Tag: induced abortion

Bioethics News

Abortion pills at home: the new sinister face of the global abortion business

Dutch website “Women on web” is offering to deliver abortion drugs based on mifepristone (RU-486) and misoprostol for use at home, through a simple request on their website (there are lots of sites like this, after which they ask for “a donation of at least 90, 80 or 70 euro”. The website literally states that “a medical abortion can be done safely at home as long as you have good information and have access to emergency medical care in the rare case that there are complications”. Both drugs legally require a medical prescription, so their sale on the internet is illegal.

Abortion pills at home

A woman who feels tempted to make an “abortion” request on this site should know that the side effects of RU-486 are common and objective (see HERE), particularly vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and fatigue [2]. In some cases, the intensity of the vaginal bleeding requires a blood transfusion  [3], [4]. A total of 607 adverse events were reported between September 2000 and September 2004 : 237 hemorrhages, which included 1 fatal, 42 life-threatening, 168 serious, and 68 requiring blood transfusions; 66 infections, which included 7 cases of septic shock, 3 of which were fatal while 4 were life-threatening; 513 patients required a subsequent secondary surgical intervention, 235 urgent and 278 non-urgent. The need to have a surgical abortion after failure of the chemical abortion can be considered a side effect, and occurs in between 1% and 10% of cases. This second surgical intervention can increase the risk of permanent sterility http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1345/aph.1G481a.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

The ‘Weird’ First Fortnight of the Foetus: Implications for the Abortion Debate

Guest Post: William Simkulet
Paper: The Cursed Lamp: The Problem of Spontaneous Abortion

For many people, the moral status of abortion stands or falls whether or not a human fetus is morally comparable to you or I; whether its death is a significant loss.  Many people believe human fetuses have a right to life from conception, and thus conclude that there is good reason to think induced abortion is seriously morally wrong.  Judith Jarvis Thomson challenges this belief, constructing a scenario where she believes it is morally acceptable to end the life of a person because although he has a right to life, his right to life does not give him a right to use your body.  Her example should be familiar:

Violinist:  You wake up in the hospital, surgically attached to a violinist.  Your doctor explains that last night the Society of Music Lovers kidnapped the two of you and performed the surgery.  The violinist has a serious condition that will result in his death soon unless he remains attached to your kidneys for the next 9 months (you alone are biologically compatible).

The violinist has a right to life, and surely you are free to let him remain attached to your body to save his life.  It would be a great kindness for you to do so, but Thomson says that the violinist’s right to life does not give him the right to use your body.  Anti-abortion theories that focus on the moral status of the fetus neglect to show why the fetus’s moral status – its argued for right to life – would give it a right to use the woman’s body.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

Drug-Induced Abortion Less Safe in Ohio After 2011 Law

August 30, 2016

(New Scientist) – An Ohio law intended to make abortions safer has instead tripled the rate of complications. The 2011 law requires providers to stick to US Food and Drug Administration’s guidelines for abortion by medication. These suggest specific timings and doses of drugs, but were drawn up in 2000. Research has since found different dosages and timing are safer – most Ohio doctors had already made those adjustments before the law was passed.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

Court Overturns Feticide Conviction of Indiana Woman Who Had Self-Induced Abortion

July 25, 2016

(Washington Post) – An Indiana appeals court has overturned the conviction of Purvi Patel, who was accused of neglect and feticide after she took abortion drugs to end her pregnancy. The court ruled on Friday that the Indiana legislature didn’t intend for the feticide law “to be used to prosecute women for their own abortions,” the Associated Press reported. The court said the law “intended for any criminal liability to be imposed on medical personnel, not women who perform their own abortions.”

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

In the Journals – June 2016, Part I by Anna Zogas

Here are some articles published in June that may be of interest. Enjoy!

