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» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » Women required? to act as if they're pregnant

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Author Topic: Women required? to act as if they're pregnant
Omega M.
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You know I'm unsympathetic to a lot of abortion rights advocates' complaints, but this woman's story is too much:
quote:
I have been unable to obtain adequate medical care for my epilepsy because I am what they'd call pre-pregnant. As my neurologist puts it, I am a woman of child-bearing age. As such, they flat-out refuse to try me on any medicines other than the ones proven least likely to affect a fetus (read: the ones that are paying off my neurologist). Despite the fact that I have declared my belly a no-fetus zone.
She seems to have been motivated to tell this because of this article:
quote:
New federal guidelines ask all females capable of conceiving a baby to treat themselves -- and to be treated by the health care system -- as pre-pregnant, regardless of whether they plan to get pregnant anytime soon.

Among other things, this means all women between first menstrual period and menopause should take folic acid supplements, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control.

While most of these recommendations are well known to women who are pregnant or seeking to get pregnant, experts say it's important that women follow this advice throughout their reproductive lives, because about half of pregnancies are unplanned and so much damage can be done to a fetus between conception and the time the pregnancy is confirmed.

However, this may be a red herring, since the article doesn't say anything about the government wanting to force all women to do these things. The government seems to be most concerned about reducing our infant mortality rate, which the article says is "higher than those of most other industrialized nations -- it's three times that of Japan and 2.5 times those of Norway, Finland and Iceland."

In fact, a respondent to the epileptic woman thinks that her medication problems most have a more prosaic cause:
quote:
What your neurologist is doing is called covering his ass. Basically, should someone want to get pregnant (or god forbid actually get pregnant) on a medication that does detrimentally affect a fetus, he can be held liable, even if he warned them.
So the woman's story is definitely sad, but probably not indicative of a right-wing effort to control women.
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RickyB
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I read about this on Salon's "Broadsheet". This definitely appears to be a growing phenomenon.
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philnotfil
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What's said is that the doctor can be held liable even if he warned them.
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Funean
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Bizarre.

You know, there is an acne medication called Accutane that, while evidently effective for some forms of cystic acne, causes such severe birth defects that (at least while my brother was taking it and ruining his night vision) physicians were required to prescribe birth control simultaneously with the drug to any women of childbearing age. (Note: I don't know by what force they were "required" or whether this could be circumvented with a waiver, but I do remember seeing this statement in the literature that accompanied the drug).

I agree that it is probably more closely related to litigation craziness than patriarchal craziness, though there is a possibility that this sort of thing can indeed lead to the prioritizing of a potential fetus over the actual, extant patient.

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Mormegil
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I don't believe abortion is moral. However a woman taking baby-harming drugs is not doing anything immoral if she doesn't have a baby in her!

By all means warn women of the consequences. There will then be these occurrences:

A. No pregnancy. No harm to anyone.
B. Pregnancy due to contraceptive failure. The resulting baby could be harmed, despite best efforts.
C. Pregnancy due to negligence or incompetence. Failure to use birth control, or failure to make enough effort to use it properly. The baby could be harmed, and the mother would bear some moral culpability.
D. Pregancy due to malicious intent or disregard. The baby could be harmed and it would either by design or because the mother didn't care at all. Definite moral culpability.

I would expect D to be quite rare, with virtually no way to prove it anyway. Therefore, it would seem completely unreasonable to restrict doctors from prescribing certain drugs provided they issue strong warnings about the possible consequences.

Why keep people from perfectly moral benefits because of the risk they *might* do something immoral?

It's like not selling steak knives for people to eat because they might be used to commit murder. Murder is bad, but steak knives are not designed to kill people but to cut meat, and the manufacturers and distributors are not responsible if their product is misused and someone is harmed.

So, harming unborn babies is bad, but you don't disallow drugs that could help someone who *isn't* pregnant because they *might* become pregnant. You warn them instead.

If someone misuses a steak knife for murder, you prosecute them, not the retailer or maker of the knife.

If (assuming abortion wasn't legal to being with) someone purposely takes a drug to cause birth defects in their baby, you prosecute them (if you can get enough evidence which you probably can't), not the doctor.

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Adam Lassek
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quote:
The government seems to be most concerned about reducing our infant mortality rate, which the article says is "higher than those of most other industrialized nations -- it's three times that of Japan and 2.5 times those of Norway, Finland and Iceland."
We do not have a higher infant mortality rate, we're the only country that doesn't fudge our numbers.
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