Short Takes • March 4, 2016: Abortion

by Carol Hanisch

Anti-Abortionist Legislator Grateful His Grandmother Was Raped?

The ongoing attack on abortion rights continues to bring forth revealing anti-woman sentiments from male-supremacist legislators. This week’s doozy came from Texas State Representative Jason Isaac, co-author of the Texas Omnibus Bill, known as HB2 – the one currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. It requires all abortions, including medical abortions achieved with pills, be done in ambulatory surgical centers with wide corridors, large operating rooms and other irrelevant requirements – and that doctors performing them have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic.

These restrictions have caused many clinics in Texas to close. They are also among of the restrictions that State Sen. Wendy R. Davis–unsuccessfully but valiantly–tried to block with a filibuster in the Texas Senate in 2013. 

In his support of the HB2, Isaac said that since his mother was born as a result of rape ““I don’t believe that I would be here today conducting this interview if Roe v. Wade were in effect in 1944.”

By extension of his reasoning, he apparently is okay with his grandmother having been raped since that made possible his own birth. The term “selfish bastard” comes to mind.

But that’s not all. NPR reported that

Isaac, the co-author of HB 2, says that women who live hundreds of miles from the nearest clinic should acknowledge that reality and act accordingly.

Hopefully,” Isaac said, “they’ll be more preventative and not get pregnant.” Women who live far from a clinic should realize, he said, that, “Hey, that might still be an option legally, but now I live 300 miles away from the nearest place — I should probably be more careful.”

There are no doubt a number of pregnant women who wish that Roe had been in effect in 1944!

At the same time that we call out the male chauvinism of men like Isaac, we also have to face the fact that he was elected with the help of many women voters who apparently agree with him. What do we do about THAT?

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Cosmetic Surgery Clinics More Dangerous than Abortion Clinics

Meanwhile, Diana Zuckerman, president of the National Center for Health Research, points out on the Our Bodies, Ourselves blog that women are 20 times more likely to die from cosmetic surgery than abortion in a far less regulated field:

If legislators really want to protect women’s health, I want them to know that they can protect many more women, including many of their friends and loved ones, from far more dangerous medical procedures. While approximately one in 1 million women who undergo abortions during the first eight weeks of pregnancy die from the procedure, one in 50,000 women are dying from other, more popular elective procedures in clinics and doctors’ offices: cosmetic surgery. These cosmetic surgery patients are at 20 times the risk of death.  Don’t they deserve protection?

Every year, clinics perform cosmetic surgery on approximately 1.4 million women and 200,000 men, and perform an additional 13 million “minimally invasive” cosmetic procedures, such as facial injections to make wrinkles disappear and chemical peels intended to make skin look better.

Those numbers are staggering, compared to fewer than 1 million abortions, more than 20 percent of which involve pills rather than procedures.

Physicians tell us that abortion and cosmetic surgery are usually simple and safe procedures, but undergoing surgery always presents some risk. Cosmetic surgeons estimate that the invasive procedures and anesthesia involved in their procedures result in a death rate of one in 50,000 outpatient procedures. This translates to approximately 100 cosmetic surgery-related deaths per year. In contrast, approximately six U.S. women die from complications of a legal abortion per year, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Women who have abortions later in their pregnancies have a death rate higher than one in 1 million — approximately one per 29,000 during weeks 16 to 20 of pregnancy. While this is tragic, later-term abortions still have a better safety record than pregnancy and childbirth, which is fatal for one in 7,700 American women each year. And both are safer than liposuction, which is a fatal procedure for one in 5,000 women each year.

Given the higher death rate from cosmetic surgery and the much larger number of women undergoing cosmetic surgeries and procedures, why is it that the legislators in Texas and so many other states are so concerned about the safety of abortion clinics? 

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