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Switch to Forum Live View Mandatory Waiting Periods
6 years ago  ::  Jun 10, 2009 - 2:29PM #1
Cesmom
Posts: 5,385

I don't believe that women should lose their legal right to obtain an abortion, but I do feel that there are certain areas that could be compromised on between the pro-life and pro-choice side of this whole big debate.


The argument against a 24-hour waiting period is no different than arguments against any other restriction or legislation ~ it interferes with a woman's right to make her own medical decisions.  The thing is, there are other elective medical procedures that require a mandatory waiting period - either mandated by law or by the medical facilities themselves.  I've seen required waiting periods on everything from vasectomies to cosmetic surgery to gastric bypass.  No one is up in arms about those. 


My question is, really, honestly, what is the true harm in having a 24-hour waiting period?  Maybe it would make a woman reconsider her decision and maybe it would not, but what is the actual harm being done by having it?  The only answer I can anticipate is inconvenience, and I just don't see a 24-hour waiting period to be a significant inconvenience.  Nebraska has a waiting period, and there's been no increase in child abuse cases or any other visible negative affects from this that I can see.


I consider myself pro-choice, but I see some gray area in the middle, too.  I hear criticism all the time toward pro-life extremists for refusing to support birth control, and I completely agree, but I think concessions could be made on both sides.  Why is a 24-hour waiting period such a huge arguing point????    

Our need to learn should always outweigh our need to be right

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6 years ago  ::  Jun 10, 2009 - 2:59PM #2
Tolerant Sis
Posts: 4,201

Jun 10, 2009 -- 2:29PM, Cesmom wrote:


My question is, really, honestly, what is the true harm in having a 24-hour waiting period?  Maybe it would make a woman reconsider her decision and maybe it would not, but what is the actual harm being done by having it?  The only answer I can anticipate is inconvenience, and I just don't see a 24-hour waiting period to be a significant inconvenience.  Nebraska has had a waiting period since 2005, and there's been no increase in child abuse cases or any other visible negative affects from this that I can see.


I consider myself pro-choice, but I see some gray area in the middle, too.  I hear criticism all the time toward pro-life extremists for refusing to support birth control, and I completely agree, but I think concessions could be made on both sides.  Why is a 24-hour waiting period such a huge arguing point????    




In states where the woman has to travel long distances, forcing her to spend the night in a motel room when she may have three children who need her at home is more than a minor inconvenience; it is fairly significant.  


Consider the situation of a woman who is seeking an abortion because she is planning to leave an abusive mate, doesn't want him to know of the pregnancy, and doesn't want to leave the already born children with him overnight while she is being made to cool her heels somewhere far from home.  She is already taking a risk just to try to have the procedure done while the kids are in school or daycare and hubby is at work.  


The point is, when a woman knows what she wants, she shouldn't have to submit to a paternalistic 'waiting period' for any reason, even if she isn't in this sort of situation.  There is counseling for vasectomy which occurs a few days before the outpatient treatment, but vasectomies are generally done in clinics and day surgeries close to home.  Doctors are consistently treating patients for gastric bypass and other 'waiting period' procedures, and whatever counseling needs to occur can take place within the doctor's office during a routine visit.  


This is not the case with abortion.  Most ob/gyn do not perform the procedures; a woman can't go in for a pregnancy test, get counseled, and come back the next morning for an abortion.  Too often, in Nebraska and elsewhere, she must travel fairly long distances once a pregnancy is confirmed and she has decided to abort.  Unlike most of the other procedures, her insurance is unlikely to cover it, too, making it an expensive venture if she also has to rent a hotel room, get supper for herself (and maybe her kids) and sit around and wait before making a long drive home the next day.

First amendment fan since 1793.
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 10, 2009 - 3:12PM #3
Cesmom
Posts: 5,385

I can see your point, but one thing I should have included in my original post...Nebraska doesn't require "in-person" counseling prior to the 24-hour waiting period, which leads me to believe that a phone consultation is all that is required.  If that's the case, it wouldn't cause a woman to have to make multiple trips or take extra time off of work. 


In fact, according to the information I found (see link below), only 7 of the 24 states that require a waiting period actually require the woman to make two trips.  I'm more inclined to agree with how the other 17 states are handling it.  The states that require an 'in person' consultation are in the minority.


www.alanguttmacher.org/statecenter/spibs...


 

Our need to learn should always outweigh our need to be right

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

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6 years ago  ::  Jun 10, 2009 - 3:18PM #4
Tolerant Sis
Posts: 4,201

Jun 10, 2009 -- 3:12PM, Cesmom wrote:


I can see your point, but one thing I should have included in my original post...Nebraska doesn't require "in-person" counseling prior to the 24-hour waiting period, which leads me to believe that a phone consultation is all that is required.  If that's the case, it wouldn't cause a woman to have to make multiple trips or take extra time off of work. 


