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Less Information, More Abortion for Women in Alaska

Sorry Statement for Moms and Babies

BY Danielle Bean

| Posted 3/2/10 at 6:00 PM

 

The Catholic Anchor, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Anchorage, is reporting sorry news for moms and babies in the 49th state:

“The number of abortions in Alaska increased for the third straight year, according to the annual report from the Alaska Bureau of Vital Statistics. The bureau’s figures are based on reports from abortion practitioners across the state.”

Not only are numbers up, but Alaskan taxpayers are paying for an increased number of abortions in their state as well:

“The state report noted that 39 percent of last year’s abortions were paid for by public Medicaid funds. Since 2003, Medicaid has paid for 4,847 abortions in Alaska.”

Certainly public funds covering the cost of abortion has something to do with increasing numbers, but another contributing factor to consider is Alaskan women’s lack of access to some basic information about pregnancy, fetal development, and their own bodies prior to making life and death decisions for themselves and their babies.

“Also, the report noted that only 42 percent of women received a copy of the information contained in the ‘informed consent’ Web site, which state law requires the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services to maintain. That is down from 55 percent who reportedly received the information a year ago. The Web site — which contains information on fetal development, abortion, adoption, pregnancy and childbirth — is located here. The law requires abortion practitioners or a member of their staff to provide ‘a copy of the Internet information if a person requests a written copy’ or to provide information about the risks of undergoing an abortion that ‘a reasonable patient’ would consider important to making an informed decision.”

Informed consent laws exist for a reason. A woman facing a crisis pregnancy is in a vulnerable state. Giving her access to as much information about the “choice” she is making is the only compassionate thing to do.

With Alaskan law so clearly defining the basic requirements, why are more than half of Alaskan women who seek abortion not getting the information that the state requires providers give to them? Shouldn’t a woman know all the risks and details of what an abortion entails? Doesn’t a pregnant woman have a right to know exactly what is growing inside her body at 10 weeks gestation?

Abortion advocates are afraid of what exactly? That a pregnant woman might see a photo like the one here, of an unborn baby 10 weeks after conception, and then not choose abortion?

Shouldn’t we be more afraid that a vulnerable woman might choose abortion at 10 weeks and only later find out that her state—that possibly even paid for the abortion—failed to enforce its own laws requiring that she be given access to photos like this one?

How is denying a woman the opportunity to make informed decisions about her own body and pregnancy “pro-choice” at all?