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Politicians: Please Don’t Bully Our Patients for Your Own Personal Agenda

By Dr. Linda Burke-Galloway

I normally refrain from discussing the subject of abortions. In my humble opinion, it’s a private matter between a woman, her physician and her God. Have I ever performed a termination of pregnancy? No, I have not. But would I judge a woman who had one? No, I would not. And, let me tell everyone a quiet little secret. When a baby is supposed to be born, Fate steps in and handles the situation. I recall an acquaintance that was scheduled to have a termination. She developed pneumonia before the procedure, it was cancelled and she went on to deliver a healthy set of twins who are in middle school thriving. So you can imagine the shock I experienced when a friend sent me an article from Time Magazine, entitled The Next Abortion Battleground: Fetal Heart Beats, by Adam Cohen.  It appears that certain politicians are proposing a law that would force a pregnant woman to have an ultrasound and listen to the fetal heart beats before she terminates a pregnancy. I would hope that our political candidates would make better use of time than to attempt to practice medicine without a license.

I’m not going to discuss the issue of Roe vs. Wade or whether the fetus has rights or if those rights take priority over the rights of its mother.  I will yield to the American Civil Liberties Union and other advocacy groups regarding those issues. However, I cannot and will not allow politicians to tell me what I should or should not do in my own examination room.  Nor should they bully my patients by dictating policy and procedures. Perhaps we need to review the definition of coercion.  According to the Legal Dictionary, coercion means: The intimidation of a victim to compel the individual to do some act against his or her will by the use of psychological pressure, physical force, or threats. Psychological pressure. Has it come down to that?

Auscultation or listening to a fetal heart beat is a clinical examination, not a political tool. Please keep your political agendas out of my exam room.

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