In fact, according to the information I found (see link below), only 7 of the 24 states that require a waiting period actually require the woman to make two trips.  I'm more inclined to agree with how the other 17 states are handling it.  The states that require an 'in person' consultation are in the minority.


www.alanguttmacher.org/statecenter/spibs...



 


For a telephone conversation the day before the procedure, I wouldn't have any problem at all.  I *do* have problems with states erecting physical barriers (such as forcing women to make two trips or stay overnight hundreds of miles away) before "allowing" them to have a legal medical procedure.

First amendment fan since 1793.
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 10, 2009 - 3:35PM #5
newsjunkie
Posts: 5,750

Cesmom,


I have discussed this topic extensively with bei on the "Tiller the Killer" thread and to a lesser extent a few weeks ago on the "Pro-life now in majority" thread. I don't have time, nor desire, to bore everyone by repeating myself here. Rather, I encourage you to read this study by Joyce, et al., 2009. It's called "The impact of state mandatory counseling and waiting periods laws on abortion: a literature review." It concludes, in part,



Overall, [Mississippi's] mandatory counseling and waiting period statute-with its requirement that all counseling be done in person 24 hours prior to an induced termination-was associated with a decline in the abortion rate, a rise in abortions obtained out of state and an increase in the proportion of second-trimester abortions. These findings were consistent across three studies, each with a distinct research design.




The other convincing aspect of the Mississippi studies was the nature of the data. For each study, researchers had collected information about abortions obtained by Mississippi residents in that state, as well as in Tennessee and Alabama. This proved critical, as the number of women who left Mississippi for an abortion in a neighboring state was substantial. Finally, the outcomes analyzed were affected immediately by the law, and the statistical approaches were simple and transparent, which made the results easier to evaluate. Because Mississippi differs somewhat from other states demographically, economically and politically, it is unclear whether the effect of an equally restrictive law in other states would be greater or less than in Mississippi. Unfortunately, few other states have collected the necessary data to allow analysis of the impact of mandatory counseling and waiting period laws.




The broader analyses that included data from all available states found that counseling and waiting period laws had no impact on abortion rates or birthrates. Most laws are less demanding than that of Mississippi, and it is probably safe to conclude that if they affect reproductive outcomes, the effect is not large. However, the possibility of unmeasured confounding variables and other limitations of the studies preclude ruling out small effects.




We conclude that mandatory counseling and waiting period laws that require an additional in-person visit before the procedure likely increase both the personal and the financial costs of obtaining an abortion, thereby preventing some women from accessing abortion services. If neighboring states have similar laws, so that access to an abortion provider who does not require this strict form of waiting period requires extensive travel, then such laws are likely to lower abortion rates, delay women who are seeking abortions and result in a higher proportion of second-trimester abortions.




Laws that allow mandatory counseling to be delivered over the Internet or by mail or telephone impose lower costs on both patients and providers, and neither the waiting period requirement nor the counseling appears to have a large impact on reproductive outcomes.



My take on this is: I think there are a lot of negatives about these requirements, and have so far found no evidence that they change women's attitudes about their abortion.


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6 years ago  ::  Jun 10, 2009 - 4:04PM #6
Cesmom
Posts: 5,385

The broader analyses that included data from all available states found that counseling and waiting period laws had no impact on abortion rates or birthrates. Most laws are less demanding than that of Mississippi, and it is probably safe to conclude that if they affect reproductive outcomes, the effect is not large. However, the possibility of unmeasured confounding variables and other limitations of the studies preclude ruling out small effects.


We conclude that mandatory counseling and waiting period laws that require an additional in-person visit before the procedure likely increase both the personal and the financial costs of obtaining an abortion, thereby preventing some women from accessing abortion services. If neighboring states have similar laws, so that access to an abortion provider who does not require this strict form of waiting period requires extensive travel, then such laws are likely to lower abortion rates, delay women who are seeking abortions and result in a higher proportion of second-trimester abortions.


Laws that allow mandatory counseling to be delivered over the Internet or by mail or telephone impose lower costs on both patients and providers, and neither the waiting period requirement nor the counseling appears to have a large impact on reproductive outcomes.


******************************************************************


Mississippi is in the minority, though.  Even if internet/phone counseling don't "have a large impact on reproductive outcomes," the possibility of having any impact, coupled with the lack of any actual harm or significant inconvenience caused by it, make these requirements a realistic opportunity for compromise, IMO. 


 

Our need to learn should always outweigh our need to be right

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

More people would learn from their mistakes if they weren't so busy denying them.
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 10, 2009 - 5:24PM #7
Marysara722
Posts: 2,550


But what about a woman's own "waiting period" from the time she realizes that she is pregnant, to the time she decides she wants to terminate her pregnancy? --Which is generally a few days, to a week, maybe a few weeks while she is digesting the whole thought of it and her life's situation?


Doesn't that time-frame "waiting period" constitute for something?


Doesn't that "waiting period" count for anything?


So why another level of somebody else's idea of a "waiting period" takes precedent over the woman's own time frame?


That part I never understood.  Nor either with the fact that her own personal "waiting period" appears to be ignored.


