Lady, Do You Even Science??

Mary-Sue McClurkin – a Republican and enemy of elementary school level anatomy, has decided that in order to rationalize the cuts to clinics like Planned Parenthood, she should pull a Jose Canseco and just start making up science.

The big difference being, women are not going to be put at significantly more risk to their health if Jose decides to tweet his thoughts on abiogenesis or Big Bang cosmology.  This woman wants to shut down one of the only providers of affordable health care services for low-income women in Alabama because they also perform abortions.

Alabama GOP Rep.: Fetus Is ‘Largest Organ’ In Woman’s Body

The Alabama House of Representatives is expected to take up abortion legislation Tuesday that supporters claim will protect patients in clinics and opponents claim will close down abortion providers.  The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin, R-Pelham, would require physicians at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at local hospitals [which, as Jezebel pointed out, is going to be hard if the hospital administration thinks abortion is murder]; require clinics to follow ambulatory clinic building codes and make it a felony — punishable by up to 10 years in prison — for a nurse, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant to dispense abortion-inducing medications.

All of this is being done under the guise of “women’s safety”, even though abortions are commonplace and among the safest medical procedures available.  They’re even safer if they’re done early when all you need is a prescription and not something more invasive, but that hasn’t stopped Republicans across the country from putting up roadblocks, establishing waiting periods, requiring mandatory “counseling sessions”, and doing everything else they can to draw out the process to the point where by the time they’re able to schedule the procedure, the price – and the health risk – has gone way up.

Clearly this is not about establishing a culture of life.  It’s about demonizing female sexuality.

Maybe we should send Bill and Neil to her place instead.

Also interesting to note is the clause in the bill making it punishable for two types of health care professionals – the nurse practitioner and the physician’s assistant – to prescribe medication regardless of their authority to otherwise do so.  Yet again, politicians – and yet again, especially Republicans – see fit to introduce legislation that plants themselves firmly between a person and their right to access the medical care they need when there is no legitimate reason to do so. They forget ignore that they used the same argument to prevent Obamacare from seeing the light of day.

Providing justification for this latest back-pedal into the 19th century, Rep. Mary-Sue McClurkin has this to say …

When a physician removes a child from a woman, that is the largest organ in a body,” McClurkin said in an interview Thursday. “That’s a big thing. That’s a big surgery. You don’t have any other organs in your body that are bigger than that.

… forcing us to conclude that at one point in her life, a physician removed Mary-Sue’s brain from her skull and replaced it with a sack of dead goldfish, simply to provide enough ballast to prevent whiplash.

I would sincerely, honestly, desperately like to know exactly how in the hell she thinks this makes sense.  Let’s go through this train wreck …

  • First, about 88% of all abortions occur at or before 12 weeks.  The fetus, at this stage in its development, is a little over 2 inches long and weighs about half an ounce.  I can name quite a few organs in my body that exceed that in size and weight.  Let’s see …
    • Heart
    • Brain (some days, it doesn’t feel that way)
    • Lungs
    • Kidneys
    • Liver
    • Small intestine
    • Large intestine
    • Bladder (again …)
    • Pancreas
    • Skin

    So in other words, there’s absolutely no logical reason at all for her to think that the size and weight of an aborted fetus is comparable to any major organ of the human body, unless she’s deliberately trying to misrepresent late term abortions as the norm, and representative of the kind of services places like Planned Parenthood regularly provides.  Again, 88% of abortions occur before 12 weeks.  Only 1.5% occur later than 21 weeks, at which point I’m going to guess that if a woman’s seeking an abortion, it was likely a wanted one and something went wrong.

  • Second, given the size for the majority of abortions, it’s not a major surgery.  Licensed medical professionals either administer medication like Methotrexate / Misoprostol or Mifepristone / Misoprostol (RU-486), or they perform a manual vacuum aspiration, which requires only local anesthesia and takes between 5-10 minutes to complete.
  • Last … and this is important.

    A developing human fetus is not an organ.

