipulates that the mother be offered an opportunity to view the image and hear the heartbeat. Despite numerous false media reports, the bill does not require any particular kind of ultrasound but provides for the Virginia “standard of care” putting the choice for the kind of test in hands of the patient and doctor.
“The misinformation in this orchestrated campaign against this life-saving bill is reprehensible,” said Dr. Yoest. “The abortion industry is against any measure that gives women truthful, accurate information about abortion. There is nothing more accurate, more truthful, than a picture of the woman’s unborn child. But abortion providers want to hide this information, because their profits depend upon the woman choosing abortion over life.”
“Abortion proponents are arguing against including a basic standard of care in ultrasound requirements,” Yoest said. “It is absolutely false than any invasive ultrasound test is required by this bill. But at stake here is protecting women’s lives from a rush to abortion that may harm them. Informed consent about the status of a woman’s pregnancy and whether she might be harmed should be a concern for all people.”
Gene Rudd, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist and the associate director of the Christian Medical Association, has previously expressed concern that the FDA didn’t require an ultrasound exam with the use of the abortion drug.
“The symptoms that may indicate serious and life-threatening problems after taking this drug are difficult even for some physicians to recognize, much less for a patient to have to figure out at home,” Rudd explained. “The FDA belatedly emphasizes that ‘health care providers should be vigilant for patients with undiagnosed ectopic pregnancies as this condition may be missed by physical examination and ultrasound.”
“The truth is that ultrasound does actually help diagnose ectopic pregnancies in many cases, yet the agency decided to drop its initial requirements for ultrasound after politicians knocked on their door,” Rudd added.
In April 2004, an Ohio woman sued an Akron abortion business saying that the chemical abortion she was given has left her unable to become pregnant.
According to the Akron Beacon Journal newspaper, Dana Powell, 30, filed a lawsuit against the Akron Women’s Center for Choice abortion business. The suit also names abortion practitioner Raymond Robinson and a staff member. Powell’s lawsuit says she had cramping and bleeding associated with an October 2002 pregnancy and went to the abortion business. Staff there told her the pregnancy was not problematic.
According to the Journal, Powell took the first drug to kill the baby and then suffered severe cramping after taking the Cytotec drugs to expel the dead baby from her uterus. The abortion facility told her to take a second Cytotec pill and call back the next day.
The newspaper reports that Powell’s condition grew worse over the next month until she was forced to go to Akron City Hospital. Hospital staff diagnosed her with a ruptured ectopic pregnancy in the left fallopian tube, leaving her unable to conceive. Powell’s lawsuit says the abortion business failed to properly detect the ectopic pregnancy.