It shouldn’t be necessary to write this article but the recent Washington Post (July 14, 2015) story “Undercover video shows Planned Parenthood exec discussing organ harvesting” has prompted many individuals—both Pro Choice and Pro Life–to react with confusion, disgust and even rage. Unfortunately, this is the not the first time that the professionalism of abortion providers has been called into question. Well-publicized cases such as that involving Pennsylvania physician, Dr. Kermit Gosnell, is another recent example of a stain on the integrity of abortion providers from whom they expect greater care and compassion.
But these recent events make it necessary for abortion providers to examine their own practices and their own behavior. Simply put, the public requires and deserves assurances that women seeking abortion services will be treated with the care and dignity they deserve.
The facts of this video—along with other recent incidents–will be discussed in upcoming political campaigns, in the halls of Congress and will alter the very landscape of abortion rights and the use of fetal tissue for years to come.
But this article is about something else. This is article is not about a woman’s right to abortion—it’s about a woman’s right to dignity.
The decision to have or to not have an abortion is a difficult and private one. In many cases it is a “solo-decision”—one made by a woman possibly with the input of only another medical professional. In other cases, the decision is far more complex and involves many individuals including a partner, a spouse, geneticists, perinatologists, parents and even clergy. Ultimately the decision rests on the shoulders of a woman—working together with her physician—who is empowered to make a life-altering plan.
And given the gravity of this decision there are certain things you need to know about our practice philosophy at The Center.
- We treat the matter of abortion services as a sacred trust. Abortion is not a matter to be discussed outside of our office. The one thing everyone can agree on in the recent video featuring Dr. Deborah Nucatola is that the discussion of such an important subject in the setting of light dinner or cocktail conversation is a breach of public trust.
It is our policy at The Center that no aspect of abortion services are discussed outside these offices.
- Privacy is critical. At a time of electronic medical records we have always held that such records are susceptible to hacking and public disclosure. For that reason we have never used electronic medical records to document abortion – related information. We have always maintained old-fashioned paper records that are not subject to electronic footprint of an electronic record. Information regarding abortion procedures are only conveyed to the individuals and professionals that you designate. Otherwise they are kept private. After 7 years these records are destroyed.
- Fetal tissue disposal. Fetal tissue is disposed of in manner consistent with NYS Public Health Care Law. We do not provide fetal tissue for research.
- We provide a supportive environment. We understand that the decision to have an abortion is a difficult one. We treat you with the kind of dignity you would expect and deserve.
- Elimination of physical pain. We cannot eradicate the emotional pain of abortion but we can eradicate physical pain. Every woman is different. Women arrive at the Center with different anxieties, experiences and ability to manage pain during abortion procedures. We can eliminate the pain of your procedure should you choose.
- We do everything possible to minimizing complications. We were the first office provide ultrasound guidance for each and every pregnancy termination. This does not guarantee that complications cannot occur but it does clearly reduce them!
- We do everything to safeguard your future fertility. Many women who undergo an abortion procedure will go on to have families. We do everything possible to safeguard that possibility. This includes ultrasound assessment of gestational age, ultrasound guidance during your procedure. Postoperative ultrasound to assure that reproductive function is optimized for the future. We even provide hysteroscopy, when necessary, to view directly into the uterus and be certain of its integrity!
- We are an accredited facility. We are the only private office in Western New York that provides abortions that is accredited office based surgical facility. Our accreditation is provided through The Accreditation Association of Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) and requires a rigorous application and examination and inspection process. We are “examined” every three years. This assures the public that we have met the highest standards among office-based surgical practices.
It is one thing to say that you treat people with dignity and another to spell it out. This is how we do it—because we feel that you deserve nothing less.