Tuesday, August 30, 2011

State Mandated Information

I live in a state where there is a state mandated 24 hour waiting period. In addition to this waiting period abortion clinics are mandated to provide literature that is designed by the state to discourage women from having abortions. We are required to use verbiage that mentions the patients' "unborn child" and we have to give out resources from the state that are supposed to offer options aside from abortion.

Once I actually attempted to contact some of the agencies listed as alternative resources and was not surprised to find out that most of the agencies did not answer their phones or they were not able to provide resources that would actually assist a woman in carrying a pregnancy to term. Sometimes when a woman comes in for a pregnancy test and states that she wants to continue her pregnancy I give her the bundle of booklets provided by the state but I also have to tell her the phone numbers and agencies might not be useful. In order to provide them with a resource that could ACTUALLY assist them seeking prenatal care, I usually give them the number to the same community health clinic where I go for medical care.

Its amazing to me that state and federal government has so much emphasis on discouraging women from accessing abortion care. Yet, when I am asked for resources or information on carrying a pregnancy to term I can not depend on the the "resources" provided by any government agency. I depend on my own knowledge of the community I live in and I try to provide the most comprehensive and useful information I can.

Recently, a patient with some pretty severe mental health issues became very upset upon seeing booklets provided by the state. She was sure she wanted to have an abortion but felt extremely emotional about her decision. All I could do was explain to her that we were mandated by the state to give her such material and assure her that no one working in the clinic wanted to give her such skewed information.I wish both state and federal agencies based policy on abortion on actual science rather than subjective standards of morality.

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