All Articles Tagged "abortion"
Inaccurate prenatal testing results could be leading moms-to-be to unnecessarily terminate healthy pregnancies, a new study finds.
The study, which was conducted by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, found that some women are choosing to terminate their pregnancies based on the results of prenatal tests that scan fetuses for genetic conditions. Startlingly, this new report finds that these tests can be inaccurate up to 50% of the time.
Non-invasive prenatal testing, aka cell-free DNA testing, examines the DNA found in a baby’s placenta and tests for conditions such as Down syndrome and chromosomal disorders. The tests can be performed nine weeks into a pregnancy and it has been claimed that they have a 99% accuracy rate. However, researchers say that this figure is extremely misleading because it does not count false positives.
Bizarrely, the study also found a correlation between the rarity of certain conditions and the increased rate of false positives.
NYU Langone Medical Center obstetrics and gynecology professor Dr. Iffath Hoskins suggests that more invasive testing should occur before a decision is made to terminate a pregnancy once positive results are received from one of these tests.
“Nobody should do anything based on the screening test,” Hoskins warned.
There have also been incidents where moms have received false negatives after undergoing testing only to learn after birth that their babies have been diagnosed with some sort of disorder.
“You have to understand the limitations and you have to realize they’re screening tests and not diagnostic,” said Elizabeth Daley, a reporter with the New England Center for Investigative Reporting.
Abortion is a tricky, moral debate for a whole lot of people. Personally, it’s a decision I can’t see myself making; but I can say with certainty, judging someone else for making that very difficult decision is not cool.
Bringing a life into the world is not something to take lightly. And it’s not a decision someone should pressure you into or attempt to make for you. Which is the problem I have with people who protest and attempt to shame women in front of abortion clinics. It’s not just a problem in the southern, conservative states in the U.S.Apparently it’s an issue in London as well.
And one woman, who happened to be very much pregnant herself, had had enough of it. She told the protestors who were filming the women entering the clinic that they were wrong on so many different levels. And even called one protestor, who admitted that she had had an abortion herself, a hypocrite for attempting to deride others for a decision she had made herself.
The woman happened to be an advocate for girls and women who have been molested and abused. So she knows the complexities of the issue.
She went IN. And the group was left speechless afterward.
The video is compelling, no matter what side of the argument you’re on. Take a look and let us know what you think.
Last week, Missouri legislators passed a law that will now require women to take a 72-hour reflection period after consulting a healthcare provider about getting an abortion, Al Jazeera reports. The law was enacted after Republican lawmakers banned together to override a veto presented by Democratic Governor Jay Nixon, who pegged the 3-day wait period as “extreme and disrespectful,” as it made no exceptions for incest or rape victims.
Nixon’s veto, however, was overturned my Missouri’s House by a 117-44 vote.
“[If] you get a couple of more days to think about this pregnancy, think about where it’s going, you may change your mind” about terminating your pregnancy, said Rep. Kathie Conway, a Republican from St. Charles.
Abortion advocates, on the other hand, feel that the law is insulting to women who have more than likely already done their share of “soul-searching” before taking the steps to have their pregnancies terminated.
“It’s designed to demean and shame a woman in an effort to change her mind,” said Rep. Judy Morgan, a Democrat from Kansas City.
The new law will take effect 30 days after the veto-override. Currently, approximately half of the states in the U.S. (including Missouri) have abortion waiting periods of 24 hours.
What are your thoughts on Missouri requiring a 72-hour waiting period?
Nearly a third of Detroit pregnancies end in abortion, according to a report from the Detroit News.
The paper reports that in 2012, there were an estimated 18,360 pregnancies in Detroit and 5,693 ended in abortion, a rate of 31 percent.
“We’re seeing a picture that looks more like some Third-World country than someplace in the United States,” said Dr. Susan Schooley, chairwoman of the Department of Family Medicine at Henry Ford Hospital.
Detroit’s abortion rate has climbed in the last decade, despite decreases state and countrywide. The United States’ abortion rate in 2011 was the lowest since the procedure was nationally legalized in 1973.
The abortion rate among women age 15 to 44 in Detroit overall — including women who did not conceive — is 37.9 per 1,000 women, compared to 27.5 per 1,000 women in 2001. The national abortion rate in 2011 was 17 in 1,000 women.
Read more on BlackVoices.com.
You’re probably familiar with the rates by now: One in 10 women will have an abortion by age 20, one in four by age 30 and three in 10 by age 45. It makes it very likely that someone you know has had an abortion in their lifetime.
Toni Braxton is the latest to reveal that she has had an abortion in the past. In an exclusive Entertainment Tonight interview, the singer revealed more than ten years ago she became pregnant by her then boyfriend, Keri Lewis. At the time she was in the middle of a six-month prescription for Accutane, a prescription acne medication which can cause serious complications in pregnancy.
