Punish men for abortions

Sad man looking down many fingers pointing at him

Apparently many Donald Trump supporters, like Trump himself, believe that women should be punished for having abortions. I have a better, more just, more effective suggestion:

Punish men for abortions!

Women don’t create unwanted pregnancies; men do.

After all, it’s the man’s fault; there’s no way a woman can find herself with an unwanted pregnancy without a man being responsible for it.

Christina Cauterucci at Slate wrote about the beliefs of Trump supporters.

In an online survey, 39 percent of 2,000 self-identified Donald Trump voters reported that they thought women should be punished for seeking abortions if the procedure is ever banned in the U.S. A full 60 percent of those polled said abortion should be illegal; 18 percent of all the poll’s Trump voters said it should be illegal without exceptions for rape, incest, or to save a pregnant woman’s life…

Anti-choicers are enraptured with the notion of punishment for abortion:

Anti-choice legislators pass laws requiring women to listen to state-sponsored misinformation and wait days between requesting an abortion and getting one, revealing a fundamental mistrust of women’s capacity to make their own decisions. Laws in many states make women travel to clinics more than 100 miles away for multiple appointments, separated by days, costing them unnecessary time and money. Restrictions on when women can get abortions force some women to carry to term fetuses with no chance of surviving outside the womb. Women are charged with felonies and incarcerated in the U.S. for trying to induce abortions on their own.

But that’s so inefficient!! Why punish a woman for an unwanted pregnancy when she didn’t want it in the first place? It makes so much more sense to punish the man who made it happen.

Think of the advantages:

It is far simpler: All it takes is a simple paternity test on the products of conception. Quick! Easy! Painless!

It is foolproof: Let’s face it, there are lots of things that women can do to avoid being punished for having an abortion. The biggest problem with state abortion restrictions — requiring unnecessary ultrasounds, forcing women to listen to lies about abortion, or mandating two clinic visits instead of one — is that they can be evaded if a woman travels to another state. But if all she has to do is name the father and bring back the products of conception for testing, we can punish the appropriate man every time!

It is true justice: Women don’t create unwanted pregnancies; men do. Punishing women for having abortions is like punishing women for getting stabbed. Ethics demands that we punish the man who did the stabbing not the victim, right? By the same reasoning, ethics demands that we punish the man who caused the unwanted pregnancy, not the woman who is, in truth, the victim of the unbridled sexual appetites of a man.

It will be much more effective: Women who get pregnant through rape or incest can’t avoid getting pregnant, but the men who commit those crimes could certainly avoid them if they chose. How better to prevent rape and incest in particular, and unwanted pregnancies in general, than holding the perpetrators to account?

How would we punish the men we identify in this way?

Obviously they should be forced to walk a public gauntlet of abortion protesters and be subjected to vicious criticism. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right?

Beyond that, their names should be published so that everyone they know should witness their shame; they should pay for the abortion; and then they should pay a large fine above and beyond.

I know it sounds harsh, but if we are really committed to ending unwanted pregnancies that result in abortion, this would go a long way toward making men take responsibility for their irresponsible behavior.

To kick off the campaign, I suggest that all anti-choice politicians, starting with Donald Trump himself, publicly confess to any abortions they have been responsible for in the past and submit their DNA to be used in the event that they cause future unwanted pregnancies.

Let Trump and other anti-choice male politicians publicly acknowledge their part in unwanted pregnancies (if any), accept the public humiliation and pay the fines to demonstrate their sincerity and, in the process, set an edifying example.

Given their profound commitment to ending abortion, anti-choice politicians should greet the plan to punish men for abortions with unrestrained enthusiasm.

Of course, if they reject such a plan we’ll be left to conclude that anti-choice politicians don’t want to prevent abortions; they just want to punish women for having sex.

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    Here’s my proposal with respect to men and abortions:

    If men want to have a say in whether or not women can get abortions, specifically, if they want to say that it should be forbidden, they put their names on a registry. When >50% of men are registered, then abortion becomes illegal.

    However, as soon as a man is registered (whether abortion is legal or not), his name goes into a lottery. Every time a woman gets pregnant, intended or not, desired or not, a man’s name is pulled at random from the lottery and he is matched to her. Every risk and inconvenience she experiences, he experiences to. Morning sickness is simulated with emetogenic drugs. The fatigue with blood donation to the point of anemia. If she gets gestational diabetes, he has to check his blood sugar and undergo placebo injections four times a day as well. If she dies, he dies. If she loses her eyesight, his eyes go too. And so on.

    I believe my proposal would be fair in that it only penalizes those men who would, if they could, deliberately endanger and harm women. It would allow men to put their bodies on the line just as women do. And surely if a man is really sincere about the importance of protecting fetal life and believes pregnancy a minor inconvenience, he won’t hesitate to sign up, not even knowing that he has an extremely good chance of ending up being one of the men who do experience one or more ersatz pregnancies. Because that’s what he is demanding that women do and saying that it’s no big deal, so it’s no big deal for him either, right?

  • Young CC Prof

    I think I’ll just point out that most pregnant girls under 18 who identify a father name an adult.

  • New Mom

    It’s really white-only fetus worship. These “pro-life” people couldn’t care less about the child after its born. Parent/s live in poverty and have to choose between buying food and heating? The mother should have thought about that before she got pregnant! No access to basic healthcare for the child? She should have kept her legs closed!

    OT: The same people couldn’t care less about whats been happening in Aleppo.

    Pro-life my ass.

    Sorry this shit really pisses me off.

    • New Mom.

      There is a systemic hatred of women and minorities. It seems like there is a hierarchy of who matters:

      1.Straight, white men
      2.fetuses and guns
      3.white women
      4.everyone else. because they’re probably just criminals, terrorists or welfare queens, right?

      I’ve gone way off on a tangent

      • Box of Salt

        Your number 3 should read “white women whose ambitions are limited to being supported by straight white men”

    • critter8875

      Fetus fetishists.

    • Jo

      I have witnessed racism in the anti-abortion movement. I was grabbing breakfast across from our town’s clinic and saw them out protesting the clinic, booing and hissing a few white couples who went in, and then a black couple got out of their cars and went in, and not so much as a peep from them. They just stood there silently. I was floored. I always wondered if it was fear or pure racism, like great, less black babies is fine?

