Thursday, March 26, 2015

Deceptive At Its Core

Amanda Marcotte informs us that in Arizona

anti-choicers, backed by one particularly vocal doctor named George Delgado, are claiming that you can "reverse" medication abortions. A woman having a medication abortion takes two pill doses, one of mifepristone and then another of misoprostol. Proponents of "abortion reversal" would like you to believe it's common for women to take the first dose and become wracked with guilt, desperate to save her pregnancy. To help these women, Delgado gives the woman progesterone shots, supposedly in an effort to reverse the effects of the mifepristone. 

The problem is it's almost certainly quackery. Mifepristone is not enough on its own to terminate a pregnancy some of the time, so you're not "reversing" the abortion so much as interrupting the process before it's complete. The progesterone shots reverse nothing—they are medically unnecessary theater, designed to portray anti-choicers as conquering heroes rescuing pregnant maidens from the clutches of abortionists. There's no evidence of much demand from women to interrupt their abortions, and in the rare circumstances that someone is seized by regret, all she needs to do is contact her regular doctor about stopping the pills. 

Forcing doctors to "inform" patients about an intervention that isn't medically useful and isn't really in demand serves no other purpose but to inject anti-choice histrionics into what is already a stressful situation for many patients. You should be able to get through an abortion without having to indulge a right-wing delusion.

Marcotte avoids the low-hanging fruti, not linking this scheme to right-wing delusions about abortion. Instead, she notes the bill, awaiting the signature of Arizona's Repub governor (Doug Ducey, below), and

its fresh interpretation of the word reverse is part of a larger trend of right-wingers attempting to restrict free speech and remold the English language in their image. In Florida, Department of Environmental Protection employees have complained about orders to excise the phrases climate change and global warming from their speeches. There's also been a movement, complete with bills in Texas and Florida, to ban doctors from discussing gun safety with patients. Some postmodern academic could have a field day with these attempts to rewrite reality to fit conservative fantasies. 

However, the left also attempts to restrict if not (and probably not) free speech, at least free expression, such as in the case of Aayan Hirsi Ali and Bill Maher.   Neither are our hands clean with regard to manipulation of the language, substituting "marriage equality" for same-sex marriage; "undocumented workers" for illegal immigrants; and "people of color" for... for whatever it's supposed to mean, which is whatever is convenient.

Abortion, though, is a separate case, one in which the "right-wing delusion" cited by Marcotte reaches full flower.  In this case, it was reversal of the procedure but  NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia some time back listed eight lies commonly told by crisis pregnancy centers.  The three most often promulgated in recent years may be that abortion causes breast cancer; abortion makes women severely depressed; and the fetus/baby can feel pain at an early stage of the pregnancy.

No, no, and very likely not until at least the 24th week of pregnancy.   Still, if the Arizona bill becomes law and such legislation spreads out among the states, enough women may be subjected to enough stress that abortion may finally induce the depression and sense of regret that anti-choice advocates claim that it does.  Mission, then, accomplished.

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