She decided to terminate the pregnancy, but admits in her new memoir “Unbreak My Heart” that she would’ve have come to the same conclusion even if she weren’t on the medication. The singer admits her decision was caused more by the refusal to inconvenience her lifestyle than any fear that her fetus had been harmed.
She confesses that the decision was followed by a huge amount of guilt from being raised in a strictly religious home that did not support abortion. She also admits that when her youngest son Diezel was diagnosed with autism, at times she felt that was God’s way of punishing her. She writes in her memoir,”Is God punishing me for that abortion?” The singer confesses she questioned if her lupus diagnosis and her parents’ messy divorce were God’s payback for her decision.
We are happy to see more and more women breaking their silence about such a very personal experience so that other women don’t feel so guilty and ashamed. Toni has had a lot of setbacks in her life so it’s nice to see her busy working again.
You can see what else the singer has to share on Entertainment Tonight on Monday. Check out a clip of the preview below:
If You Knew Your Unborn Child Would Be Born With Immense Health Challenges, Would You Have An Abortion?
I think that the abortion debate is interesting because it mainly centers around the question of whether or not termination is right or wrong – with the usual answers varying from you should be able to do it whenever you want to do it, to you should absolutely never do it. However, rarely do we discuss or even question the merits of choosing life when the alternative might be more just.
I know, that sounds horrible. But here’s what I mean:
The New York Daily News reported on the story of Australian “miracle” twins, Hope and Faith, who were born with a rare medical condition called diprosopus, where the two babies share one body, although they have two faces and separate brains. According to the Daily News, the condition is so rare that only 40 cases have been recorded since the 1860s and most diprosopus babies are stillborn or rarely live past a day. Currently, Hope and Faith are still in intensive care, although hospital officials report that the twins are eating and are breathing “perfectly” on their own.
The Daily News story includes pictures of the twins, which are kind of heart-wrenching as you can’t help but think about the quality of life they might have in the event that they do survive and live long lives. Equally heart-wrenching are the words from Renee Young and Simon Howie, the parents of the twin girls, who say the twins received their diagnosis when Young was 19 weeks pregnant. And yet, they maintain that termination (aka, an abortion) was not even considered an option. As the Daily News writes: “If I only get two days with the baby, I only get two days with the baby, at least I have some time with ‘it.'”
That’s kind of cavalier…
I’m not sure why these kind of stories are celebrated as some sort of marvel of the world when the reality is that these parents had advance notice that their children would be born into the same body. It’s seems pretty expected if you ask me. And maybe even cruel and irresponsible too. As medical history has shown, these types of births never end well. And I imagine that the children could be experiencing pain in their fight to stay alive – one that they statistically might not survive.
I realize that this is a sensitive topic. And I also realize that there are religious connotations, particularly the over-reliance in hope and faith (no pun intended whatsoever) even in the face of readily available options, which likely contribute to the decision of the parents. Plus, I don’t want to downplay (at all) the difficulty in terminating a wanted pregnancy, which is never an easy choice. But where does the well-being of the children come into play in any of it, when you knowingly let a fetus become severely handicapped children? Outside the daily challenges of being ostracized and limited in society and in their own lives (what if Hope wants to be a doctor and Faith wants to be a lawyer? Who wins?), these children will have but the life-long (however long that may be) health problems associated with two people living in the same body.
By my reproductive politics, I am pro-choice. And for all intents and purposes, that means the choice for a woman to decide life when termination might be more humane. But just as those who believe in the right to life think that women should consider all moral questions prior to having an abortion (including mandatory ultrasounds, pre-abortion right-to-be-born counseling and all other ways we restrict free access to abortion), I believe that potential parents should truly weigh those same moral authorities when considering a child’s right to not be born into a situation where the minimum requirements to live can not be guaranteed. Just a thought.
‘There Is A Such Thing As A Positive Abortion Story:’ Women’s Clinic Counselor Films During Her Abortion Procedure
When 25-year-old Emily Letts found out that she was pregnant, she instantly knew that she was going to terminate her pregnancy. And then, she decided that she would film it. Letts works as an abortion counselor at the Cherry Hill Women’s Center in New Jersey and says she wished to show the world that “there is a such thing as a positive abortion story.”
The non-graphic video shows Letts performing breathing and humming exercises as a doctor holds her hand. She later discussed her reason for filming the procedure in an essay for Cosmo. An excerpt from her letter reads:
“I found out I was pregnant in November. I had been working at the clinic for about a year. It was my first pregnancy, and, full disclosure, I hadn’t been using any kind of birth control, which is crazy, I know. I’m a sex educator, and I love talking about birth control. Before this experience, hormonal birth control scared me because of complications I’d heard about from friends — gaining weight, depression, etc. So I tracked my ovulation cycle, and I didn’t have any long-term partners. I thought I was OK. But, you know, things happen. I wound up pregnant.
