ABORTION AND REFFERALS Abortion is a polarizing topic. I do not intend on discussing the morality of abortion itself, but the idea of doctors refusing to perform services and the referral process they lawfully must provide. Abortion, now legal in the U.S, is a necessary procedure. However doctors can decline providing abortion services, as long as they refer a patient to a provider who can assist them. Pro-choice advocates have said the refusal of service puts extra stress on the woman, considering the decision is stressful enough. Pro-lifers however, argue that forcing a doctor to refer a patient to an abortion clinic is just the same as the doctor performing the procedure his self. In some cases both sides can be right, but the issues at hand are the rights of both the woman and the doctor. Doctors should be given the right to refuse to offer abortion services as long as a referral is provided to the patient. In the article “Abortion and the Referrals for abortion: Is the law in need of change” by Demian Whiting, he addresses the legal issue of personal morality in the health industry. Whiting reviewed a paper by Daniel Hill published in a medical journal discussing the issue of when conception occurs. Whiting does not take on the issue of abortion; instead he questions whether a doctor’s personal moral belief should be paramount. Abortion is one of the only procedures doctors are lawfully able to refuse to perform. The current law requires a referral to be given to any patient turned away, which to Whiting is the only reason this refusal is acceptable. Whiting states “it seems very likely that not requiring doctors to refer is something that would be considered contemptible by society at large, including, we might surmise, by a large number of doctors who refuse to abort on grounds of conscience”(Whiting 1007). The Journal “Abortion Incidence and Access to Services in The United States” is based on research done by Rachel K. Jones and Kathryn Kooistra compiling the relative statistics of abortions and harassment of all abortion providers. The research and statistics provided in this article detail the drop in abortions performed from 1980’s to current day. “Nationwide, the number of abortions peaked in 1990, at 1.61 million, and dropped 25%, to 1.21 million, by 2005. Similarly, the abortion rate declined 29% over the same period, from 27.4 per 1,000 women aged 15–44 to 19.4 per 1,000” (Kooistra and Jones 41) according to the research the two compiled. While the number of abortions went down the amount of harassment the clinics encountered increased. They stated,”89% of the offices performing more than 400 abortions per year encountered harassment (Kooistra and Jones 48). Only 15% of all clinics that perform abortions did not have any occurrences of harassment.
“Hospital Admissions of Unsafe Abortions” by Marge Berer focuses on the incidence of hospitalization due to subpar and clandestine abortions in several countries. In many countries where abortion is illegal women are forced to go to secret clinics to get services. These clinics are often staffed with unlicensed and unqualified people. Many of the abortions performed after the first trimester are unsuccessful in ending the pregnancy and commonly cause death to the mother after complications. Berer notes, “When legal restrictions on abortion are reduced, the rate of deaths and morbidity decreases greatly” (Berer 1848). Berer does not advocate making abortion regular practice in all institutes, but believes that the ability for patients to receive safe care is a priority.
In Annals of Internal Medicine the journal by J.R.E “Abortion and the Doctor” seeks to capture the view held by the majority of doctors regarding abortion. He believes that doctors strive to better the health of all their patients both psychologically and physically. J.R.E notes that most doctors view the health of their patients go beyond merely their physical