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Another Voice: State's new abortion law is step backward

By Pam Embler

The Reproductive Health Act of New York State does not move reproductive rights forward. It does “reduce costs” by eliminating human lives – a talking point of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when discussing family planning services. I urge New York State residents to review the Reproductive Health Act and specifically those laws repealed.

Comprehensive reproductive health care that does not address contraception is not comprehensive. Today contraceptive choices abound. Abortion procedures should not be expanding in scope, i.e., late-term abortion.

Health care is best focused at the primary prevention level; providing a health care intervention to prevent a health care condition from occurring.

Numerous studies – see the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health National Center for Biotechnology Information database – indicate that education and availability of contraceptives decrease abortion rates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states unintended pregnancy contributes to abortion. “Increasing access to and use of effective contraception can reduce unintended pregnancies and further reduce the number of abortions performed in the United States.”

Abortions are not risk-free surgical procedures; there is no such thing. One death is one too many. Risks related to abortion include pulmonary embolism, perforation of the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries, infection, sterility and death. Every surgical procedure carries inherent risk from those deemed minimal through to death.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report's Surveillance Summaries released in 2018 report that in 2014 six women died “as a result of complications of legally induced abortion.” The report indicates that reporting is “voluntary.” New York’s absence is glaringly obvious. It can be safely assumed that deaths are underreported.

Repealing Section 4164 of the public health law legally excludes New York State from reporting “live aborted” death statistics. Live aborted death refers to any induced pregnancy for abortion that results in a live viable birth (24 weeks and after) no longer receiving resuscitative support – the baby is left to die, albeit medicated for comfort. The problem here is that the Reproductive Health Act now extends to a healthy live aborted baby through the repeal of Section 4164.

The repeal of subdivision 8 of section 6811 of the education law now allows any person, pharmacist or not, to “sell or distribute any instrument or article, or any recipe, drug or medicine for the prevention of conception to a minor under the age of 16 years.” The Reproductive Health Act just made contraception unsafe and unregulated. What exactly is “any instrument or article, or any recipe, drug or medicine for the prevention of conception”?

We need to ask Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, what lives are considered “viable?" What “acts” might we look forward to next – state mandated euthanasia for the elderly, chronically ill, and people with mental health or physical disabilities? After all, this would “reduce costs.”

Pam Embler, Ph.D., RN, holds degrees in nurse education, transcultural nursing and nurse science/philosophy.

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