Working at an abortion clinic, you always think you’re pregnant. After hearing day in and day out stories from women not knowing they’re pregnant until 20 weeks or still getting their periods while pregnant, I take pregnancy tests all the time.
On a whim, I took a test, and it came up two pink lines. The moment when a woman looks down and sees those two pink lines and she’s not expecting to see them, it’s like time implodes and explodes simultaneously. You’re caught in this tornado that just sucks out all the breath in your lungs.
Once I caught my breath, I knew immediately I was going to have an abortion. I knew I wasn’t ready to take care of a child. The guy wasn’t involved in my decision. I called my supervisor and said, “Excuse me, I am going to need to schedule one abortion, please.” It was very early in the pregnancy, only two to three weeks.
Patients at the clinic always ask me if I can relate to them — have I had an abortion? Do I have kids? I was so used to saying, “I’ve never had an abortion but…” While I was pregnant and waiting for my procedure, I thought, “Wait a minute, I have to use this.”
Letts ended her essay by not only expressing that she did the video to show women that abortion isn’t scary, but that they shouldn’t allow anyone to make them feel guilty about exercising their right to choose.
“Our society breeds this guilt. We inhale it from all directions. Even women who come to the clinic completely solid in their decision to have an abortion say they feel guilty for not feeling guilty. Even though they know 110 percent that this is the best decision for them, they pressure themselves to feel bad about it.
I didn’t feel bad. I do feel a little irresponsible and embarrassed about not using birth control. I mean, Emily, wake up! What are you doing? I was going against the advice I give to patients all the time. So I had them put an IUD in after the abortion. I was able to learn and move forward. And I am grateful that I can share my story and inspire other women to stop the guilt.”
So far, Letts’ video has received mixed reviews. Many say that they are sickened by entire thing, others say they’re empowered and inspired.
You can watch the full video below. Let us know your thoughts.
Sometime last month, news broke that Paul George and a dancer named Daniela were expecting a child together. Ignoring the fact professional basketball players seems to have a complete disregard for using protection with strange women, this story would’ve been run of the mill except for a very small detail. Apparently, Paul George offered Daniela $1 million to not have the baby. Depending on who you are, what George did was either a despicable act or a shrewd business move. In either event, it begs the question. If a man gets a woman pregnant and he doesn’t want her to have the baby, how can he ask her without her being offended? The answer is, he can’t.
In an ideal world, a woman finds out she’s pregnant and informs the man she slept with she’s expecting a child. If it’s not something they planned and there are serious doubts about what should happen next, they sit down and have a conversation. In this conversation, both “soon to be” parents discuss the pros and cons of having a child at that respective moment in time. In an even more ideal world, a conversation happens prior to this event. The man and woman, who’ve decided to engage in a relationship where sex is involved, would have already decided that should the woman get pregnant they will do X, Y, and/or Z. Once pregnant, the man would only need to reaffirm what had been agreed upon and both people would either go to the clinic or announce they’re expecting a child together. Unfortunately, this world isn’t ideal and for plenty of people, neither are the circumstances.
Real life tends to be a bit more…messy. There are a number of mitigating factors which dictates the “right” way a man can ask a woman to have an abortion. I thought about this on Saturday night and all day Sunday, which is when I wrote this post. The best question I thought of in all of that time is, “so….what are you going to do?” It’s a fake open-ended question. It sounds like there’s a million ways to answer the question, but there’s really only two. The safety in the question is that it gives a woman the space to answer the question without feeling pressured. It gives the man space to ask a question without seeming like he’s trying to sway her one way or the other. I’d imagine that a woman who just found out she was pregnant is going through a host of different emotions at the time of learning the news. Men are going through a similar situation, with the added effect of having virtually no control over what’s going to happen next.
After examining the previous two paragraphs in this topic, I’m still not sure if there’s a proper way to ask a woman to have an abortion. It’s telling that the only question I thought possible to ask was not one that was appropriate but one that I thought to be the least offensive. Assuredly, “what are you going to do” is better than “I don’t want to be the father of your child so I don’t think you should have it.” Granted, the latter quote isn’t something that’d likely get said, but I imagine that’s probably what some women in a heightened emotional state might hear. While it’s entirely possible two people in this situation would be able to sit down and have a grown up conversation about whether it’s viable to have a child at that point, if a woman is going to have the kid, there’s likely no real way to ask if she’s planning to have the child without offending her sensibilities. If she doesn’t want to have the child though? Things get considerably easier.
