"Okay, dear prote'ge's, let's review," said the Mad Hatter. "The journalist's question?"
"Who, what, when, where, and why?" the White Rabbit jumped in.
The Hatter rolled his eyes. "No! Alice?"
"Right," said the Hatter. "Who benefits? So what's your report?"
"I got lots of information," tried the Rabbit. "The bill SB 320 is trying to force California colleges and universities to provide medical abortions in their health centers. It was just passed by the California State Senate and is going to the Assembly. This is the first time in history that a bill is trying to force doctors to engage in a practice, a practice that is a violation of the Hippocratic oath: Similarly I will not give to a woman a pessary to cause abortion."
"Well, abortions were going on even in ancient times," admitted the Hatter, "but, one can argue that 'first do no harm', might also be applicable."
"What's a pessary?" mused Alice.
"That's exactly the point. We don't force doctors to perform lethal injections. Or euthanasia. This bill will require doctors in Student Health Centers to prescribe misoprostol and mifepristone to women who wish to terminate their pregnancy. Have you been to most student health centers? Small facilities, limited services, tiny budgets. None of them do complex or specialty medical procedures. Especially ones that require specialized training, at the level of an obstetrician, like learning how to do an ultrasound of the uterus to accurately determine dating of a pregnancy, for one."
"Why is that important?" asked the Hatter.
"Because the incidence of side effects such as uterine rupture greatly increases if, for example, the misoprostol is taken after 8 weeks of pregnancy. And the bill is encouraging its use up to 10 weeks," noted Alice. "I worry more about side effects such as severe pain from the induced miscarriage, excessive bleeding, that can last up to 4 weeks, and incomplete extrusion. A medical abortion is not like having a period. You can't "la-dee-dah" it and go to work or school. And who do you call if you need help. Student health centers close at 5 or 6 pm."
The Rabbit continued, "And ER's cost a fortune. Sounds like a recipe for morbidity and mortality. Better to focus on sustaining all the accessible and available family planning services throughout the state than try to turn educational institutions into Planned Parenthood."
"Yeah, no one with a cold or a sprained ankle will want to go to the student health center if they have to run a gauntlet of anti-abortion protesters just to get a physical or a note for class," said Alice.
"What I can't understand," said the Rabbit, "is why they're really doing this at all? It's not like California's turning into Kentucky."
"Ah, Rabbit," sighed the Hatter. "You're not listening. That's the wrong question."
"I have some ideas about cui bono," Alice said. "I don't really think it's students, because only a very small percentage get abortions each year, all over California; and health services, and even safety, could be disrupted for all the other students."
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