Medical Anthropology Quarterly

Cancer and the Comics: Graphic Narratives and Biolegitimate Lives
Juliet McMullin

Cancer graphic narratives, I argue, are part of a medical imaginary that includes representations of difference and biomedical technology that engage Fassin’s (2009) concept of biolegitimacy. Framed in three parts, the argument first draws on discourses about cancer graphic narratives from graphic medicine scholars and authors to demonstrate a construction of universal suffering. Second, I examine tropes of hope and difference as a biotechnical embrace. Finally, I consider biosociality within the context of this imaginary and the construction of a meaningful life. Autobiographical graphic narrative as a creative genre that seeks to give voice to individual illness experiences in the context of biomedicine raises anthropological questions about the interplay between the ordinary and biolegitmate. Cancer graphic narratives deconstruct the big events to demonstrate the ordinary ways that a life constructed as different becomes valued through access to medical technologies.

“Time with Babe”: Seeing Fetal Remains after Pregnancy Termination for Impairment
Lisa M. Mitchell

Some North American hospitals now offer parents the opportunity to see, hold, and photograph fetal remains after pregnancy loss. I explore the social, material, and interpretive strategies mobilized to create this fetal visibility after second trimester–induced abortion for fetal anomaly. My analysis examines both the discursive framing of fetal remains in practice guidelines on pregnancy loss and the responses of a group of Canadian women to being offered “time with babe.” I show that while guidelines tend to frame contact with fetal remains as a response to women’s desires to see their baby and to feel like mothers, women’s experiences of this contact were shaped by more diverse wishes and concerns as well as by specific abortion practices and practitioner comments and actions.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

In the Journals — March 2016, Part II by Anna Zogas

Here is the second half of our March roundup of journal articles. There are also two Special Issues out this month that may be of interest, including the current Medical Anthropology Quarterly, and their contents are posted here.

American Anthropologist 

Love and Resurrection: Remaking Life and Death in Contemporary Russia
Anya Bernstein

In this article, I discuss two “crimes of compassion”—one a mercy killing and the other what I refer to as a “mercy resurrection”—as key illustrations of the changing landscape of necropolitical governmentality in Russia some 20 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Such practices present unanticipated challenges to the state control of death, producing irregular yet ultimately normative narratives of what counts as pathological, as life and death, and as the meaning of suffering, love, and compassion. I argue that these cases ultimately present two sides of the same coin, evincing a politics of life that, intentionally or not, defies the power of the state over death and its monopoly position as the purveyor of death and immortality. They also suggest alternative practices of caregiving to the dead and dying. In doing all this, they enter a legally ambiguous zone between violence and compassion, martyrdom and savagery, madness and mercy.

“We Are All Carrying Someone Else’s Child!”: Relatedness and Relationships in Third-Party Reproduction
Zsuzsa Berend

In this article, I explore surrogates’ rich, diverse, and collective negotiations of relatedness and relationships on the largest U.S. surrogacy support website. Surrogates reconfigure existing kinship understandings and maintain that intent and love are firmer bases of parenthood than biogenetic connection.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Bioethics and Fetal Tissue Hearing

BY G KEVIN DONOVAN, MD, MA

On March 2, 2016, Dr. G Kevin Donovan testified at the “Bioethics and Fetal Tissue” hearing before the Select Investigative Panel of the Committee on Energy and Commerce of the US House of Representatives. Dr. Donovan was one of six witnesses to present testimony.

Chairman Blackburn, and members of the panel, I thank you for the opportunity to present testimony regarding the bioethical considerations in the harvesting, transfer, and use of fetal tissues and organs.

I am a physician trained in both pediatrics and clinical bioethics. I have spent my entire professional career caring for infants and children. It was this interest and concern that led me to further study in bioethics, because I have always been concerned about the most vulnerable patients, those who need others to speak up for them, both at the beginning and at the end-of-life. I also have significant familiarity with research ethics, having spent 17 years as the chair of the IRB, a board that monitors the rightness and the wrongness of medical research in order to protect human subjects. We took this aspect of our duties so seriously that I renamed our IRB the Institutional Research Ethics Board. Four years ago, I was called by my mentor, Dr. Edmund Pellegrino, to take his place as director of the Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University. Our duties include ethics education for medical students and resident physicians, ethics consultation for patients and doctors at the hospital, as well as the promulgation of scholarly papers and public speaking.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

Has the morning after pill mechanism only an anticonceptive effect

Why is the morning after pill mechanism often silenced?

