MCMS Physician Winter 2017 - 15

mon t m e d s o c .c om

Repealing the ACA:
Women's Health May Suffer
BY SHERRY L. BLUMENTHAL, MD, MSED, FACOG

"The truth has no sides." Bennett Omalu, MD
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are
created equal...." U.S. Constitution
"Keep the government out of my Medicare." Anonymous, at a
Tea-Party Rally
As a result of the 2016 election, there will be one political
party in power in both the executive and legislative branches of
U.S. government. They have pledged to repeal the Affordable
Care Act (ACA) and overturn Roe v. Wade. The judicial branch
also will have a change in the balance of power. The latter may
mean more justices with a conservative interpretation of the
U.S. Constitution.
Roe v. Wade
The U.S. Constitution makes no mention of women or
fetuses. It does, however, guarantee freedom of religion,
although this has been open to many different interpretations.
If Roe v. Wade is overturned, it is likely that the decision about
abortion will be left to the states. Polls do show that two-thirds
of the public believe abortion should remain legal, especially in
cases of rape, incest, and danger to the mother's life. For those
of us in Pennsylvania, however, abortion could possibly become
illegal. Unfortunately, for those who oppose abortion for
religious reasons, this action will not stop abortion. Women had
unsafe and illegal abortions before 1973 and will do so again.

Who remains to be labeled the criminal is uncertain. Before
1973, it was the person who performed the abortion. There
have been statements from both the president-elect and the
re-elected senator from Pennsylvania that they believe there
should be some punishment for the woman, too. Many of us are
"pro-life" for the fetus and mother during pregnancy, but if we
are to be "pro-choice" also, we believe the mother's life should
take precedence.
Reflections: Consider These Situations
I was in high school in the late 1950s when the only
contraception available was condoms. I saw a girl being taken
from the girl's bathroom on a stretcher, having tried to abort
herself with a hanger. I still remember the amount of blood
everywhere. Girls who became pregnant left school in shame
and often did not complete their education. The boys put a
notch in their belts and stayed in school.
There were wards in hospitals dubbed "septic tanks" full of
women who had botched illegal abortions. Many women died.
A few whose families could afford it went to New York to have
abortions. One woman I knew had a hysterotomy (vertical
incision on uterus) in PA after she became pregnant and her
fiancé's parents forced him to break off the engagement. By
the time the gynecologist could get a court order declaring she
was significantly depressed so he could perform the abortion,
it was too late to have a dilation and evacuation (D&E). She
was traumatized by the experience and had to deliver late by
cesarean section due to risks of uterine rupture if she went into
labor.
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MCMS Physician Winter 2017

MCMS Physician Winter 2017 - 1
MCMS Physician Winter 2017 - 2
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