  • Rachel

    OT, I just need a minute to wrap my head around this, hopefully with people who understand..
    My friend just had a baby (Saturday). He won’t latch, but takes from a bottle wonderfully. He is gaining weight, sleeps well so far. Her mother believes the breast is the only way to feed and cannot comprehend all the reasons a mother may not do so. So my friend’s only advice has come from her mother and a lactation consultant. The advice was to cut his tongue! But he’s taking it from a bottle! Why does it matter how he’s getting his food? Her mother thinks she’ll stop pumping if he doesn’t latch by this Saturday (we are all Orthodox Jews, so, no electronic pump…) I told her to do what she felt to be best. If this is only causing her stress, she should stop. The baby will thrive, but she needs to thrive as well, not feel guilty and inadequate. I begged her not to cut his tongue, my husband, an oral surgeon, told her he wasn’t tongue tied and there was a very good chance this won’t help him. I think she’s still going, and I cannot believe how upset I am! I hope the “cutting” goes okay, especially because the little guy is having his Bris this Saturday!
    Why does the manner he is fed matter????? If she wants to put him on Similac permanently, why do so many people think this is worse then cutting the tissue under his tongue???!

    • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

      Nobody wants to think of a little baby in unnecessary pain. I would be very upset too.

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      Congrats to your friend, and I’d be bothered too, especially if an oral surgeon can’t find a tie!

    • Sarah

      No electric pump even if it’s needed for health reasons? I’m not an expert, but I was under the impression the restrictions could be lifted in those scenarios. Like how people are supposed to take necessary medication if fasting. I agree with the rest of your post, was just surprised by the idea that an Orthodox woman needing a pump to breastfeed wouldn’t be able to use it.

      • Rachel

        Not if there is a hand pump. She doesn’t want to use the hand pump. The restrictions do vary based on the Rabbi, but most would agree that hand pumping being an option makes there no need for leniency.
        Also, he isn’t taking the breast milk that well from the bottles the LC brought. He is at his best when he is given Similac Advance from the ready made container (the ones they send you home from the hospital with.)
        The pump thing is why they were pushing to do this before his Bris, which I think should be the primary surgical procedure here. She needs to listen to the pediatrician who told her not to get this procedure done, more than anyone else’s opinion, that should be the one she follows! I will be at the Bris tomorrow, I am sure she will tell me what they did. (Albeit, assuming nothing went wrong and the Bris had to be pushed off, which would be devastating!)
        I just hate how this idea of HOW the baby is fed is superseding the fact that he IS being fed and he IS thriving without the breast/breast milk.

        • maidmarian555

          My son had a tongue tie and I only got him latched on once after birth until after it was snipped. But everyone that examined him confirmed the tongue tie. From the first midwife, to the second, to two doctors on the ward…..I mean, even I could see what they were talking about. Having it snipped on his second day made a huge difference to his ability to feed. But there was definitely a medical consensus from everyone that looked at him that there was a problem. Idk if I’d have let them touch him to fix it if only one of those people had said there was a problem. What I will say is having it snipped only seemed to bother him immediately afterwards and it healed very quickly. He showed no signs of being in pain for any length of time. Hopefully if your friend is determined to go through with this, her baby will heal up just as fast.

  • Empress of the Iguana People

    OT FYI: If a blind guy comes into your office with a folded cane, he probably knows how to unfold it. Fortunately, it wasn’t the doc who asked.

  • mabelcruet

    In Northern Ireland, a woman cannot legally obtain a termination if the pregnancy was the result of rape/incest/sexual crime, or if the baby has lethal anomalies. These women have to travel to England. The only exemption is if the mothers health is at severe and enduring risk (and this tends to be physical health risks like eclampsia). We have some of the most restricted and repressive legislation in the world-it’s shameful. I wish our misogynistic troglodyte politicians would have the guts to explain face to face to a 13 year old raped by her uncle that she has to go to the mainland away from her home to terminate the pregnancy, and then watch as the products are seized as evidence to get DNA to prove who the perpetrator was.

    • mabelcruet

      And as a direct result of the law here, women are resorting to poisoning themselves. If they want a termination, but can’t afford the substantial costs of going to England, then there are only two options-have the baby, or buy pills online. They are taking pills without medical or nursing supervision, god only knows what sort of website from and what risks they are facing, but if they get found out they get prosecuted under an Act of parliament dating from 1851, which makes it illegal to take abortifacients. The maximum penalty is life imprisonment. What sort of nightmare world are we in where an incestuous rapist gets 5? 10? years for rape or assault, but his victim could potentially get a life sentence for seeking an abortion?

      • maidmarian555

        I read in the news recently that Nicola Sturgeon is pushing to put a bill through that would allow these women to come to Scotland and have abortions for free. I am personally ashamed that our government in England has shown no interest it making it so here too. We should be doing more to support women in NI, it’s sad that we don’t. It’s not like it’s not reported when women lose their lives because of your archaic laws. People will shake their heads and say how sad it is but nobody wants to ‘interfere’ or offer any sort of support so that it doesn’t have to happen anymore.

        • mabelcruet

          Access to termination via Scotland doesn’t solve the problem though, it just means that the politicians in Northern Ireland can get away with not bothering to change the laws, even though the High Court here ruled that the extant legislation was discriminatory and in contravention to European human rights law.

          • maidmarian555

            Very true. I totally agree with you, I guess it just makes me feel very uncomfortable that there is less appetite on this side of the water to help (I mean, nobody even wants to say anything to the NI politicians or talk about how wrong things are there with regards to abortion rights). I don’t understand how we can say it’s a fundamental human right on the one hand but ignore the horror that women are being subjected to not a stones throw away.

          • mabelcruet

            The Attorney General in Northern Ireland, John Larkin, has stated termination of pregnancy on the grounds of lethal fetal anomaly is discriminatory because it contravenes disability legislation ie termination means that fetuses with disability are not legally protected, and under the United Nations convention on Rights of Persons with Disability, they should be. But a fetus is not legally a person-not a distinct legal human entity, so how can the UNCRPD apply? And there is a difference between disability compatible with life, and lethal anomaly. However, Larkin is advising the Northern Ireland assembly and is pushing his own personal agenda.