    You get that?  Seriously.  Read that again.  Say it out loud.  Holy shit.  It’s really important.  It’s painfully, tortuously, nails-against-the-chalkboard wrong statements like this that has convinced the world that most Republicans holding office are nothing more than drooling, slack-jawed, bible worshiping morons.

    For the record, you’ve done nothing to dispel that impression.

Take, for example, the claim that this is all being done for the “safety of the women”.  Because please, won’t somebody think of teh women!

McClurkin and other supporters of the bill, known as HB 57, argue that the nature of abortion should require strict regulations, and claim that abortion clinics have a higher rate of regulatory violations than any other providers.

“This alarming level of noncompliance among abortion and reproductive health centers in Alabama puts abortion patients at unreasonable risk,” says the text of the bill.

How about instead of considering the “nature” of the procedures involved, you consider the actual safety statistics, and consult the American Medical Association or the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology?  Naah.  Too much work.  Here, allow me:

  • The comparative safety of legal induced abortion and childbirth in the United States.”  Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Feb;119(2 Pt 1):215-9. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e31823fe923.

    “Legal induced abortion is markedly safer than childbirth. The risk of death associated with childbirth is approximately 14 times higher than that with abortion. Similarly, the overall morbidity associated with childbirth exceeds that with abortion.”  [… and we appear to take little issue with home births …]

  • Grimes DA. “Risk of mifepristone abortion in context.” Contraception 2005; 71:161. (secondary reference)

    “In exceedingly rare instances, as with miscarriage, suction abortion and childbirth, death may occur. Reports of death after medical abortion are very rare – less than 1 in 100,000 cases – a rate comparable to that for early surgical abortion and for miscarriage.”

  • Manual Vacuum Aspiration for First-Trimester Abortion.”  ARCH FAM MED/ VOL 7, NOV/DEC 1998

    Results: Overall, manual vacuum aspiration was 99.5% effective in terminating pregnancy through 12 weeks of gestation. There were no major complications, and the minor complications of retained products of conception and infection were easily treated.

    Conclusion: Manual vacuum aspiration performed in a primary care office setting is safe and effective in terminating pregnancy through the end of the 10th week of gestation.

You see that last comment?  I even put it in bold.  MVA can even be done in an office setting.  But no … it’s easier to speak of the “nature” of the procedure rather than the assessment of the medical community.  It’s certainly more politically expedient to target abortion because you don’t like it and then talk about “high” rates of non-compliance as the motivating factor.  Yet going through the incidents of “non-compliance”, it was shown that:

“… the majority of the deficiency reports generally detail medicine cabinets being left unlocked to improper paperwork filing, where no direct harm was reported to patients. In 22 of the cases, the clinics were found to be in compliance with ADPH regulations. There were no reports of patient deaths in any of the 60 deficiency reports filed since 1999.”

Also, one last point, Mary Sue.  If you’re going to take this road (and predictably double down in the next few days like most of your colleagues) then fine.  Just don’t talk out of the other side of your mouth and claim that this large “organ” you’re referring to is also a person.  I admit that makes things a lot easier for the rest of us if the entire GOP drops the intellectually bankrupt “personhood” idea.  If it’s nothing more than an organ, then any woman can have it removed if and when she deems necessary … and it won’t make the baby Jesus cry.

But let’s be honest, I don’t think that’s going to happen.  What will happen is that this will pass, and it will be harder for women to access legal abortion services.  That which is supposedly being done in the interest of “safety” is going to result in the opposite.  Worst of all, it’s all in the name of made-up science and the GOP’s pathological compulsion to meddle in things best left to medical professionals.

This entry was posted in Dr. Bob's House of Crap, Freedom from Religion, Science Marches On, Society Marches On and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Lady, Do You Even Science??

  1. Dan Adler says:

    YAY SCIENCE. I’m guessing she failed all of her biology courses in high school, never went to college, and got an honourary degree some place, so thinks she knows it all.

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