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An OB/GYN Corrects Abortion Myths

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy
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October 10, 2022 8:39 am

An OB/GYN Corrects Abortion Myths

Family Policy Matters / NC Family Policy

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October 10, 2022 8:39 am

This week on Family Policy Matters, host Traci DeVette Griggs welcomes OB/GYN Dr. Susan Bane to discuss (and correct) some of the many myths surrounding abortion.

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Welcome to Family Policy Matters, an engaging and informative weekly radio show and podcast produced by the North Carolina Family Policy Council. And now, here is our host of Family Policy Matters, Tracy Devitt Griggs.

Thanks for joining us this week for Family Policy Matters. Dr. Susan Bain is here to discuss that resource, which is called Myth versus Fact, Correcting Misinformation on Maternal Medical Care. Dr. Bain is an OB-GYN who is in practice for 25 years in the Greenville area. She currently serves as the medical director at Choices Women's Center in Wilson, where she oversees the medical aspects of the center and sees patients with unintended pregnancies. Dr. Susan Bain, welcome to Family Policy Matters.

It's an invitation to be with you. So first of all, why is it important for all of us to read this document that you guys created and correct so much of this misinformation that's out there? Well, it's important because as you said, there is a lot of misinformation out there. And at Afflog, we believe women deserve the best possible medical care and the best information about their health care. So that's why we produce and provide this information for patients as well as anybody else who really wants to understand this issue. And I really appreciate that because I know a lot of the arguments that are made by people who support abortion are very convincing unless you know the other side.

And so that's what you do in this document. Let's start first with the myth that you discuss first in your publication, that abortion is an essential health care service. We hear that all the time.

So is it? I think before I say the answer, let's make sure we understand what we're talking about when we say the word abortion because abortion is used in a wide variety of clinical ways in medicine. So if a woman comes to me and she's early in her pregnancy and she's cramping or bleeding, but everything looks fine on ultrasound, then she has a threatened abortion. If somebody miscarries, she has what we call a spontaneous abortion.

So what we're really talking about with the Dobbs opinion is completely different. We're only talking about elective or induced abortions which are performed with the intention of ending the life of the baby. So really the goal of the abortion is to produce a dead baby. And so, no, it is never necessary for us to do an elective abortion to provide complete medical care for women. One of the other myths that we hear pro-abortion advocates suggesting is that unrestricted abortion is necessary for doctors to provide life-saving care for pregnant women. But you don't agree with that, do you? No, and that is one of the most important things for us to talk about.

So I'm glad you asked that question. I've been an obstetrician and gynecologist for 25 years. I've treated thousands of women and hundreds with life-threatening medical situations and never once have I had to perform an elective abortion in order to help save her life. The fact is that elective abortion is not life-saving medical care.

And when medically necessary to treat women in those situations, we can actually respect both the patient's lives. And a big part is the timing of when the mom gets sick. If the mom is sick and the baby is viable, which now is about 22 to 23 weeks, we can actually deliver that baby and both the mom and the baby can be cared for. If the baby is really premature, the baby may need to go to the NICU or neonatal intensive care unit. If the baby is what we call around viability, the NICU team can actually assess the baby when the baby is born to decide if the baby can be resuscitated or not. And then if the baby is too young to survive, we can do a life-saving induction and the mom would give birth, the baby would be too young to survive. But the family can hold that baby, can love that baby, say goodbye, grieve, even have a funeral. That is completely different than saving a mother's life without providing that same compassionate care to the baby. Those who support abortion and who are perpetuating these myths, they know better than this.

You cannot tell me. They don't know that what they're saying is untrue. So I mean, I think sometimes the general public maybe doesn't know any different, but the people who are, even the doctors, there are doctors who are perpetuating this myth.

Why is that? What is the point of that for them? So good science, you care more about the truth than being right. And sadly, the root of much of the misinformation is actually coming from the health professionals. American College of OBGYN, which has been for years a leading medical organization for women's health care, they're perpetuating many of these myths. But when health care practitioners are being interviewed, they really have to go to the science. And even if it disagrees with what they personally believe, good research actually cares about the truth.

So let's talk about another myth that you tackle in this downloadable document. It's great, it's easy to access, is that restrictions on abortion are an intrusion on the relationship between a doctor and a patient. You were at OBGYN, a gynecologist, for 25 years. Do you think that's true?

No, I do not. It's a myth that restrictions on abortion are an intrusion on the relationship between a doctor and patient. The fact is that most abortion providers have no previous relationship with the patients they see. After the abortion, they tend to leave the medical care to other physicians who either have a prior relationship or who work in the local emergency department. So given this, it's not an intrusion on the doctor-patient relationship. I recently actually had a patient of mine whose daughter saw me on television during an interview and she turned to her mom and she said, That was my first doctor and it made me smile when I thought about that because she's so right. As OBGYNs, we care for two patients and both those lives matter.

And that's a real doctor-patient relationship. Alright, so another myth that maternal mortality rates will rise under more restrictive abortion laws. Is that true?