          • maidmarian555

            I can only guess that none of these people have ever been in a position that (many) parents might face after that 20wk scan. What they’re doing is utterly, utterly cruel and so very wrong. (Also, I can’t see how twisting disability legislation works when you’re often talking about a foetus that can’t survive outside the womb. Where vital organs may not have developed etc etc.) I’m so sorry that this is still going on. It genuinely makes me very, very upset. What can we do? Is there anything practical that people outside of NI could do to help?

          • mabelcruet

            Just keep it in the news-the more it becomes public knowledge, the more widespread it becomes, the better to emphasise just how out of step, regressive and cruel the legislation here is. The abortion act that the rest of the UK has in place allows termination of pregnancy on a number of grounds, all that is being considered here is 2 very specific and defined areas-lethal anomaly and cases of pregnancy following sexual crime or incest, that’s all, which the majority of the population support (in polls). But our politicians are ignoring that, and ignoring high court rulings, the European courts and the United Nations rulings. The Human Rights commission are involved as well, they have taken cases to court (on the grounds women in NI are being discriminated against). I’ve written to my local member of parliament and a few others asking them to raise this in assembly, the fact that NI law needs to be brought into step with the rest of the country.

          • maidmarian555

            Are there any specific organisations/charities that you know of working on this that I could get in touch with or is it a case of bothering my MP on a regular basis? I really think that part of it is that people here in England take our legislation for granted and probably don’t realise that NI has such awful laws. And for those that do know, I guess it’s not at the forefront of everyone’s minds. It should be. Whenever big cases make the news (for example, Savita Halappanavar) it’s safe to say that pretty much everyone is horrified and talks about how terrible things are there. The rest of the time, everyone seems much more ambivalent. Like I’ve already said, I don’t know why we don’t do more. We really should. I’m so sorry.

          • mabelcruet

            There’s a charity called ‘Abortion support network’ which provides financial help and accommodation for women seeking a termination. They are always looking for donations and volunteers , and also need people living close to abortion clinics who are willing to accommodate someone for a day or two to help cut down costs.

          • Dr Kitty

            I’m SO HAPPY!!
            For once it isn’t me banging the “NI abortion law needs to be reformed” drum!

            Do you know, Northern Irish women are in a uniquely horrible situation when it comes to abortion?

            A woman from Ireland (or, indeed, any other country in the world) provided she has the money, can access abortion services privately in an NHS hospital, provided she meets the criteria of the 1967 Act. That means foetal reduction, medical termination of second trimester pregnancy, any termination after 24weeks for foetal abnormality etc.

            Northern Irish women who have pregnancies which are not causing them sufficient mental or physical risk to be terminated legally in NI can ONLY access private abortion services in the UK.

            As UK citizens they are prohibited from paying for NHS services, even if these services are not available in the private sector. Private UK Clinics don’t offer abortions after 24 weeks for foetal abnormality, non surgical terminations after 15 weeks or foetal reduction.

            I have pointed out, repeatedly, to the HRC that this is a unique breach of the human rights of Northern Irish women, beause they are denied services literally available to any other woman in the world with enough cold hard cash.

            The DOH has suggested Northern Irish women bypass this issue by registering as a temporary resident in England and accessing an NHS abortion that way.

            I’m still waiting for a response from the RCGP to my query of how that would actually work in practice…

            Anyhow…

            I’m stuck in a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” situation where I have patients who are devastated upon discovering a pregnancy, then conveniently miscarry at home a week or two later and seem very reluctant to seek medical attention for their pain and bleeding.

            I know my patients are having illegal medical abortions with drugs ordered over the internet, but the current situation means that to protect them I can’t actually ask them directly.

            If you’ve ever had to talk to a woman who has 1 week to find £3000 and someone to mind the kids for 3 days so that she can travel to end a much wanted but nonviable pregnancy before the 24 weeks deadline, it is not an experience one would wish to repeat…but I have had that conversation, more than once.

            It’s a Northern Irish solution to a Northern Irish problem, and Larkin and the DUP and Precious Life can keep pretending that abortions aren’t needed or wanted by the good women of Northern Ireland because no-one is willing to call them out on it.

          • Sarah

            If it helps at all, when I worked at a family planning clinic in England, over a decade ago now, there were ways of wangling an NHS abortion for Irish women, north and south. I was a temp so I was never told exactly how, but someone was in charge of it. Hopefully she still is, even if it does mean complicity in allowing Ulster to export her sexual hypocrisy.

          • Dr Kitty

            Sadly, from experience with a patient those side channels seem to have closed unless someone is willing to go and stay in England for more than two weeks or to provide an address in the Republic of Ireland.

          • mabelcruet

            The Assembly’s fatal fetal anomaly working group reported back recently (November I think) concluding that termination should be permitted on the grounds of FFA. But how long do you think we will be waiting for that legislation to be passed? Given that they are being advised by an obstetrician of my acquaintance who states categorically that there is no such thing as a fatal fetal anomaly, I doubt it will ever be passed.

            Their position is that any sign of life, no matter how minimal or fleeting is LIFE, which means ‘not fatal’. So, consider a baby with anencephaly (no brain), or bilateral renal agenesis (no kidneys, and as a result of that their lungs don’t develop). Both universally considered fatal, but the obstetrician is of the opinion that because a baby with anencephaly can be born and have a heartbeat for a few minutes (68% of term anencephalics are born with signs of life), this means anencephaly is not a fatal anomaly and therefore should be excluded. Its utter nonsense, but that’s the advice our MLAs are getting, and it suits their purpose.

          • Dr Kitty

            Really?
            Is that OB from NI?

            Back when it was basically DADT and abortions for FFA were being done here on the QT an obstetrician who is the wife of a Clergyman and a devoutly Catholic OB were signing off on them, even if they delegated administering the actual medications involved to junior staff. I know this because I was the junior staff, on more than one occasion.

            Prof Jim Dornan (Jamie Dornan’s dad) is a retired MFM OBGYN who absolutely supports terminations for FFA, he often gives interviews to the BBC about this topic and is eminently sensible and compassionate. I wish he was advising Stormont.

