Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Home Abortion

I haven't really been following the story of the attempted demystification of abortion by Angie Jackson, aka Angie the Anti-Theist, the woman who was live-Tweeting her medical abortion and reaped a whirlwind of abuse and threats for it.

She has a very odd background. She grew up in a bizarre cult that glorified fertility and childbirth and demonized medical intervention.
Twenty-seven years before the YouTube video documenting her home abortion, Jackson was born at home in what her grandmother, a fringe Christian leader named Carol Balizet, called a "Zion home birth," conducted without doctor, nurse, or midwife; without any medicine or medical intervention of any sort; and relying only on prayer and faith in God to get through a safe delivery. Balizet is a Christian author of apocalyptic thrillers who came into her life's work when she started attending the home births of women in her Tampa community as a "spiritual midwife."

This practice, which Balizet tried out first on a young woman in her church and subsequently on Jackson's mother, became what she called her "baby ministry." In time, a handbook of assorted papers directing expecting parents how to prepare themselves spiritually for a Zion home birth—through purging the house of demonic energy and equipping themselves with faith-healing prayers—became a self-published book, Born in Zion, that Jackson estimates has sold 400,000 mimeographed and bound copies, often distributed at churches and home-schooling conferences where Balizet would lecture.

From The Apologetics Index (I left the page references in):
Balizet believes that to receive any medical care whatsoever is a sin. It is yielding to the ''world system'' (167) and to the ''arm of flesh.'' (84). Furthermore, taking any drug for any reason is sorcery according to Balizet (171). She refers to people who have never ingested drugs of any kind as ''undefiled'' and ''virgins'' (174), and incredibly, even denounces medicinal wine (170), which Paul recommended to Timothy! (1 Tim. 5:23).


Balizet believes that getting a Caesarean Section is a particularly abominable sin. All women who have had Caesareans have ''the same spirit,'' the ''spirit of Caesar,'' who is one and the same with ''the Strong Man, the Satanic high prince over the organization and sphere of humanism'' because they have ''rendered their babies unto Caesar'' rather than to God (48). In other words, women with Caesarean scars are idol-worshipers who are demon possessed.

Just plain old everyday Christer nuttiness, with, of course, cruel consequences for women whose deliveries went horribly wrong (see the Slate link).

But in googling around, I ran across a piece of gloating sadism from
Nurse Stanek, who obsessively catalogued Angie's tweets, while reveling in her pain, nausea, and fatigue. Nurse Stanek also devoted a series of ten blogposts at her place (no link, you can find it if you must) to the same project of vilifying the woman and delighting in her suffering.

Nurse Stanek's purpose is two-fold -- to demonize Angie and murdering sluts like her and to characterize medical abortion as a degrading, horrible, drawn-out nightmare. Nurse Stanek is quick to point out, however, that horrible as medical abortion is, surgical abortion is just as yucky etcetera-etcetera.

Serendipitously, here's a new study on the safety and efficacy of the drug, RU 486, Angie used.

Such medical abortions are done very early -- up to 49 days' gestation. This study looked at results from women using it later -- from 50 to 63 days pregnant -- and it's mostly good.
For 199 of the women less than 50 days pregnant and 186 of the women at 50 to 63 days' gestation, use of the medications resulted in complete abortions; the remaining 10 women required surgery. About six out of 10 women in both groups needed extra pain medication.

But here's the telling detail:
Among the women in the earlier gestation group, 92 percent said they would opt for home administration again if they needed another abortion, and 87 percent of the women further along in their pregnancies said so.

Those are pretty convincing numbers.

I wish that stuff had been around when I was pregnant and didn't want to be thirty-plus years ago. I knew almost instantly that there was weird shit happening in my body. No home pregnancy tests in the Dark Ages; you hadda pee in a jar and take it to a pharmacy. Great fun for a miserable, terrified teenager. And for added joy, those pregnancy tests weren't reliable until at least two weeks after a period had been missed. So you wait.

In my case, a loooong time.


I won't go into the details of my panicky scramble to figure out how I was going to become unpregnant, but there was one more shocker waiting for me.

While I was making the appointment -- in another country, I point out -- I was asked how many weeks. Six, I said.

I was told: You have to wait until eight (or was it ten? -- I repress) weeks.


There I was, being as responsible as I could, and I was told I had to wait. Again.

The state of the art at the time did not include fancy imaging equipment. An abortion had to wait until the blob was big enough for the physician to be sure it was all gone. (Nowadays, women have to wait only six weeks for the kind of abortion I had.)

RU 486 is a great invention. There's the privacy -- you can do it at home and avoid the clinic harassers. And, even better, there's the speed -- you can act quickly and get it over with.

And for those very two reasons, Nurse Stanek and her flying monkeys really really really hate medical abortion.

Screw you, Nurse Stanek. And bully for Angie.


Berlynn said...

Most excellent post, fern hill. Thank you.

CanNurse said...

Good post, Fern! And medically accurate from my obstetric nursing experience. And Nurse Stanek is really Nurse Rachett - or as I like to call them, "NurseyNurse". Horrible creatures. Unfortunately, not extinct.

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