OBGYN Who Delivered 5,000 Babies: Abortion is Not Health Care and Miscarriages are Not Abortions

Opinion   |   Sen. Roger Marshall, M.D.   |   Jul 25, 2022   |   12:04PM   |   Washington, DC

“Don’t let the sun set on an ectopic pregnancy” was an axiom we were taught the first week of OB-GYN residency – it’s as true today as it was before and after Roe, and after Dobbs.

Make no mistake about it, an ectopic pregnancy is always a life-threatening condition, and the reality of being sued for delay in treatment far outweighs the misguided cry of those who say physicians will “withhold treatment.”

Like all OB-GYNs, including pro-life OB-GYNs, I commonly treated ectopic pregnancies as well as miscarriages. Neither are an abortion, and the myth that this will change after Dobbs is simply inconsistent with any clinical reality.

Furthermore, it goes without saying, every state’s trigger laws allow for exceptions to save the life of the mom, debunking another outright lie. To say otherwise is simply fear-mongering.

Other myths are out there, like “Dobbs is a federal ban on abortions,” which we all know is not true. What the Dobbs decision did was simply return this emotional issue back to state legislators directly elected by the people.

There are those who say women won’t have access to abortions. This is untrue, as even the New York Times estimates that after overturning Roe, abortions will decrease by only 14%. It’s also worth noting that after Texas passed its heartbeat law, abortions fell barely 10%.

Another myth? Those on the left say, “Overturning Roe is devastating to women’s health.” They imply carrying a baby to term is more dangerous than an abortion. Using their logic, should we abort every baby? Should we stop all childbearing?

Pro-choice activists chant outside a Planned Parenthood clinic during a protest in West Hollywood, Califoronia, June 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Presenting abortion as the ‘life-saving solution’ for women facing challenging pregnancies is a warped view of health care. It belongs in a culture that does not value human life. And it denies the modern medical science that can bring both mother and baby safely through even a high-risk pregnancy. Finally, in absolute terms, trauma, suicide and drug overdose kill more women of child-bearing age.

The final myth is yet another fear-driven claim that Republicans want to end contraception and family planning. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In my first year of residency, after I delivered several babies from 13-year-old moms, I made a commitment to provide easy access to contraception and early prenatal care – regardless of a woman’s ability to pay in any community I practiced. And, that’s why I set up and volunteered at prenatal and family planning clinics in residency, and why I oversaw three community health centers in rural Kansas, and accepted everyone who sought treatment at our prenatal clinic.

A Miami clinic was vandalized days before a state judge blocked Florida’s 15-week abortion ban. (Mayor Esteban Bovo, Hialeah, Florida)

And, this is why every year we fight for robust funding for community health centers and health departments, as well as nutritional programs like WIC.

Without a doubt, women with miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies will be treated in every state without exception. Life of the mom will continue to be honored, family planning clinics will continue, and Plan B contraception remains over the counter.

Beyond this, we remain committed to working with Democrats – and will continue to fight for more and earlier access to prenatal care and proper nutrition, especially in rural and urban settings, as well as child care and attending to all the social challenges a young single or married mom faces – before and after delivery of a baby.