            Basically, the DUP has been told,repeatedly, that there is no legal or medical basis to continue the status quo, the majority of the electorate doesn’t support the status quo, international human rights law doesn’t support the status quo and they don’t care because Jesus.

            The usual reasons to continue a pregnancy affected by FFA involve a desire to meet the baby, or religious reasons such as having baptism or funeral or “not playing G-d”.

            The desire to humanely terminate a pregnancy before the foetus can feel pain, in a way that is safer for the woman than delivering at term, and to allow her to gain closure and move on as soon as possible is somehow being portrayed as amoral or immoral, even though most people can see that it is a logical, loving choice.

            Personally, I don’t understand this obsession with preventing the exercise of autonomy and choice by competent people.

          • mabelcruet

            He is from across the border, but works in NI and has done for many years. During a rather heated discussion with him he said that obstetricians go into that specialty because they wanted to nurture life. I don’t know his religious background, but he is very much slanted towards pro-life.

          • mabelcruet

            And he has criticised the obstetricians in the fetal medicine dept at RJMS as being too quick to recommend termination. Well, duh! They work in the regional centre so of course they are going to have a far greater proportion of complex pregnancies.

          • Dr Kitty

            Ahhh
            I believe I know who you mean.

          • mabelcruet

            I’ve had dinner with Jamie Dornan…

            Well, actually, it was me and about 300 other paying guests at a fund raising dinner and he was the celebrity auctioneer. But technically, I’ve had dinner with him.

          • Dr Kitty

            My sister went out with him a few times when they were teenagers and I used to give them a lift home from the cinema or coffee shop or wherever else 15 year olds with fairly strict parents go on dates.

            He’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but genuinely very sweet.

          • mabelcruet

            I kind of got that impression! He is very like his father-Jim wanted to be an actor at one point himself, I suppose obstetrics could be considered performance art, most surgeons play to the gallery at times! And he’s a very ‘big’ personality.

          • Dr Kitty

            Alliance for Choice
            http://allianceforchoiceni.org/pregnancy-advice/

            Abortion Rights
            http://www.abortionrights.org.uk/

            Voice for Choice
            https://vfc.org.uk/about/

            All-Party Parliamentary Group on Sexual and Reproductive Health in the UK
            http://www.fpa.org.uk/all-party-groups-sexual-health/appg-uk

            Check out all of these.
            VfC and Abortion Rights tend to do the most campaigning.

          • Dr Kitty

            Also, if you Twitter or Facebook #choice4xmas campaign by the London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign.

            #Repealthe8th is the Irish Abortion Rights Campaign
            http://www.abortionrightscampaign.ie/

          • Sarah

            Those of us in Britain with loved ones in Ireland, either side of the border, can also make it known that we are willing to accompany them, put them up in our homes and allow them to use our addresses if they should need a termination. We should do this as well as campaigning of course, but until the law changes there are practical things we can do to help women access abortion here.

          • Dr Kitty

            I can’t type my honest opinion of Larkin, it might burn down the internet.

            Until he stuck his nose in a few years ago obstetricians in NI were performing abortions for foetal abnormlaity, rape, incest and various issues which while not strictly meeting the definition of legal abortion in NI, were no doubt the compassionate practice of medicine. Then guidelines were brought out that made it clear that foetal abnormality, rape and incest were not grounds for legal termination in NI and everyone felt that their hands were tied and they could no longer provide those services.

            These compassionate abortions were all being done on the QT, with euphemisms like “early induction of labour” or ” surgical removal of products of conception” on the paperwork.

            I think it is very telling that although there is plentiful evidence available from patient notes to convict multiple Northern Irish obstetricians many times over for performing illegal abortions in these cases, Larkin as AG has chosen to ignore it.

            The DPP happily prosecutes vulnerable women, but is strangely averse to putting many well known, well liked and well respected local doctors in the dock.

          • mabelcruet

            He’s an utter dick. He stated (on camera) that to him there was no difference between termination of pregnancy and shooting a newborn baby in the back of the head. And then he has the gall to pretend that he is providing unbiased advice to Stormont. And recently there was a whole spate of apologies from various councillors and MLAs on twitter-he is extremely quick to take legal action against anyone who publicly criticizes him, rather than behave like an educated individual and accept that as he is a public figure, he is bound to attract public criticism. Dick.

          • Sarah

            Yes, but the budget airlines do nicely out of it so it’s all good.

  • Amazed

    OT: A few weeks ago, SIL decided that enough was enough and she was done being Amazing Niece’s main source of food. They found a formula brand that the kid tolerated. SIL went to her GP. That’s when it became strange. She got told to tightened her breasts in and wait for the milk to stop, pumping when it became too hard. She had some doubts because she’s very much a 21 century woman, thankyouverymuch, but she decided that the GP knew what she was talking about. When she got back there with fever and whatnot, the GP did prescribe some meds. My question is, did it really need to go this far? It’s 2016, for Pete’s sake! Almost 2017!

    The rub is, the GP (who utilizes medicine quite freely) has a degree in homeopathy as well. And since she’s been my mom’s friend since before I was born, I tried very hard to tell myself that she’s one of the reasonable ones – and she is, even if she’s a little heavy on “Let the body heal itself!” side for my taste sometimes. But I can’t help but feel that I cannot trust a doctor who is also affiliated with homeopathy in any capacity. That’s two entirely different systems. You cannot possibly believe in and practice both. There is a saying here, about the smart lamb that suckled from two mothers. The cynic in me mutters that this is exactly it with doctor/homeopaths. They do utilize the medical system to the max, attending seminars and whatnot, and they utilize the bogus homeopathic system to the same effect, mainly nicely lining their pockets.

    Please tell me it’s just me being too suspicious.

    • Sue

      I also have a problem with this combination – so-called ‘integrative medicine’, which essentially ‘integrates’ real medicine with placebo.

      It’s popular, profitable and low-risk – essentially treating the worried well.

      Conventional medicine is already the most ‘integrative’ system of health care ever developed – integrating everything from vaccination and CBT for anxiety/depression to gall bladder surgery and antibiotics.

