Ep 13: Doctors Talk About What Happens to Women’s Healthcare Under ReTHUGliQan Abortion Bans — Part 3
In this third and final episode in which doctors tell the story of
how abortion bans impact the rest of women’s health care, I’m going to share more excerpts from interviews I had conducted with various doctors when I was the communications director for the ACLU of Georgia as part of the video series that we published titled Stop. The. Bans. American Physicians Speak Out.
You can view all of the videos at its website as well as its YouTube account.
We’re going to start this episode listening to Dr. Christine as she discusses the challenges that happen with contraceptive failures.
“I think about a woman that I took care of in my practice many years ago who was catholic and had four children, and she felt like that was enough children for her and her husband and that she her family was complete.
“So then her husband had a vasectomy, and she became pregnant again.
“And she told me, ‘it would kill me to have to go through another pregnancy and to add a child to our family. It would not allow me to take care of the children that I have.’
“And I was so grateful to be able to care for her that day and allow her to end her pregnancy in the way that she wanted to and to be able to go back to her family, to her children, and have the life in the family that she chose.”
Dr. Christine continued.
“Women’s ability to make decisions about their bodies when they experience a pregnancy that they don’t want to continue is a core aspect of people’s ability to make decisions about their lives.
“And I see that in my practice all the time.
“The impact that being able to end a pregnancy, that would impact women’s educational experiences, that would impact their ability to care for their existing children, that would impact their ability to escape an abusive relationship, having the ability to make that decision is just critical to women’s lives.
“And so working in a state where that was not possible would mean that I was not able to meet my patients’ needs.”
Being able to escape an abusive relationship is critical to our lives.
Dr. Williams is going to connect the dots between pregnancy, abortion, and the ability to escape intimate partner violence.
“I’m a physician and more specifically, an OB/GYN, obstetrician and gynecologist.
“So, when you think about pregnancy, a lot of folks don’t think about the fact or are not even aware of the fact that for women who are pregnant. That is, if they are in a situation or a relationship that has intimate partner violence, that actually is one of the most vulnerable times.
“So for women who may be with a partner who is abusive, not having the ability to determine or decide whether to continue a pregnancy can have potentially dangerous outcomes for them.”
The innumerable ways in which abortion bans negatively impact women’s health care is simply heartbreaking. And that’s a good segue into talking about how heart disease impacts pregnancy and how pregnancy can impact our heart health.
Listen, as Dr. Anurag, a cardiologist explains.
“My main job is I take care of adults with heart conditions, and they were born with heart conditions as children but are now adults.
“My job is not to tell them to continue the pregnancy, not continue the pregnancy.
“My job is to tell them what the risks are for pregnancy and then they have to tell me what level of risk that they’re willing to tolerate and how they want to proceed either with the pregnancy or without.
“If we wait until the complication happens, then it can be too late to prevent either mortality or major morbidity, which is worsening of heart function or having a stroke, things that you survive but leave you deathly impaired.
“When a woman is early in her pregnancy and we talk about risk and they’ve decided that they don’t want to proceed with pregnancy, that’s the opportune time to do something about it.
“Not when they come in crisis or near crisis.
“Because at that point about an analogy with the cat is out of the bag and it may be too late to just say that woman.
“Even if you are a woman without cardiac history, pregnancy can be complicated.
“To give you a sense, me and you sitting in this room are pumping about five liters of blood per minute just talking.
“If me and you decide to go to the gym after this and we’re on a treadmill, we’re going to pump around nine to ten liters of blood per minute.
“A woman that’s pregnant in her third trimester, sitting across from me, talking, is going to pump nine to ten liters of blood per minute. So they’re functionally on a treadmill.
“And that’s just with a normal heart. So you can imagine if your heart function is impaired in some way and not able to pump the normal pound of blood even when you’re not pregnant, it gets to be more complicated when you are pregnant.
“That’s not to say that you cannot have a successful pregnancy. You certainly can. But there are challenges.
“Women who have heart dysfunction or who otherwise have impairment of heart valve function or missing portions of their heart or who knows what else. They’re at much higher risk for heart rhythm disorders. There are higher risk for recurrent heart failure. They are at higher risk for sudden death.
