Judie Brown
May 20, 2009
Life of the mother or lies of Big Brother
By Judie Brown

The claims of our opponents always tend to mystify me because when put under the microscope of logic, they usually look very much like a fairy tale. Take for example the YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuC4gGSZ-yU that circulated last October when Colorado and South Dakota voters were getting ready to vote up or down on measures that, to say the least, would have caused big headaches for the abortion industry.

The title of the video is Anti-abortion measures can hurt ALL women. The point of the presentation is to reinforce their argument that if personhood were established for the preborn child, the expectant mother who was facing a problem with her pregnancy could die because the child would be deemed to have more rights than she had. And according to the narrator, Lynn Paltrow, this would include expectant mothers who actually wanted to carry their pregnancy to term.

The first case we hear about involves Amber Marlowe who, in 2004, was expecting her seventh baby. http://www.advocatesforpregnantwomen.org/main/publications/articles_and_reports/could_you_be_forced_to_have_a_csection_1.php Amber, according to the news report on the Advocates for Pregnant Women web site, said no to an emergency Caesarean section.

    After she said no to surgery, doctors spent hours trying to change her mind. When that didn't work, the hospital went to court, seeking an order to become her unborn baby's legal guardian. A judge ruled that the doctors could perform a "medically necessary" c-section against the mom's will, if she returned to that hospital. Meanwhile, she and her husband checked out against the doctors' advice and went to another hospital, where she later gave birth vaginally to a healthy 11-pound girl. "When I found out about the court order, I couldn't believe the hospital would do something like that. It was scary and very shocking," says Marlowe. "All this just because I didn't want a c-section."

Clearly, the problem she faced had nothing to do with personhood but everything to do with a hospital interfering with her rights as a patient.

The second case addressed in the video involved the 1987 case of Angela Carter, http://hce.slu.edu/hceusa/1_2004_3.html another expectant mother whose physicians sought a court order so that they could perform a Caesarean section against her wishes.

In Carter's case she was suffering from terminal cancer but wanted to wait until her baby was at least 26 weeks gestational age before having the baby delivered because she knew that the baby's survival rate would be much better. Her condition continued to worsen, and according to court transcripts http://www.sclhealthsystem.org/body.cfm?id=114

    The court heard testimony on the facts as we have summarized them, and further testimony that at twenty-six and a half weeks the fetus was viable, i.e., capable of sustained life outside of the mother, given artificial aid. A neonatologist testified that the chances of survival for a twenty-six-week fetus delivered at the hospital might be as high as eighty percent, but that this particular fetus, because of the mother's medical history, had only a fifty to sixty percent chance of survival. Dr. Edwards estimated that the risk of substantial impairment for the fetus, if it were delivered promptly, would be less than twenty percent. However, she noted that the fetus' condition was worsening appreciably at a rapid rate, and another doctor-an obstetrician who was one of Ms. Carter's treating physicians-stated that any delay in delivering the child by caesarean section lessened its chances of survival.

The court subsequently authorized the doctors to perform the Caesarean section and both mother and baby died. This case was extremely complicated due to the fact that Carter chose to ingest a palliative (pain killing) drug even though she knew it might endanger her preborn child.

At issue in this case are complex medical ethics questions about whether or not physicians should take action to save at least one of their patients. However, the personhood of the preborn would not have altered what we know in this case, so why is it being used to argue against personhood? Creating fear in the minds of those who listen would be my guess.

The third case dealt with in the video involves Laura Pemberton. http://faculty.smu.edu/tmayo/pemberton.pdf This 1996 story was strange, but it seems to epitomize the notion that doctors always know better than the patient. This has nothing to do with pitting one life against another, nor does it have anything to do with abortion. This was a procedural matter dealing with doctors' opinions regarding the right course of action being imposed upon a patient, regardless of whether the patient wanted treatment or not. This sort of thing happens in cancer cases and many other serious illnesses and conditions, regardless of whether we are dealing with one life or two. The personhood of the baby is tangential to the bigger problem, which is being ignored.

When one reads the detailed account of Pemberton's tragic experience, http://advocatesforpregnantwomen.org/main/events/writing_contest_to_advance_feminist_legal_scholarship_on_the_subject_of_pregnant_womens_civil_and_human_rights.php and how she went on, after moving away from Florida, to deliver four more healthy babies, it is clear that again what is going on with this case is medical practice run amuck!

Finally, there is the 2004 case of Melissa Rowland http://www.law.uh.edu/healthlaw/perspectives/Reproductive/040325Rowland.html who was charged first with child endangerment, and then with murder because she was carrying twins, refused a Caesarean section, and subsequently delivered one dead baby and one living baby. The twin that was born alive had alcohol and cocaine in her system, as did Ms. Rowland. Furthermore, rumors stated that Rowland refused surgery because she didn't want to be cut, and stated that she didn't care if her preborn babies lived or died. It's interesting what you find when you put everything in context. It is also interesting that the murder charges against Rowland were subsequently dropped. http://www.thenation.com/doc/20040426/pollitt

We don't see a connection, whether discussing Marlowe, Carter, Pemberton or Rowland between the human rights of a preborn child and the current alleged right of an expectant mother to pay someone to murder her baby by abortion. What we do see in these four cases are serious medical ethics questions that have not just come about in the past couple of years, but have been confronting expectant moms for a very long time. These cases are not about personhood or abortion; they are about bad ethics within the medical establishment, pure and simple.

Lynn Paltrow, PhD, who is the President of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, and is the producer of the YouTube video in question, is totally dedicated to abortion as one of those many rights she thinks women need to have. Paltrow http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lynn-m-paltrow/ has had previous experience with the ACLU, Planned Parenthood of New York, the Center for Reproductive Law and is a current commentator for the Huffington Post among other leftist web sites.

Paltrow wrote, when encouraging voters to view her production http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lynn-m-paltrow/video-how-anti-abortion-m_b_139556.html

    As the abortion issue takes center stage and we count down to Election Day, NAPW has produced a video about the proposed measures in Colorado and South Dakota supporting "fetal rights" laws which assert the unborn has separate and greater rights than pregnant women and how they are being used to punish and hurt all pregnant women, including those going to term.

Note, please, that she goes so far as to deceive the public into thinking that personhood would somehow endow the preborn with rights "greater" than those of their mothers, rights which in her view, give her free license to distort and misrepresent medical ethics abuses in the practice of obstetrics and gynecology in order to further her pro-abortion agenda.

No wonder Americans are getting wise to these deceivers. It's about time!

© Judie Brown

 

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Judie Brown

Judie Brown is president and co-founder of American Life League, the nation's largest grassroots pro-life educational organization... (more)

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