    • Juana

      As for “allopathic” doctors trying to have it both ways, I’m with you – I don’t get it either.
      For stopping lactation, am I right that you think the GP should have prescribed something in the first place? I might be wrong but as far as I know, there’s precious little that can be used to stop lactation that 1. actually works AND 2. has a favorable risk-benefit ratio.
      (Any professional opinions on that? I guess it would be different for stopping lactation in the first place right after birth vs. after it’s established.)

      • AnnaPDE

        Not a professional, but eating sage-heavy foods for 3 days in a row worked a treat to drop my supply a lot very quickly, completely unintentionally. Kid got hungry enough to even accept bottles again… I had no idea what was going on at first, I just love gnocchi with sage and goat’s cheese.
        And judging by how the nursing strike a couple of months ago went (kid only wanted to feed when almost asleep, so that worked out to 3-4 feeds per day), the strategy of dropping a breastfeed every 3 days works great and avoids the discomfort and potential issues that come with stopping suddenly.

        • Amazed

          SIL had basically stopped nursing Amazing Niece by that time – it was about 2 times in 10 days when the kid was hospitalized. Turned out it was quite hard to get the milk to stop.

      • Amazed

        No, not necessarily prescribing something to take. That depends on the woman, although it would have been nice to offer options. I like to be asked what I’d choose, taking into consideration the doctor’s opinion, of course. She just didn’t mention any possible problems from just bandaging her breasts, like “If you run a fever, come here” or at least, “You can expect this or that.” Just the old, “It’s natural this way.”

      • OttawaAlison

        From my experience, they don’t give moms anything to stop lactation anymore. I asked after my daughter was stillborn. that said, thankfully?! I have IGT so I didn’t suffer too much.

        • OttawaAlison

          Well suffer too much from my milk coming in, the rest was hell.

      • Medication to suppress lactation needs to be taken as soon as possible after the birth; by three days postpartum it’s pretty useless. The simplest method (and the most natural, btw), is to do nothing. When the pressure in the breast becomes bad, express only enough milk to reduce the pressure somewhat. Pumping to empty the breast merely increases milk supply (“gee whiz, we’ve got a hungry baby here! Got to make more!” thinks the brain.). If the breasts remain full, it’s uncomfortable, and the mother can run a low grade fever for a day or two, but the brain, via a chain of hormones, reducesthe milk supply since the “baby” is obviously not emptying the breast. A tight bra or breast binder sometimes helps, and analgesics for the fever and discomfort. Depending on the woman, the process can take between one and three days to dry up the milk supply.

    • Inmara

      I consider switching GYNs because mine is listed as gynecologist-homeopath in the clinic’s website. So far I haven’t had any issues and she hasn’t mentioned homeopathy at all but I doubt that a doctor believing in homeopathy can be rigorous enough in evaluating and applying scientific data to her practice. The funny thing is, in my country only MDs can be homeopaths officially, and there are lots of them, giving false credibility to this woo.

    • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

      I would get a second opinion from a doctor that does not subscribe to homeopathy.

  • Steph858

    What I find strange is that the pro-choice/pro-life sides (not just in terms of abortion, in terms of euthanasia too) seem to be largely (though not exclusively) religious/non-religious. The religious think life is sacred and should be preserved at all costs, but the non-religious think one must take the quality of life into account too. I would have thought that ought to be the other way around, since for the non-religious once you’re gone that’s it and you’ll be dead a long time so they ought to want to cling to their short lifespan at all costs, whereas for the religious the quicker you die the quicker you’re in heaven, right?

    • MaineJen

      But it’s not really quality of life that’s being argued, it’s bodily autonomy. You cannot commandeer someone else’s body (i.e. a woman’s) and make it do what you want it to do (i.e. carry a baby). Period, end of story.

      Many religions have a problem with the whole gender equality thing, so I can see where you’re coming from there. Many non-religious consider life sacred also, but speaking just for myself, I feel like we have to prioritize the already-born, conscious and thinking life over the “potential” life.

      • Steph858

        That’s true. When I wrote my earlier post I’d just read someone else’s post about how most late abortions (which seem to cause more controversy than early abortions) aren’t done because the woman suddenly realises that her pregnancy is unwanted, they’re done because many genetic abnormalities can’t be diagnosed till late-ish in the pregnancy, which is why I was thinking about the quality of life argument. But thinking about it, you’re right; autonomy is what it’s really about and autonomy is what euthanasia is really about too.

        I think most people would consider life sacred, but would ascribe different meanings to ‘sacred’. To the anti-choice, anti-euthanasia religious lot, life must be protected no matter what. They see life as being something to be protected almost separately from the holder of that life, so even if someone wants their life to end (because they’ve got a terminal illness and would rather go quickly and painlessly than slowly and painfully, for example), the anti-choice would refuse to allow them to end their life. I’m thinking of those who disagree with the Bland ruling and would have disagreed even if Mr. Bland had make a living will prior to his accident indicating that he wished to be allowed to die in circumstances such as those in which he ended up.

        In contrast, to me, ‘Life is sacred’ means that murder is a most heinous crime and one who takes a life even accidentally ought to receive stiff punishment. But, unlike the anti-choice lot, I would be prepared to introduce exceptions to such a rule, since I believe that having a right to life requires a complementary right to end one’s own life if one no longer desires to live (subject to safeguards to prevent those with treatable depression from being assisted in committing suicide by those who should be treating their depression, for example).

        The only problem with applying the ‘It’s all about autonomy’ argument to abortion is that the anti-choice response will be ‘What about the autonomy of the unborn baby?’ To which I would respond that a collection of cells is incapable of expressing a desire to continue to be alive. As a woman’s pregnancy progresses, the restrictions on obtaining an abortion increases, until after the baby is born it has all (or nearly all; it will rely on its mother to give or refuse consent to treatment for any conditions it may have as it will be incapable of giving or refusing consent on its own behalf) the same rights as its mother. That is as I believe it should be, whereas if anti-choicers had their way, a 3-weeks-pregnant woman who caused herself to miscarry by crashing her car into a motorway barrier (but injuring no-one else) would find herself in prison for the best part of a decade for causing death by dangerous driving.

        • LaMont

          I mean, a pre-viable fetus doesn’t have bodily autonomy because *its body* isn’t autonomous yet.

