21 April 2011

Let Maria Talk Already

MariaTalks.com is a website sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health aimed at providing information geared to and understandable by teens regarding safe sex, birth control, and (gasp) abortion.

From the website:

"Abortion is a pretty hot topic with some of the kids at my school.  Some believe that it is wrong while others believe that it can be a good and responsible choice.  While everyone is entitled to their opinion, it can sometimes be hard to get truthful information because some people may try to get you to think the same way they do."

First off, I want to say that I think it is reprehensible that the government would provide information to the general public about a completely legal procedure. Wait, did I say reprehensible? I meant commendable. See, words are confusing. Maybe the outcry by Massachusetts Citizens for Life's Linda Thayer against the site is just a misunderstanding. Maybe she doesn't understand words. That must be it. Or maybe she just skips the ones that don't jive with her message. Yes, I said jive. Because it has a 'j' in it and is groovy. Words can be fun as well as helpful. So just calm down.

Without wading through the waters of an ethical debate about when life begins and whether abortion is right, let me take a moment to focus on one aspect of the opposition to the website, specifically there being a dearth of information on the actual risks of abortion. Dearth. Look it up.

Now this would be inexcusable if the website itself were performing abortions. Sadly, the internet is not that powerful and you actually need to see a doctor to have most medical procedures done, at which point the risks would be discussed ad nauseum as a part of informed consent.

So, let's talk about risks for just a moment. In fact, let's make a list:

  • hemorrhage
  • hemolytic anemia
  • thrombocytopenia
  • seizures
  • coma
  • death

Scary stuff indeed. 

The thing is, these are the risks of pregnancy, of carrying a baby to term. The risk of death from childbirth is higher than from an abortion. Not just a little bit higher. A lot higher. In the United States in 2005 at least 11 in 100,000 pregnancies ended in death, whereas complications from abortions cause death in only 0.2-1.2 out of 100,000 women in the developed world. It would be lovely if either of those numbers was a zero, but the world isn't all rainbows and miracles. It's messier than that and to pretend otherwise is madness. 

Now multivariable calculus admitted kicked my butt at Princeton, but I do believe that there's a tenfold reduction in dying by having an abortion. Anyone claiming to want to protect life may need to have a think about that one. I said think. Another wonderful word. Try it out.

I'm all for fair and balanced information, so might I also point out that at no point during my prenatal visits did my OB mention to me that I was putting my life at risk by having this baby. Nope. Never mentioned. Now who out there thinks I should sue? Maybe the Massachusetts Citizens for Life will take up my cause, though I highly doubt it. They seem to be too busy being angry, which is a shame. Life is short. Move on.

No comments:

Post a Comment