Doctors and medical professionals statewide met at the Capitol today to express their opposition of any plan to expand abortion in New York, Gannett’s Haley Viccaro reports.
Doctors said expansion of abortion would be more harmful to women and unnecessary for the improvement of their health. They said there is no health circumstance for a woman to have an abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy.
“The new proposed legislation seems likely to allow abortion for maternal health reasons after fetal viability has been reached at 24 weeks of gestational age,” said Dr. Kyle Beiter, an obstetrician and gynecologist. “At this point, survival of the neonate is likely outside of the womb. Of course, maternal health reasons may well be loosely construed.”
Dr. Anne Nolte, an obstetrician and gynecologist, said that abortion, and particularly late-term abortion, harms women and could lead to psychological trauma. She said about 40 percent of viable pregnancies in the state end in abortion, which is nearly twice the national average.
New York also has the highest teen abortion rate nationwide, with 60 percent of pregnancies among 15- to 19-year-olds ending in abortion, said a Guttmacher Institute analysis reported yesterday by Gannett’s Albany Bureau.
The Reproductive Health Act would codify into law that non-physicians could perform surgical abortions. Tsai said a woman’s health would be at risk if abortions were performed by non-physicians and in other state facilities rather than hospitals.
“This act not only allows for less qualified and experienced non-physician health care providers to perform surgical abortions, it also allows for late-term abortions, which are much more likely to result in complications,” said Dr. Alice Ko Tsai.
Doctors are proposing that instead of expanding abortion, alternatives such as prenatal care and additional resources should be considered to improve the health and welfare of mothers statewide.
“New York is the abortion capitol of the country, the rate here is almost twice the national rate,” said Dr. Miriam Grossman, an adolescent and adult psychiatrist. “Legislation to increase access is not what most people want, and increase in abortion would produce more women and men walking around their whole lives with sadness and regret.”
Pro-choice groups said the goal of the Reproductive Health Act would be to codify federal abortion rights into New York law.
Women’s groups said New York has intensified sex education efforts, causing more teens to delay sex.
“For those adolescents who still choose to engage in sexual activity, (we teach) how to protect themselves and how to prevent sexually transmitted infections, HIV/AIDS and pregnancy,” said Tracey Brooks, CEO of Family Planning Advocates, the lobbying group for Planned Parenthood. “I think we’re seeing a great success rate.”
“The anti-choice movement rejects the law of the land and that is their right. But while we respect moral, religious and ethical opposition to abortion, and an honest dialogue on the issue, the opposition is wrong to grossly mischaracterize the Governor’s position,” Cuomo aide Mylan Denerstein wrote earlier this week.