  • MaineJen

    Quite a sensible and modest proposal, Dr. Amy. 😉

  • Squirrelly

    “Without exceptions…to save a pregnant woman’s life”

    Ummm, are they sure about this one? Who exactly is going to carry the baby if mom croaks?

    • Spamamander, pro fun ruiner

      I’ve had anti-choice people online say it would have been better for me to kill myself than have an early abortion. I guess because their vindictive god could punish me immediately?

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Odd. Kill yourself and your baby is better than an abortion?

        • Roadstergal

          Yes, because then they both go to heaven, is how I gather the argument goes.

          If I weren’t an atheist, I think I’d still find that a pretty shitty way for god to run a railroad.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            suicide is a mortal sin, and unbaptized babies don’t get to heaven

          • Squillo

            That’s not quite right, according to Catholic catechism. The church is somewhat coy on unbaptized babies, but they allow as how there is “hope for salvation” for them. Their position seems to me to come down to: “We don’t really know what happens to unbaptized babies. They don’t go to Limbo because we’ve decided that’s a sham, but since God makes the rules, he can break them, so unbaptized babies might go to heaven. Or they might not. But it’s just too mean to condemn them, and it would make us really unpopular, so we won’t, and we’ll let you have a proper funeral for your stillborn baby.”

        • Rachele Willoughby

          Remember it’s not about the baby. It’s about punishing the scarlet woman who dared to have sex.

      • kilda

        sure, that makes sense. That will save the baby.

        what a hateful thing to say to anyone, ever.

      • Steph858

        I’m guessing these are the people who prefer to leave such things to God’s will: if you intervene and save your own life by having an abortion then that’s murdering your unborn baby but if you both die naturally then that’s all part of God’s mysterious plan and therefore OK.

        To which I would respond: Next time you’re sick, say with a bacterial infection, though any easily treatable but potentially fatal ailment will do, you have a choice. You can EITHER go see your doctor and get medicine OR go to your church and get prayed for. One or the other. Not both. So which will you choose?

        The former? Well, whatever happened to ‘The Lord’s Will’ and ‘God’s Mysterious Plan’?

        • Cody

          I think part of it is the messed up philosophy that any worthwhile woman should be willing to sacrifice anything for her unborn children. To be a good mother and a good woman, you have to be willing to die for the slight chance that your unborn could live. It doesn’t matter that you have other children etc. They need to know that their mother was truly a saint.

          most of us would give anything to our kids, but IMO that includes staying alive to raise them. As a doula, I have been part of many conversations with first time parents-to-be. I hear the following a lot:

          “If the doctor has to make a choice when my wife is in labour and can only save one life, the baby or my wife, we want them to save my wife.”

          And then I try very hard to hide my annoyance because that is not a thing that happens in real life. There are resources to save both if either life is in jeapordy. They’ll go for both. if one of them dies, it wont be because the other lived.

          But also, in this crazy imaginary scenario that all first time parents seem to be afraid of, why are they then surprised when I say that hypothetically of course it would be the mother? Fuck. Of course it’s the mother. But we aren’t going to give birth on an unihabited island using only sharp rocks and fetal heart monitors made from coconuts, so it’s a moot point I guess.

          • An Actual Attorney

            When my friend had eclampsia 15 years ago, some was given basically that choice. If they took the baby out, they weren’t sure they could save the baby, but if they didn’t, they were pretty sure they couldn’t save her.

            In the end, she’s got a high school student today.

      • Squirrelly

        The more I see of this world the more I think that some people are just really stupid.

  • Cody

    I’m at my step-son’s Christmas concert (at a Catholic school) and the woman next to me is reading all about the evil abortionists on her cell phone right now.

  • Taysha

    Vasectomies.

    – they can be reversed.
    – sperm can be frozen and used safely.

    End of problem. Vasectomies for all, since they can’t keep it in their pants.

    • mabelcruet

      As per ‘Legally Blonde’, make masturbation illegal, because every sperm could potentially create a human, and throwing them away during a masturbatory event could be considered reckless abandonment and denial of life. Only sperm emitted in circumstances where conception is a possibility should be permitted.

      • StephanieJR

        Every sperm is sacred, every sperm is good….

        (I think that’s how it goes)

        • Azuran

          Well in that case, shouldn’t women have sex during every single one of their fertility window? After all, if masturbating is denying sperm the possibility of life, then not having sex when you are ovulating means denying to egg the possibility of life also?

  • Madtowngirl

    “Of course, if they reject such a plan we’ll be left to conclude that anti-choice politicians don’t want to prevent abortions; they just want to punish women for having sex.”

    That’s exactly what it is. It’s 2016, and we are electing idiots who think the way to end abortions is to ban them. I mean honestly, the worst thing to me is the 20 week abortion ban. Women seeking late term abortions aren’t doing it as birth control. It’s profoundly cruel to insist a woman carry a pregnancy to term when she’s discovered a fatal condition, or an issue that will significantly affect a child’s quality of life, at the anatomy ultrasound. The choice to end a pregnancy after 20 weeks should be one made by the woman and whatever partner she chooses to involve in the decision – not by the government, not by religion, and certainly not by sanctimonious assholes who have no stake in the woman’s life.

    I totally derailed myself there. The point is, if these morons really want to reduce the number of abortions, they would insist that we have excellent sex education in schools and easy access to birth control. They would lobby for reforms in the adoption and foster systems to make them better options for birth mothers and foster/adoptive parents alike.

    But no. Let’s just punish women for having sex. How dare they exercise autonomy over their own bodies!

    • Roadstergal

      The best way to reduce late-term abortions is to ensure women have rapid and affordable access to early-term abortions, and the way to reduce abortions overall is to give free and convenient access to LARC, condoms, and all the myriad BCs so women can have the one that works for them.

      Also, to change our culture to make vasectomies more ‘manly.’ I always use BC, but when I had a snipped boyfriend, it was just really pleasing to know he took this stuff as seriously as I did.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        When my wife went off BC before conceiving our second (and last), I promised her she would never have to use BC again. I got my vas when our guy was 1 mo old (we wanted to make sure he was safe and healthy).

        Seriously, I couldn’t understand why not to do it. In case we wanted another? We were both in our 40s and had 2. That was enough.

