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Should Midwives Perform Abortions?

While other states find creative ways to perhaps lessen abortions, notably by requiring a waiting period, it is no surprise that California wants to find ways to do more of them.

That’s not a shock and it isn’t bad. Yes, California is kooky and anti-business and overwhelmingly progressive but in a diverse country, someone is going to be the most something. California is more left than Texas is right, California just has a lot more tolerance for kookiness.  But finding more ways to do abortions is absolutely in the purview of  states. Really, the only reason abortion remains any sort of cultural debate is because an activist Supreme Court made it a federal issue. By the time they handed down their ruling the five largest states already allowed abortions and 35 others would have followed suit quickly.  If I don’t like California politics that much I will move – it isn’t like I can get a permit to carry a gun even though it is my Constitutional right – and anyone in one of the few states that may not have allowed abortions could move too.

California’s efforts to make more abortions available – and they are less available, as doctors have learned more about the fetus and survivability even after six months, a lot fewer do them, despite them being a cash cow – are fine if that is what Californians want. But if you know anything about medicine, you have to wonder why a midwife is somehow qualified to do this.  

I have no issue with doctors performing them, of course.  And if you saw the amount of work that goes into being a Physician’s Assistant you would wonder, as I do, why they don’t become doctors instead. They have a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience so the rules should be changed where they can do them. But a nurse with a four-year degree or a midwife with nothing?  If the intent behind making abortion legal was to stop a ridiculously few deaths from botched abortions with a coat hanger, how is a law letting someone who takes a course and pays a fee preventing harm? If this is, as framed, a ‘reproductive health’ issue, as sponsor and State Senator Christine Kehoe says it is, it is not responsible to open this up to people completely unqualified to act if things go wrong.  I am not knocking nurses, they work hard and end up doing a lot of a doctor’s work for a lot less money, but nurses do not perform any surgery. If aspiration – sticking a suction tube into a woman and dislodging and sucking out the fetus – is not surgery, then almost nothing is.

68 percent of Californians support abortions so obviously changing things around is fine if voters want it.  But if doctors won’t perform an abortion is it right to have people with very little medical knowledge vote on this?  Worse, is it responsible to have midwives doing it?

When advocates are not trying to prevent risky procedures, they contend complications from abortion are incredibly rare. It’s only when Rep. Nancy Pelosi or Sen. Barbara Boxer or other wacky politicians are running for re-election that we are told a Republican victory against them would mean women dying in back alley illegal abortions.  Complications were always rare but facts never got in the way of the cultural rants.

The worst thing abortion opponents can do is lose the mainstream by lobbying aggressively to do an end-run around doctors who have become increasingly uncomfortable performing abortions. People who care about patient health should adopt the same cultural sanity that every other civilized country has and simply not allow them in the third trimester. America is the only country still engaging in that special level of barbarism (though England may be getting closer – some Oxford ethicists even think abortions should be allowed after being born).

Who disagrees with this proposed legislation?  OB-GYNs, as you would expect.  Advocates telling us Obstetricians and Gynecologists do not understand female reproduction is pretty funny.

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