Planned Parenthood has been under heavy attack from anti-abortion organizations, particularly after the release of its annual report last month showing millions in taxpayer funding and a reduction of non-abortion health services. And as states such as Texas, which recently became one of 13 states to ban abortion after 20 weeks, many local Planned Parenthood clinics have closed.
But black women are coming to the rescue. Among the African-American celebrities actively promoting the organization are Star Jones and Nia Long. Recently Jones joined Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards for an off-the-record discussion of reproductive health and Planned Parenthood’s future with a room full of African-American female influencers, including BET President Debra Lee, producer Crystal McCrary and CBS medical expert Dr. Holly Phillips, reports The Root.
Alexis McGill Johnson, a former political adviser to Sean “Diddy” Combs (remember his get out-the-vote campaign?) and Russell Simmons, hosted the event in her home. Johnson is currently chairwoman of the Planned Parenthood board of directors.
“Women’s health is one of my primary issues. I work so hard to make sure women are aware of ownership of our own bodies, and I see everything Planned Parenthood does as connected to women’s health,” Jones told The Root. “I know the nation thinks of Planned Parenthood in a very myopic way.” But, she adds, “[w]hen it comes to women’s health, they are the first line of defense for most lower-income women in America.”
The event at Johnson’s home was the latest event in Planned Parenthood’s multiyear campaign to boost its outreach to communities of color. Johnson was appointed board chairwoman earlier this year, in January Debra Alligood-White joined the organization as general counsel, and, Alencia Johnson became press officer focusing on African-American media in April, joining Kristi Henderson, who started as director of communications in April 2011. Of the organization’s nine-member executive team, three are black.
Although from 1978 to 1992, Faye Wattleton served as the organization’s first–and only–black president, Planned Parenthood has long suffered from image issues and ineffective outreach in communities of color. “This became particularly evident as the “black genocide” movement began gaining momentum and significant media in recent years. In 2011 billboards depicting black children with the tagline ‘the most dangerous place for African Americans is in the womb’ appeared,” reports The Root. The group behind the billboards accused Planned Parenthood of targeting minority communities.
Plus, the organization’s complicated early history has undertones of racism. For example, the organization’s founder, Margaret Sanger, spoke in front of organizations like the Ku Klux Klan.
According to PBS, “A significant faction within the Black Power movement believed that population growth was key to increasing black political strength. At the 1967 Black Power Conference in Newark, N.J., attendees passed an anti-birth control resolution declaring birth control to be the equivalent of black genocide.”
But as black women continue to have the highest rate of unplanned pregnancies of any community, access to contraception has become important. The battle has put the spotlight again on Planned Parenthood, making it one of the most visible political activist groups in the country–and black women are increasingly vital it to win this fight.
“Women of color are leading in so many ways, and I felt it was really important to gather a group of women who have been successful in banking, media and politics, just ideas for how we can use our power to push for the issues we care about. Planned Parenthood is one of those issues,” said Johnson.
Pro-choice advocates are upset with Michigan lawmakers who have just passed a controversial measure banning all insurance plans in the state from covering abortion unless the woman’s life is in danger. Women and employers must purchase a separate abortion rider if they would like the procedure covered, even in cases of rape and incest.
The law, called the “Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act,” goes into affect in March. Supporters argue that it allows people who are anti-abortion to avoid paying into a plan that covers it. Opponents, however, have nicknamed the new law the “rape insurance” initiative, since it would force some women to anticipate the possibility of being raped by purchasing the extra abortion insurance ahead of time, reports The Huffington Post.
“This tells women who were raped … that they should have thought ahead and planned for it,” said Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing) during debates about the new law. “Make no mistake, this is anything but a citizens’ initiative. It’s a special interest group’s perverted dream come true.”
Actually the law isn’t new. Last year, the Michigan State Legislature first passed the measure, but Governor Rick Snyder (R) vetoed it, saying he does not “believe it is appropriate to tell a woman who becomes pregnant due to a rape that she needed to select elective insurance coverage.”
Anti-abortion group Right to Life of Michigan rallied in response to the veto and collected more than 300,000 voter signatures on a petition this year to push for a second vote on the measure. Now, having been passed by both chambers, the bill automatically becomes law — even without Snyder’s approval.
“More than 80 percent of private insurance plans currently cover abortions, The New York Times reported, citing research organization the Guttmacher Institute. Eight states have passed similar laws banning the insurance coverage of abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute, but only two of them have actually made the abortion rider available to women,” reports HuffPo.
During the debates in Michigan several Democratic women lawmakers became emotional during debates as they revealed personal stories of rape, miscarriage and abortion. State Rep. David Knezek (D) blasted the measure as misogynistic.
“This body made up of 80 percent men will make a decision that will impact 100 percent of women,” he said.
What do you think of this law?