        We can adopt if we want another.

        • Mishimoo

          That’s where we’re at – my husband had a vasectomy, recovered well and the only side effects appear to be increased libido (it was low before) and some mild relationship anxiety, so he now puts more effort into our marriage. We’re calling it a win, and intend to foster kids once ours are grown.

        • Young CC Prof

          Vasectomy is an office procedure, tubal ligation requires cutting into the abdominal cavity, and yet, in the USA, far more women than men have chosen sterilization. Birth control really is seen as a woman’s problem.

          • LaMont

            It’s also another way for women to assert control. You’ll never *really* be as safe if you let a man take charge of reproductive issues, and you’re the one who suffers the consequences if things go wrong. I can see why the value is high enough to incentivize sterilization for women more than men, sadly.

      • KQ Not Signed In

        Not true. Because late term abortion isn’t done for birth control reason. It’s overwhelmingly for poor prenatal diagnosis or sometimes to save the mother’s life. Most of them are wanted and mourned babies – birth control can’t stop a baby that was conceived deliberately and with love and longing, only to have a birth defect that can’t be detected until after 20 weeks/

        • Roadstergal

          I didn’t say it was the best way to _eliminate_ late-term abortions. Late-term abortions that happen for medical reasons should not be blocked, because they’re necessary (at least until medical technology advances to the point where issues can be detected earlier, or even corrected).

          However, if you think that the obstacles (lack of clinics, mandatory waiting periods, medically unnecessary restrictions) to safe abortion before these arbitrary limits like 20 weeks aren’t impacting the ability of women who want an abortion early on to have that abortion early – I have to disagree.

          • Bombshellrisa

            I read about the absolute lack of access some women have to early abortions in the US and it’s tragic. I forget that since I live in a liberal area and there options for me here.

      • Dr Kitty

        IME the type of men who get vasectomies are the most secure in their masculinity.

        Firefighters, police, soldiers, scientists, lawyers- men who are either very manly” and don’t feel threatened by vasectomy in the slightest, men who are very logical and scientific and are clear on the risk/benefit breakdown or both.

    • Cody

      I pressed the upvote button at least 10 times on your comment.

    • KQ Not Signed In

      Thank you. I’m finding it harder and harder to speak out about this because I’m so burned out, exhausted and sad. And so very scared that my son will grow up in a world without the choices his parents had – and made – so that he could have the joyous life he does and his brother could be spared a life of suffering and misery.

    • MaineJen

      Yes. Absolutely. Look at what beliefs usually coincide:
      Anti-choice
      Anti-birth control
      Anti-sex ed
      Pro-early marriage

      They just don’t want women having sex. Ever. Unless it is to conceive a child. They want to turn back the clock 200 years. Everyone gets married at 18 to their first boyfriend/girlfriend, and has as many children as biology dictates. (Or as many children as technology can provide…because that, apparently, is okay).

      I don’t really have the words to adequately convey how much this infuriates me.

      • Heidi

        I do think some really far-out anti-abortion individuals don’t even believe in some fertility technology. I guess most of them might be okay with things like Clomid to conceive, but I know some “pro-life” lawyers believe frozen embryos have a right to life. Costa Rica just recently lifted an IVF ban.

        ETA: Not that only “pro-life” lawyers are the ones who believe that, but they are actively fighting for frozen embryo rights.

        • Kathleen

          Catholics come to mind – I think they’re against IVF? because it usually involves fertilizing more than one egg, leaving more embryos that aren’t implanted. Thus – it’s killing babies.

          • Roadstergal

            This is the best response to that notion I have yet come across.

            http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2016/11/14/a-gut-check/

          • Chant de la Mer

            That is such an interesting way to look at it, not as a debate (because it’s not meant to be one) but just as a moment to make a choice and then think about why you made that choice and what value living children have over potential children. I mean I’m already on that side but it still made me think.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            …you can donate them to another couple at my clinic

          • Valerie

            The extra embryos is one reason, but it’s not just that. As an outsider, my understanding of the official Catholic stance is that God’s glorious gift to mankind is for him to ejaculate in his wife’s vagina. He specially designed sex and procreation to work that way. Man enjoys sex, and there might be a baby in 9 months. Any behavior outside of this blessed plan is offensive to God and morally wrong. Having sex while sabotaging procreation is wrong, but so is procreating by any other means than P-in-V sex between a married man and woman.

          • Amy

            I was raised Catholic, and that’s pretty much it in a nutshell.

            Sexual acts that are anything but foreplay leading up to PIV sex are also mortal sins: oral sex, manual stimulation, masturbation, and even if an unmarried couple makes out and gets too aroused.

          • Valerie

            Right- all of those things are permissible as foreplay, as long as it ends with the man ejaculating in his wife’s vagina (that hasn’t been sullied by any form of birth control). Surely only a small percent of Catholics actually follow this.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Yep. All these things against the Catholic rules. Donald Trump is divorced three times, all against the Catholic rules, and gets completely supported by Catholics, but Clinton is pro-choice and is therefore evil. It’s not like she had an abortion, just that she is favor of allowing it. Trump, otoh, actually violated church rules.

            Oh I know. Yeah, divorce is forbidden by the RCC, aND Trump isn’t Catholic, but then again, Clinton’s religion doesn’t forbid abortion.

          • Gæst

            Their position is far deeper than that. From a Catholic website:

            “Catholic teaching prohibits in vitro fertilization, maintaining that a child has the right to be conceived in the marital embrace of his parents. Human sexuality has two components, the unitive and procreative; IVF separates these components and makes the procreative its only goal. Pope Paul VI said that there is an “inseparable connection, willed by God, and unable to be broken by man on his own initiative, between the two meanings of the conjugal act: the unitive meaning and the procreative meaning.”

            There are other issues involved. IVF makes the child a commodity produced in a laboratory, and makes doctors, technicians, and even business people part of the conception process. The sperm used is usually obtained by masturbation, which the Church teaches is immoral. The sperm or eggs used may not come from the couple desiring the child; because one of the spouses may be infertile, it may be necessary to use the sperm or eggs from an outsider. Most of the embryos conceived—which the Church holds should be respected new human lives—die, are frozen indefinitely for later implantation, are used for research, or are discarded. Children conceived through IVF also have a greater incidence of birth defects.”

