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Grande: Is scaring women considered healthcare?

"Throughout North Dakota’s pro-life laws you see terms 'reasonable medical judgment' and 'professional judgement' to inform and protect doctors who act in the best interests of their patients," writes InForum columnist Bette Grande. "These laws are not threatening or chilling to doctors unless someone is looking for an excuse."

Bette Grande online photo
Bette Grande
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Many people believe that graduating from medical school and practicing medicine requires a high level of intelligence. Treating patients often requires sorting through a battery of tests, evaluating symptoms, knowledge of drug interactions and analyzing treatment protocols to determine the best course of action.

So, how do you explain the use of emotional scare tactics aimed at women? Are we to believe that reading and comprehending the English language is a bridge too far for doctors? Some who are speaking out about North Dakota’s pro-life laws say the laws put women at risk and interfere with the practice of medicine. They argue that the law does not allow treatment even when a doctor’s informed and reasonable judgment shows the patient is at risk.

This tactic is good for headlines and for stirring emotions, yet ignorance of the English language is the best explanation for this argument. The alternative is that some want to score ideological points at the expense of patient care. Now that is scary.

We are told that a woman may be forced to carry a dead infant for weeks before being cared for, but North Dakota Century Code Section 14-02.1-02 says specifically that removal of a dead unborn child is not an abortion and is not prohibited. Odd that a doctor would knowingly force his or her patient to endure that physical and emotional pain.

Abortion proponents have also brought up ectopic pregnancy, when a fertilized egg attaches outside of the uterus, but again, North Dakota’s pro-life laws are not confusing on this issue. The same section of the Century Code states that it is not an abortion to “treat a woman for an ectopic pregnancy." Medical professionals are well aware of the law and raising this issue can only be intended to confuse, scare and deflect.

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Throughout North Dakota’s pro-life laws you see terms “reasonable medical judgment” and “professional judgement” to inform and protect doctors who act in the best interests of their patients. These laws are not threatening or chilling to doctors unless someone is looking for an excuse. Lawmakers put more faith in the medical training and judgement of doctors than some doctors have of their own.

There is no substance to this scare tactic. It is based on unsubstantiated stories and urban legends designed to keep the abortion debate going without having to actually talk about what abortion really is and what it does to women and babies. It is understandable to focus on examples of high-risk pregnancies instead of dismemberment abortions, but the objective is the same.

It is not clear how many doctors are choosing to play it safe for their careers instead of treating their patients, but it is troubling from a patient’s perspective. When your doctor prescribes a course of treatment, you assume he or she is basing that decision on thoughtful and informed analysis and not distracted by shadowy threats from penumbras and emanations of the mind.

Grande represented the 41st District in the N.D. Legislature from 1996 to 2014. She is CEO of the Roughrider Policy Center, an "innovation over regulation" think tank. She is a wife, mom, grandma, lover of life and Jesus. Opinions are solely her own.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.

READ MORE COLUMNS FROM BETTE GRANDE
Grande discusses bills in the North Dakota Legislature aimed at food security.

Related Topics: ABORTIONNORTH DAKOTA
Opinion by Bette Grande
Grande represented the 41st District in the N.D. Legislature from 1996 to 2014. She is CEO of the Roughrider Policy Center, an "innovation over regulation" think tank. She is a wife, mom, grandma, lover of life and Jesus. Opinions are solely her own.
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