“And those are just three of the multitude of complications that they can have.
“The ability of each woman to make good decisions for herself is as critical to her physical well being as it is to her mental and emotional wellbeing.”
Let’s hear what Dr. Linda has to say about that.
“I have a PhD in psychology, and I specialize in reproductive health.
“If we’re taking away reproductive autonomy, what is that doing to help empower women to take charge of their lives and live their lives the best that they can?
“I think as a psychologist and someone who works in mental health, one of our main jobs is to help people move through difficult times. And part of how we do that is empowering people.
“And empowerment also comes with autonomy and being able to make good decisions for yourself.
“And I think that that’s really important.”
I agree with you completely. Dr. Linda. We’re going to talk about postpartum depression. It’s real, and it impacts many women. Dr. Emily takes it from here.
“So I have a patient and family that comes to mind. So this woman, I took care of her during her second pregnancy, which was challenging for her, was medically uncomplicated, but she had an older child at home who was having angry outbursts, and so it was difficult to manage.
“But we got through the pregnancy and delivered a healthy baby girl. She’s excited, but unfortunately developed postpartum depression, which is a lot more common than people realize.
“And it took her about five to six months to be able to recover from that.
“And then about one year after she found out she was pregnant, and she came and we talked about it. And she just wasn’t sure if she could continue with the pregnancy.
“She had just recovered herself.
“She was taking care of two young children.
“Her husband was working two jobs to be able to financially support them.
“She was worried what happened if she had postpartum depression again?
“Would she be able to take care of her kids, her family?
“And after this discussion of her options, she decided that an abortion was the right thing for her. And so, thankfully, here in California, she was able to get that so that she could focus on herself and her family.”
And that’s what we need our health care professionals to provide us with every available option. Dr. Jessica is going to remind us that abortion care is common health care.
“I think of abortion as being an incredibly common condition or a common procedure or medications that people may need to use.
“And so one in four women in their lifetime will have an abortion.
“And so I don’t see it as something that’s outside of healthcare, outside of primary care for women. I think of it as very integrated into the spectrum of healthcare needs that a woman might have.
“And so abortion bans really concern me for those exact reasons.”
No matter how anyone feels about legal abortion care, the simple truth of the matter is that here in the United States of America, we revere freedom. And we tout it all around the world. Here to remind us of that is Dr. Emily.
“My biggest fear about the abortion ban is that it’s going to hurt women, it’s going to hurt people. They’re not going to be able to get the care they need, they’re not going to be able to find it somewhere else, and that this will become a reality in the United States where we’re supposed to have freedom to pursue our dreams. And this significantly limits that.”
Thankfully, there are things that you and I can do right now to ensure that come January these are stories of the past.
Between now and November 8, you and I, with our friends, family and coworkers, must work in the political arena to transform the situation with women’s healthcare.
It really is up to you and me, and we can really do this. To help, I provide numerous ways to do just that.
Episode two tells you how to get your head in the game. Episode three tells you step by step how you can use your cell phone to help identify voters who cast their ballots for our Democratic candidates.
Episode four, well, that gives you a paint by number program to turbo boost a campaign’s momentum through putting out your local yard signs, talking with those voters at their homes, and grabbing a quick video of them touting our Democratic candidate. Those videos get posted to social media and bam! New excitement on the ground.
And finally, in episode nine, I give you the paint by number basic instruction on walking and talking to neighbors about our Democratic candidates. You just have to find one of those actions or more and do them as often as possible.
That is how we participate to create the Big Blue Wave this November.
Thank you for listening to this third and final episode of doctors telling the story of how abortion bans impact women’s health care.
Be sure to follow and like, rate and subscribe wherever you follow this podcast. And of course, share it with your friends and your family.
And you can find me across social media @Sassypoliticalcoach. But for your Hell Hath No Fury swag, t-shirt, ball cap, and of course, to start your day with your coffee mug, head on over to Sassypoliticalcoach.com.
This is Ana Maria. Now go out and make Hell Hath No Fury, our political rallying cry that helps to create our Big Blue Wave.
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