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May 21, 2015 12:00 pm
NC Family president John Rustin talks with Amber Lehman, CEO, and Mary O’Shea, Program Director, of First Choice Pregnancy Solutions in Wake Forest, NC, about the importance of increased waiting periods for abortion procedures, and why these waiting periods are a crucial part of protecting women’s health.
This is family policy matter programs produced by the North Carolina family policy Council of profamily research unification organization dedicated to strengthening and preserving the family and up from the studio.
Here's John Rustin, president of the North Carolina family policy Council, thank you for joining us this week for family policy matters. It is our pleasure to have Amber Lehman and Mary O'Shea with us on the program this week Amber is CEO of first choice pregnancy solutions in Wake Forest, North Carolina, and Mary is currently the organization's program manager and has been serving as a registered nurse in North Carolina for 20 years. The mission of first choice pregnancy solutions is to communicate accurate and truthful information to men and women affected by unplanned pregnancy and to provide them with spiritual, emotional and physical support Amber and Mary are with us to discuss the importance of increased waiting periods for abortion procedures and bodies waiting periods are a crucial part of ensuring that women facing unplanned pregnancies are fully informed before they make life altering decisions for themselves and their unborn children. We are particularly grateful to both Amber and Mary recently testified at a hearing at the North Carolina Gen. assembly in favor of House Bill 465, a bill that would increase the informed consent waiting period for abortion in North Carolina from 24 to 72 hours. Fortunately, this bill passed the house and is now awaiting action in the North Carolina Senate, Amber and Mary bring different perspectives to this issue and we are looking forward to talking with them both about why North Carolina needs a longer waiting period for abortion. Amber and Mary, welcome to the program is great to have you with us. Again, thank you so much for taking Tom's out of your busy schedules not only to be with us today on the program but also to come down to the legislature a few weeks ago and testify on your experience about the importance of legislation like hospital for 65 no Amber you been on the show before and you have shared graciously your own personal experience with unplanned pregnancy and abortion. I'd love it if you would just take a few minutes to share your story with us again for the benefit of our listeners because you really understand what abortion minded women are going through when they're facing the difficult decisions related to a crisis pregnancy shirking gone I was 15 years old when I found out I was pregnant, pregnancy, that my brother how he took me to tell my mom. My family was supportive whenever I wanted to decide, and living with a struggling single mom. I thought abortion really is my only option in a few weeks after my 16th birthday my mother dropped me off at the abortion clinic because she had to go to work and my boyfriend mom picked me up, picked up my prescriptions and dropped me off at home and really went through the decision-making and procedure alone and honestly, Donna had no idea what I was feeling. I did walk through the abortion clinic doors. My motion shut down doing what I had to do and much of that day at the foggy memory, but I do remember signing in, and the extent of the education I got with a question like, you realize you could choose parenting or adoption right and then in the back of his walk-through pamphlet or the procedure maybe fetal development information. I don't remember and I was walking to procedure and I can't read again. I just I don't remember much of that day and honestly I think that it shall limit provide their abortion day there's a there's a bit of that shutting down and going through what you have to do what you feel like you have to do with how long will you give them to think about your decision to have an abortion and looking back. Do you think that a waiting period requirement would have made a difference in your decision.
What I think I can imagine an alternate day that I would walk down end and walk-through information and sent home with educational materials for me a review. Maybe with my mother at the minor yet at 72 hour waiting time where I could have left that fog of being shut down behind and go and think about it once I had the information I know some women have researched it well before they walk through those doors that many haven't and they hadn't when they come through our doors and I think it I had been given full education as well as an understanding of what resources were available to me, that I might possibly would have chosen something different merely as a nurse at first choice pregnancy solutions you work very closely with hundreds of young women who are facing unplanned pregnancies and something that you emphasized in your testimony before the House committee is that women facing unplanned pregnancy are really in crisis when you talk a little bit more about this for us what your experiences have been and explain how this can impact the decisions that they ultimately make that different clean and unplanned pregnancy and unplanned pregnancy are pretty far. Our clients aren't week we asked them where you trying to get pregnant answers now. We asked them where you think or control the answers now and they felt particle understanding our the consequences unprotected sex. That extra make a pregnancy or it is important to them and that magnetic and fellow once they find out they are really shocked and acting strange time for court that can happen here, but that's shocked that it happened down and and they want it to stop. They wanted over they want done as quickly as possible may want to make a decision because of the pressure of the crisis is normal behavior that we see in and many different types of crisis weeks ago hereunder bad weather storm in North Carolina in your power goes out or email. And that's the crisis in the moment we want it overtly want to get back. That feeling of normal considering that fact will use a key part of ensuring that women in these crisis pregnancy situations have not only the information but the time necessary to make a fully informed decision. Would you all agree with a great I think any decision made in a hurry written original regret and a portion of the decision. You can't take back absolutely will Mary.
