Dear Mr. Trump,
I just heard you on Chris Mathews discussing abortion. “Should the woman be punished for having an abortion?” you were asked.
You waffled and tried to deflect, but Mathews called you out. What does an abortion ban mean, he wanted to know?
You then called abortion “a very serious problem” and suggested that we would have to “go back to a position like they had where they would perhaps go to illegal places but we have to ban it.”
And then, “There has to be some form of punishment.”
I am guessing the perforated uterus or sepsis that often goes along with an illegal abortion isn’t punishment enough? What about the infertility from the infection acquired as the dirty instruments pushed bacteria into “the woman’s” body? How about the the pre-procedure rape (after all you can’t really report the rape from your illegal abortion).
And what of doctors like me who care for these women? What punishment will we get if we don’t report them?
I’ve pulled a fetal skull out of an abdomen, treated an abdomen full of stool from a perforated bowel, and fought to save the life of a woman while I was almost up to my ankles in her blood. Abortion isn’t illegal, but it’s expensive and when women can’t afford a well-trained provider and are desperate not to be pregnant they don’t ask many questions. I know exactly what will happen when women can’t get abortions and apparently so do you.
I know you don’t labor under the misconception that banning abortion creates wanted pregnancies, if it did why would there be “illegal places?” But in case you don’t know the specifics when abortion is illegal on average 7 women per 1,000 (between the ages of 15 and 44) are treated for complications from an illegal procedure. In some countries it’s 1% of reproductive aged women with medical visits for complications of illegal abortions every year. Yes, 1% of reproductive aged women. And that’s just those who seek care. Worldwide over 21 million women have unsafe abortions every year and 47,000 die. That is what happens when there are only “illegal places.”
You should be ashamed at your lack of empathy in casually mentioning “illegal places” as if that is some kind of option, like traveling coach. Do you really think that a frightened woman with her legs spread on a table waiting to be penetrated by dirty instruments while she hopes not to be raped or die (or both) is some kind of admirable outcome?
So I ask you again, are those things punishment enough or after she wakes up from the surgery to drain the abscess and save her uterus will “the woman” also need jail time?
Dr. Jen Gunter MD, FRCS(S), FACOG, DABPM