Q&A

Camilla Hersh: Wrapping up Roe v. Wade week

Q&A
by Marvin Olasky

Posted on Friday, January 22, 2016, at 8:07 am

The Jan. 23 issue of WORLD Magazine includes an interview with Dr. Camilla Hersh, a board member of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Here are additional questions concerning ectopic pregnancies, RU-486, Ella, and mandated waiting periods before abortion.

Hearing from an OB-GYN with your experience has been very helpful. I have a few leftover questions. First, could you explain what ectopic pregnancies are? That’s where the baby who has formed as the egg and the sperm meet on the outer portion of the fallopian tube, instead of rolling all the way down and landing in the uterus, gets stuck and implants in the fallopian tube. A baby can implant in other spots, but typically in an ectopic pregnancy it’s the fallopian tube. Most of the time, the baby miscarries there because it’s the wrong place to grow a baby, so the fallopian tube tears a little bit, the area around the baby hemorrhages, and the baby dies. Most of the time when we diagnose an ectopic, there’s no heartbeat. Occasionally the heart is still beating. In 30 years I’ve seen that twice. It’s one of those things where we can’t transplant the baby somewhere. If we could, that would be very exciting.

What’s happening with RU-486? Abortion advocates a decade ago said RU-486 would make it easier for women to have abortions. What’s happened? On the one hand it seems easier—take a couple of pills and you’re not pregnant—but the experience of RU-486 is really perhaps worse because you have extreme cramping, heavy bleeding, hemorrhaging. You pass the visible baby alone in your dorm room, in the toilet, and meanwhile you’re bleeding, no one knows that you need help. There have been hemorrhages needing blood transfusions. There’s a horrible complication that can happen because the RU-486 blocks your immune response so you look fine, no fever, falsely normal—and meanwhile a severe infection is galloping along. There have been several terrible deaths from abscesses that were unrecognized because of that particular side effect from RU-486. It seems like an easy answer, but it is not.

What about another promoted panacea, Ella? Problems? Very similar to RU486. More anti-progesterone, acts earlier, has to be given earlier in the pregnancy.

Abortion advocates don’t like waiting periods, but aren’t pre-operation visits standard? All of my patients in whom I’m going to do anything have a three- or four-page consent form, and we go through that process several days to two weeks before the procedure. They can have a chance to think about it and ask their questions. But if you go in for an abortion, somehow you’re considered too emotionally upset to understand and give informed consent, which is ridiculous and very insulting to women. We’re too frail to read an informed consent form?

Over five days, Jan. 18-22, WORLD’s website is running other responses from Dr. Hersh.

Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. His latest book is Reforming Journalism. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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