 

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6 years ago  ::  Jun 10, 2009 - 5:41PM #8
Cesmom
Posts: 5,385

The thing is, a man could go into a doctor's office and already know all the facts about a vasectomy, and he may have taken his time in making his decision.  Regardless, the doctor is going to give him information about the risks and benefits of the procedure, then require him to go through a waiting period so that the doctor is satisfied that the man has made a fully informed and thoroughly thought out decision.


When this happens to a guy going in for a vasectomy, nobody even notices or makes a stink about it.  When it happens to a woman going in for an abortion, everybody says that the woman's being made out as 'stupid' and 'not capable of making her own decisions.' 


I think people of both genders sometimes make rash decisions.  Some people take more time to be informed about their health matters than others.  Some people are truly naive about the facts.  It's not about insulting women.  I think it's more about making 100% sure that all of the bases have been covered before an irreversible procedure is performed.

Our need to learn should always outweigh our need to be right

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

More people would learn from their mistakes if they weren't so busy denying them.
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 10, 2009 - 6:04PM #9
Tmarie64
Posts: 5,277

CES, my husband didn't have to wait for his vasectomy.  Neither did my brother.   That's a state rule and it's not the same in every state.


If all women had abortion available locally at any doctor's office, like men have with vasectomies, it might be different.  But they can't.  I had to drive two hours.  That was a day that I missed work, my mom had to drive me because, of course, the clinic wouldn't let me go alone.  My mom missed work.  


A woman has gone over and over everything a dozen times before making the decision to abort.  What do they think will change in 24 hours?

James Thurber - "It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers."
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6 years ago  ::  Jun 10, 2009 - 7:31PM #10
karbie
Posts: 3,329

I've discussed this on other threads; the bottom line for me was that my doctor confirmed the home test that was positive--and told me that there was nothing either of us could do to make my first pregnancy end with a baby. I had a bad fall at a health spa--someone apparently used baby oil to shave her legs--she left the razor--and as soon as the water hit the fiberglass floor, I fell out of the shower, hitting the concrete ledge and the actual floor as well. Unfortunately I was probably about a week pregnant and didn't know it. So all the back x-rays, hip and pelvic x-rays didn't come along at a good time and neither did the medications I was given.


  He told me that the longer I waited to miscarry, the greater the risk of suffering so much internal damage I'd never be able to have another child. He referred me to an abortion clinic, which we could scrape together the money for because a $500 deductable is useless unless you are hospitalized but better than nothing. I'd been spotting so much all along I only took the home tests because of the other "fun" symptoms I had. I've always been PC, but hadn't figured on ever making that choice myself.


At that time the cut-off date for abortions was 8 weeks. When I called, I was told then that I had to make the appointment for a few days later to give me time to really think it over, and that was in the 1980's. That period ended up being long enough for me to miscarry. It was 3AM, 27 degrees below zero and I just stayed in the dark bathroom crying. Still kept the appointment for the D& C because it needed to be done so I could get back to the fun of having the uterus spasm it's way back to normal. (I'm sure all the heavy-duty PLs will be pleased to know that it hurt so badly it doubled me over when I went back to work early and each contraction reminded me of what was no longer there.) Let's just say it wasn't a very jolly Christmas that year but most of the family on either side didn't know what we were going through because I just couldn't talk about it.


My husband was with me when we were doing the discussion on how this accident had happened and what we could do to insure we'd never need to come back. Next one was about the side effects to watch for after the procedure. The final one was with me alone so that they could be sure that I wasn't being pressured into having the abortion. There was a teenager there that morning, and her final interview was done without her mother to be sure she wasn't being forced into it. Your "waiting period" was between the time you called to schedule your visit and the days you had to wait before they would allow you to come to the clinic. the shortest wait was still 3 days. Due to the Christmas holidays, mine was scheduled for right after Christmas.


I don't know if that wait was state mandated or not--it was bad enough having people ask me if it was a boy or girl. It was chunks--and that was at home. I'd been passing some tissue ever since the fall. I didn't know and it's better I don't.  I just went back to doing children's birthday parties and helping Moms with more kids than arms. Or ones they were ignoring while they screamed and that had bothered me before then.


According to the spa's insurance company, the check for $102 was full reimbursement and it came the day after the D & C. That didn't even cover the pay I lost because of the original fall. That was the day we got a lawyer. The only good that I can see came out of it was the fact that they had totally redone the showers and back rooms with lots of non-skip strips, indoor outdoor carpeting, and traction sand in the floor tiles.  So at least maybe someone else got saved going through what I had to go through.


Sorry if this doesn't fit some PL fantasy of a selfish woman who breezes in, gets her procedure and then goes shopping to get herself more clothes  for her non-pregnancy distorted figure. Even if you have no doubt the procedure is what has to be done, it isn't pleasant, it isn't easy, and you still have raging hormones flooding your body.

"You are letting your opinion be colored by facts again."
'When I want your opinion, I'll give it to you."
these are both from my father.
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