Teenage pregnancy is a significant public health issue.(1) Worldwide, some 15 million pregnancies occur every year among young women aged 15 to 19,(2) approximately 1.25 million in the 28 OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) nations,(3) and between 750.000 and 850.000 in the United States.(4)

As is well known, an estimated fifth of pregnancies World Wide ended in abortion. In Europe this proportion was nearer a third.(5)

Among the various measures proposed is emergency contraception, understanding as such those back up methods for contraceptive emergencies which women can back up methods for contraceptive emergencies which women can use within the first few days after unprotected sexual intercourse or in the event of potential contraceptive failure, to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.(6) However, the morning-after pill, the active substance of which is levonorgestrel (LNG), is undoubtedly the most widely used method. In Spain alone 506.000 units were issued in 2002.(7)

Levonogestrel, the morning after pill mechanism

The oral preparation is marketed as two tablets containing 750 Ìg of levonorgestrel each or as one 1500 Ìg tablet. In either case, it is currently recommended to take 1500 Ìg as a single dose, as soon as possible after unprotected intercourse.(8) In order to make an ethical evaluation on the use of the morning-after pill, we believe that the main aspect to take into consideration is its mechanism of action since, depending on whether it is anovulatory or prevents implantation, the ethical judgement on its use will be different.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

In the Journals, June 2015 – Part I by Elizabeth Lewis

Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

Deaf Bodies and Corporate Bodies: New Regimes of Value in Bangalore’s Business Process Outsourcing Sector
Michele Friedner

This article ethnographically analyses how groups (and not just individuals) are produced in business process outsourcing (BPO) workplaces. In order to mitigate an unstable labour pool, corporations hire deaf workers to perform identical BPO work regardless of their qualifications and backgrounds. These hiring practices serve to cement existing relationships and produce deaf workers as a group marked only by deafness. This article explores how engaging in the same work articulates with deaf young adults’ ‘sameness work’ to produce ambivalent deaf groups. It also analyses the everyday practices of deaf employees, their relationships with their normal co-workers who ‘love’ them, and the ways that value is reconfigured in the workplace through the existence of disabled workers. This article argues that in contrast to dominant representations of disabled people as unemployable, the (re)inscription of deafness as a source of multiple forms of value begs for a broader analysis of the role of disability in late capitalism.

Bodily Rights and Collective Claims: The Work of Legal Activists in Interpreting Reproductive and Maternal Rights in India
Carolyn Heitmeyer and Maya Unnithan

This article engages with anthropological approaches to the study of global human rights discourses around reproductive and maternal health in India. Whether couched in the language of human rights or of other social justice frameworks, different forms of claims-making in India exist in tandem and correspond to particular traditions of activism and struggle. Universal reproductive rights language remains a discourse aimed at the state in India, where the primary purpose is to demand greater accountability in the domain of policy and governance.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Abortion Wars: Arizona Mandates Unscientific “Truths”

by Craig Klugman, Ph.D.

The Arizona legislature has apparently gone through medical school and graduated. They have passed a new law of the land. A person in Arizona is no longer permitted to buy health insurance on the health exchange if the plan provides coverage for abortion (except for the cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is in danger).

A second provision of the law is what has troubled most people. The law now requires that a physician tell his or her patient that a medically induced abortion can be reversed. When having a medicated abortion, a woman takes mifepristone (RU-486) and several days later, a dose of misprostol. The new law requires women be told that the abortion can be reversed if she has a shot of progesterone after the first pill.

A 2012 study in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy by George Delgado claimed the he reversed abortions in 4 out of 6 women who received progesterone. He also claims that this technique is not commonly known. The article is presented as “a series of cases” rather than as a research study. The article also neglects to mention that if the first drug is taken but not the second, abortion occurs only 40 percent of the time. In Arizona, Dr. Allan Sawyer is a Glendale, AZ OB-GYN who testified that he reversed an abortion using this procedure, once. The reason that this technique is not commonly known, is because there is no technique.

This is not the first time doctors have been forced to lie in the name of stopping abortions.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.