Once again, it is a myth. The data are really interesting that when you restrict abortion, it does not lead to an increase in maternal mortality. And just to make sure everyone understands that the CDC or Center for Disease Control, that's defined as the death of a woman during a pregnancy or within a year afterwards. In every country where abortion was legal and made illegal, maternal mortality actually decreased as did abortion mortality because fewer women had elective abortions. You know, abortion has been legal in the United States for nearly 50 years and we maintain one of the absolute worst mortality rates in the world. So we need to shift from using elective abortion as our solution to really getting at root causes as to why we have such high maternal mortality. We have such big issues with access to quality healthcare.

We have issues with education in terms of women being able to read the instructions, follow the instructions. We need women to have better prenatal care earlier so that if they get sick, we can identify it earlier. There's just so many better ways to address maternal mortality than to use elective abortion as that solution. I think you're making a really good point because that is also one of the accusations that pro-abortion people make toward the pro-life movement that we only care about the baby and that we oppose increasing healthcare. So you feel like that's an important step for us to make if we truly are pro-life, huh?

Yeah. You know, we've been accused of being pro-birth if we care about both the mom and the baby and we can't be. If we're going to set policies that limit the ability to have elective abortions, we have got to address the issues.

And, you know, for years I did the full gamut of OB-GYN practice and now I basically just see women with unintended pregnancies. And the most common reasons they're coming in, and this is what the research shows too, it's socioeconomic factors. They can't afford to have the baby. They don't have the social support for the baby.

The timing is not right. They couldn't afford daycare. And so there's just so many issues when we're thinking about policy that we've got to really address. We've got to have family-friendly workplaces that a female who is pregnant is welcome there and she knows there'll be maternity leave, paternity leave for the father of the baby. There'll be perhaps childcare as a benefit of the work site. And so we have a long way to go, but this is a great start to try to create a society where we really care about the entire family. And these policy changes, are those a statewide thing? Are they a federal thing, both? I'm a firm believer in both.

And so I always like to start in neighborhoods and local businesses. I did a talk in Wilson last year and I called for us to be the first pro-care city in the whole, I called it pro-care vision. We truly take, you know, the two camps are so divided, the pro-life and the pro-choice camps, and they don't talk very well together.

But I believe they have a lot more in common than what they think. And a lot of it has to do with these policies that can promote and take away the barriers. I mean, it's a natural biological fact that women have babies and women also can contribute to society in so many ways in the workplace. And so we have to celebrate that, but we have to rethink what does it mean for a woman to be able to be a mom and a great employee? I love that idea of the pro-care city that we don't have to wait for state lawmakers or federal lawmakers.

A city could take this on or even just local businesses, right? If somebody considers themselves pro-life, making sure they have these kinds of policies. Talk a little bit about the fact that you mentioned that you are the medical director now for a pregnancy resource center. You've done a lot of things. Like you said, you've been 25 years as an OB-GYN.

You worked for many years with the Brody School of Medicine at ECU. Tell us, what is this like now, being able to intersect almost daily with women who are in quite a different position maybe than you've seen before? Is this a rewarding time of your life for you?

Absolutely. It's where I feel like I have found home. You know, for years, most of the women I saw, they were planning to carry.

And now almost everyone I see comes in scared, comes in alone, oftentimes is in such a vulnerable place. And to be able to walk beside her with great medical care in a non-judgmental way is incredibly rewarding. And I feel so cold at this phase of my life. I'm 57.

It's probably going to be kind of, you know, those last, however, 10, 20 years of full-time work. I know it is for such a time as this that I've been placed at Choices Women's Center here in Wilson. So I'm assuming that you would highly recommend people volunteering and getting involved in these pregnancy resource centers that we have, literally dotting the entire state. Yeah, we do.

I mean, there are, I believe, 3,000 across the nation. And they started off historically more for providing social services and diapers and some of the physical needs of women. And they have grown into many of them being medical clinics.

And that's what we have converted to in Wilson. And so we provide pregnancy tests. I have a registered nurse that works with me. I'm a board certified OBGYN. We have client advocates who are actually non-medical.

Using the model that is used oftentimes across health care where you have peer advocates that work with people, whether they work in substance abuse or the VA system has a lot of peer advocates. So we have advocates who have a heart to work with these women. They may have had an abortion themselves.

They may have adopted a child because they couldn't have their own, but they're all drawn there because they really want great care for these women and to love them. And to know that even, you know, our hope is that they can choose life, but we never pressure them to do that. And we let them know their door is open if they need to come back and talk, because we haven't talked about this, but there are strong data that look at the long term mental health risks that happen with abortion. And we know some women will struggle with that.

We are about out of time. Can you tell our listeners where they can go to find this wonderful resource, Myth vs Fact, Correcting Misinformation on Maternal Medical Care, which was provided by the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists? Absolutely. Our website is AAPLOG.org.

And if they just type in Myth vs Fact, they'll be able to access and share it with other people. Great. Dr. Susan Bain, thank you so much for being with us today on Family Policy Matters. You've been listening to Family Policy Matters. We hope you enjoyed the program and plan to tune in again next week. To listen to the show online and to learn more about NC Family's work to inform, encourage and inspire families across North Carolina, go to our website at NCFamily.org. That's NCFamily.org. Thanks again for listening and may God bless you and your family.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-23 09:17:01 / 2022-12-23 09:22:39 / 6

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