Meddling in Medicine

by Robin Jeweler | 11/3/03 6:00am

To the Editor:

With regard to the editorial "On Partial Birth Abortion" (Oct. 28, 2003), I must congratulate the Board on demonstrating such impressive medical knowledge. To many of us, Congressional findings proclaiming the beginning of life and what procedures are or are not "medically necessary" are politically-driven at best and, at worst, a dangerous intrusion into the physician-patient relationship and everyone's privacy.

Since partial-birth abortion (whatever it may be) is never medically necessary, we must assume that any woman in dire enough straits to undergo it " and the physician who performs it " are either ignorant, masochists, sadists or all of the above. And, with all due respect to Dr. Koop, I would prefer to hear from the patients and doctors who might elect this rare, emergency procedure. According the National Journal, "LeRoy Carhart, the physician on whose behalf the Supreme Court struck down a similar Nebraska law three years ago, said if the federal bill takes effect, he will have to stop performing any abortions between 14 weeks' and 18 weeks' gestation because the methods he uses could be construed as falling under the new definition. 'We'd have to use procedures that have greater risk of infertility, infection and even death. And I just don't feel that's tolerable,' he said." And, of course, in the best interest of women, the bill lacks an exception even allowing it to be used to protect a pregnant woman's health.

Congress' next foray into the world of medicine and the beginning of life will be the "Unborn Victims of Violence Act," which would make it a federal crime to injure a fetus during commission of a violent federal crime on a pregnant woman, a.k.a., "Connner's Law," capitalizing on the grisly Laci Peterson murder. Perhaps federal penalties for murdering a pregnant woman should be sufficient to adequately punish the murderer.

So, to the women of Dartmouth, the next time you go for a medical consultation, have a medical emergency or a life crisis, be sure to get a second opinion from your Congressman and the U.S. Congress. They're looking out for you.