I was really struck by another point that you made during your testimony on hospital for 65 when you talked about how the abortion procedure compares to other medical procedures, even dental procedures when it comes to a period of reflection. How long do patients typically get with other medical procedures and what is the process we're in, and how does the abortion procedure compare with those things practically how quickly they walk through the prophets of abortion want to take the provider on right now they are able to read the educational information online and print the provider on another day and have a procedure done. Once they walk in the door.
I cannot think of another elective medical procedure that is done the same day that you present to a provider that's only done in situations of emergency and trauma on urgent needs that would prevent to an emergency room generally it really surprise me that there's not an initial interview with the provider assessment by a provider and time together and review information that the provider has given their own research and information, and then come back and have a procedure, it just is the only procedure I can think of. And I consented a lot of patience for procedures.
We talk about this industry were talking about what many consider to be a very well up a highly volatile political issue, and on account of the political front. What we've seen in the legislature, even as a relates to this piece of legislation that you both testified on is the abortion proponents argue that waiting periods like this are unnecessary, that they are demeaning to women and actually would threaten women's health.
However, what is your response to these claims and how do you believe abortion waiting periods will help women facing unplanned pregnancies in North Carolina. I understand your point, but they're making a wrong assumption that women are actually making an informed decision before that 72 hour wait. With take fact, most of the women that we serve are very undereducated about their bodies. The development of their pregnancy and the abortion procedures and rest, especially the resources available to them if they desired it. She something other than abortion when women come to.
We walk them through that very nonconfrontational, nonjudgmental way.
And when they leave their thinking and hugging Arthur many times Bill called to let us know what date it even if they had the abortion and thanked us for being there for them in such a difficult time steps.
I don't actually think women feel demeaned when they are taking the time. In fact I would say that there are more and Howard getting out of that is not the only way to alleviate the crisis in that time. Time alleviates crisis when you can wrap your mind around something when you can get the education when you can talk through it with somebody that is very empowering women that's not demeaning to women. It's giving them safety in their decision, even if they go through with the abortion there and have less regret. If they are fully informed and know the consequences of their decisions comes in for consultation at the abortion clinic and get the information and they sent her home for 72 hours.
That is not stopping her life and she can still go back and she is going to be altogether with the procedure if she wants to do when women are in crisis. There, moving quickly, and when they can have a forced pause where they have to.
I just need to pause and think about this, and it's not so much that they'll change their mind and that 72 hours, but they will be more empowered with current what is important and we talk a lot about the crisis situation with an unplanned pregnancy. One of the factors related to that crisis. In some cases is the role of coercion in abortion and this question would be referred for either you Mary or Amber. I know that many women facing unplanned pregnancies can be pressured by others. Maybe a boyfriend or a parent to get an abortion based on your experience working with women facing unplanned pregnancies. How might a longer waiting period help these women make again an informed decision about abortion and also potentially avoid being coerced into have an abortion and making a hasty decision that they may later regret.
Think about crisis the baby's father said her mother that everybody's dignity quickly and only have them and we did a pretty now we do pregnancy test and ultrasound. The ultrasound can tell us how long she had before the procedure and rest change in and it's amazing to feel the demeanor of a woman change when she is told that she has. She is X amount of weeks pregnant and that she has three or four or five weeks to really make the decision before she goes through with the outlet. The procedure she doesn't realize she has time and time is on our side when we're dealing with a crisis. It takes six weeks to psychologically adjust to the new normal after major life crisis. I'm not saying women should wait six weeks to make something that if she had time, then she should take it so that she can level off her emotions and make a fully informed and empowered vision.
Remember that she's the only one who will lay her head down every night after this decision is made, and she has to make sure that it's right for her and the pressures from family and friends and the fathers of the baby are normal.
I think it's rare that we see a woman who doesn't have at least one person in her life pressuring her towards abortion if they are pressuring their being tested and leaving her alone and rarely do we see somebody saying if you want to have the baby on the league and will be there for you here and get great mom. One of things that really occurred to me not, I love how God is you think your mind is your prospecting.
Thanks is on how much of this fight that healthcare is a right on, not a privilege, and good healthcare is a right and informed consent is a right and that is what women need and that's what this gets them an opportunity to have is that I absolutely agree with Amber about it being the way to empower and equip women and not to beat. It's not demeaning in any laptop taking away any choice from them. I think that speaks to your ministry new services so important.
I find it hard to believe but Amber Millie unfortunately were just about out of town for this all week so I wanted to give you an opportunity to let our listeners know where they can learn more about first was pregnancy solutions and the great work that you all do our website at www.1choiceandsee.org and at first spelled-out choice letters are great state of North Carolina and see.org got one more time to its WW W.1st choice MC.org and I deftly want to encourage your listeners to visit the website for first was pregnancy solutions. Another crisis pregnancy centers across the state to learn more about their incredibly valuable work. Amber and Mary.
I want to thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedules to be with us on family policy matters and just thank you so much for all that you do every day to help protect women who were facing these crisis situations and to save unborn children in North Carolina. Thanks for having us John and thank you for all you do it talk before we close like to invite you to follow the North Carolina family policy Council on Facebook. Just login and find firstname.lastname@example.org again it MC family.org.
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