          • Valerie

            “a child has the right to be conceived in the marital embrace of his parents”

            Gross. “I’d rather not exist than be conceived in any way other than my married parents having unprotected vaginal intercourse” said no child, ever. What a ridiculous concept of human rights.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Doggie style, not being an embrace, apparently does count, either

          • LaMont

            What part of “beast with two backs” don’t you understand?!?! 😉

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Any of it, to be honest

          • Bombshellrisa

            Yeah, IVF makes that “where do babies come from” talk so easy. You could answer first in lab, then mom’s belly.

          • RMY

            If I’m able to conceive, I’m not dreading the “where do babies come from talk” as a lesbian, the answer is “a doctor’s office” even if we end up not needing IVF.

          • RMY

            Catholicism is against reproduction that isn’t a direct result of sexual intercourse. It’s not just the leftover embryo problem, they also have issue with a man masturbating into a cup.

            So Clomid, and other drugs are alright, but any type of insemination besides timed intercourse isn’t.

          • Kathleen

            See, I even grew up Catholic and didn’t know that. I honestly thought it was just the embryo problem. What a blind spot on my end. Thank you!

          • RMY

            I grew up in a house where my parents practiced NFP, which means they were in that crazy 1%.

        • Gene

          I know several people including a formerly (long story omitted) close friend who believe that all infertility treatments were sinful. She and her spouse were unable to conceive “as God intended” and they refused any suggestions by the infertility specialist they saw as “against their religion”. And their church, instead of offering sympathy, would make snide comments about how she wasn’t a proper wife, let alone Christian. So he ended up cheating on her and leaving her for the mistress when she got pregnant (seriously). Church blessed the new marriage. She’s now divorced, menopausal, and a trump supporter.

          I wish I was making this up.

          • maidmarian555

            That’s so sad. And I don’t know what’s upsetting me more, the fact her church treated her so badly or the fact she doesn’t seem to understand that’s the church’s failing and not hers. This world is completely effed up.

          • Gene

            The snarky church members for sure. Church teachings I can understand. May not agree with, but understand. But members denegrating another for being infertile? Making snarky comments like “you shouldn’t teach Sunday school to children since you can’t have any” is just cruel.

          • RMY

            Most Trump supporters I don’t understand, but this lady sounds like she has a reason to watching to watch the world burn.

        • critter8875

          referred to as “embryonic neighbors”

      • Squirrelly

        Agreed, this has nothing to do with saving babies and everything to do with pushing a slut-shaming puritanical worldview. If they were truly about saving lives they would concentrate on root causes of abortion and support things like universal healthcare, paid parental leave, access to early childcare, etc.

        In my opinion it is the very act of denouncing women’s “immoral” behavior that is the goal. By telling women NO they can claim the moral high ground without having to open their wallets and shell out for a real solution.

    • Kathleen

      Another reason for those abortions after 20 weeks? all the freaking hoops women have to jump through to get an abortion. Free/low cost, easily accessible (that would mean in every large city and all clinics and doctors/OBs offices) medical and surgical abortions EARLY in the first trimester would prevent many later abortions.

      • Young CC Prof

        Correct. There are three causes of second-trimester abortions:

        1) Late diagnosis of pregnancy (rare, most often happens in very young girls.)

        2) Medical information that wasn’t available in the first trimester, such as fetal nonviability.

        3) Legal, financial and logistical obstacles to getting abortion care.

    • LaMont

      The “no abortions for fetal abnormalities” thing just gets more and more insane to me (as I’ve never been pregnant, it is taking me a while to really wrap my head around how horrible it is to force women to bear doomed babies).

      #1) Why would you force a woman to increase her own morbidity and mortality risk for zero benefit to another person? Even if she still lives, as she is likely to, why increase her risk of extended hospitalization, treatable hemorrhages, incontinence, etc. that come with late pregnancy and birth?
      #2) If you’re so into women’s “mental health,” why force a woman to go through late pregnancy, when her visible condition will inspire constant chatter from friends, family, coworkers, and strangers about how excited she must be for the coming baby?
      #3) What about the prison/torture fact of constantly feeling your baby moving around, knowing it’s dying and/or cannot survive outside of you?

      In sum, WTF!!!!?!?!?!?

      • mabelcruet

        Having heard some of our politicians in Northern Ireland ranting about the wickedness of abortions, I genuinely believe that they think fetal abnormalities are God’s punishment, that the mum is being punished for her sins and she should be forced to continue the pregnancy as an act of contrition. We are talking medieval mindset here.

        • LaMont

          Ah, I’m USA and here it’s all about “women’s health and safety” when failing to provide post-20-week abortions is literally NOTHING BUT RISKING A WOMAN’S HEALTH. You don’t tend to hear loud-and-proud Catholic thought in the policy, at least not as much. Just a simple, “it’s murder, don’t do it, come on, after 20 weeks don’t you already know?”

      • maidmarian555

        From when I was about 25wks pregnant with my son, I couldn’t go anywhere without somebody commenting on my bump or asking about when my baby was due. Many women have to work through pregnancies, I can’t imagine the pain and torture of having to tell everyone from your work colleagues to the lady you buy milk from at your local store that actually you’re never going to have an actual baby at the end of your pregnancy. WTF indeed.

      • Young CC Prof

        At 32 weeks, my son was diagnosed with IUGR due to placental failure. I was so scared, but I carried him another 37 days, and delivered him tiny but healthy. There were times when I just wanted to curl up and cry, and there were times when I wanted NOT to think about it for a little while.

        But when you are visibly pregnant, everyone talks about it, people you don’t even know, and they expect you to be happy. The constant happy bubble made the whole thing a lot harder than it needed to be, especially since I really didn’t feel up to sharing the diagnosis except with a very small circle of people.

        I cannot imagine what that would have been like with a terminal diagnosis, I just can’t.

    • mabelcruet

      There is a lot of data about sexual education and rates of teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and age at first sexual intercourse. Generally, those countries with earlier sex education (like Holland and the Scandinavian countries) have lower rates of STD land teenage pregnancy.