28 July 2020
It's no secret that Trump is a narcissistic jerk. Look at how he's made the coronavirus pandemic all about himself.
John Lewis, a staunch fighter for civil rights and a far more decent human being, died recently. People have been honoring him as his body lies in state.
Except for Trump.
Trump's hasn't done do. He won't.
No. He's pissed off that nothing positive about him is trending on Twitter.
Joe Biden, however, honors a friend and colleague. Because that's what decent people do.
20 July 2020
Note: This was originally written in November 2016. The Rogue River Press publisher opted not to run it because she felt the right to life side didn't have enough of "their side" presented. The Oregon Right to Life group didn't have anyone to interview -- they told me to find someone on Facebook. So, the story never ran.
By Brad Smith
On Oct. 19, 2016, as she watched the third and final presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Jillian Schoene found herself angered by one remark made by the latter: “You can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month, on the final day.”
The following day, both social media and news outlets were filled with reactions from doctors, nurses and other healthcare specialists, all of whom asserted that Trump was wrong. In The New York Times, Dr. Aaron B. Caughey, the chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at the Oregon Health and Science University, stated that such procedures do not occur in the United States. The doctor cited situations if the woman’s life was at risk – but even then, labor would be induced or a cesarean section performed. Moreover, he added, the term abortion would not be used. In those cases, it is called the induction of labor for a nonviable pregnancy.
Schoene found herself upset as she read the reactions.
“(Trump’s) lack of knowledge really got to me,” she said. “He didn’t know what he was talking about and he made it sound so cavalier. I know – because I had to make a terrible choice that no parent should have to make. You shouldn’t say something like that unless you have all the facts.”
Schoene and her husband had always wanted a family and they were “thrilled beyond belief” after learning she was having a baby. Learning they were going to have a girl, Schoene and her husband picked out a name – Annabelle Rose. For several weeks, their lives were filled with medical checkups and preparations for Annabelle Rose’s arrival. In August 2012, Schoene had what she thought was a routine checkup with her doctor and at the time, she was 22 weeks pregnant.
The routine checkup took a “shocking turn” when her doctor gave her some news, Schoene said.
According to test results, the doctor said Annabelle Rose had a form of skeletal dysplasia, a genetic condition that would not allow her rib cage to grow. Schoene said it meant that from her daughter’s very first breath after being born, the ribs would prevent her lungs from expanding.
“In other words, she physically wouldn’t be able to breath,” she added. “Along with that, the doctor found other physical and mental developmental complications. It was very heartbreaking to hear. I can’t explain how surreal it is to have a conversation in which your doctor carefully and calmly explains to you that your baby girl will suffocate at birth.”
Schoene’s doctor urged her to seek out other opinions. So, she went to the Oregon Health and Science University and consulted with doctors there. Again, the results were the same and Schoene found herself facing an agonizing decision. “I had two choices: Carry Annabelle Rose to term and watch and listen as she tried to take a breath, but couldn’t – suffer as she gasped for air – or induce delivery at 23 weeks and allow her to quietly and less painfully pass away.”
It was very traumatic, Schoene said, but she knew the right choice had been made.
“My husband and I didn’t want Annabelle Rose to slip away like that. But, the reality was a horrible one,” she said. “What kind of mother would I be if I allowed my baby girl to suffer like that?”
In Oregon, such medical procedures are legal. According to Mary Nolan, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon, they are rarely performed.
“We are talking about planned, wanted pregnancies,” she said. “That’s what happened with Jillian. She wanted that baby – but something went wrong. These so-called ‘late term abortions’ total up to one percent or so of procedures performed in the state. That’s one percent – a hundred or so procedures.”
According to the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization focused on reproductive health issues and rights in the United States, of the more than 1 million abortions performed in the United States in 2011, about 12,000, or 1.3 percent happened after 21 weeks, more than halfway through a 40-week pregnancy. In that same year, in Oregon, 65,900 of the 758,988 women of reproductive age became pregnant. 68 percent of these pregnancies resulted in live births and 16 percent in induced abortions, while the rest miscarried. The Institute also reported that in 2011, 10,690 women obtained abortions in Oregon, producing a rate of 14.1 abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age. Some of these women were from other states, and some Oregon residents had abortions in other states, so this rate may not reflect the abortion rate of state residents. The rate decreased 18 percent since 2008, when it was 17.2 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44. Abortions in Oregon represent 1.0 percent of all abortions in the country.
“Overall, unwanted births and abortions have been dropping for some time,” Nolan said. “It’s because we have better family planning, better access to contraceptives and more realistic approaches to sex education these days. That’s what we want to see.
“However, in cases like Jillian’s, women need to have that choice available to them. “
Liberty Pike, communications director of the anti-choice organization, Oregon Right to Life, felt that Trump’s statement was valid. “These horrible things happen. It’s very barbaric and it needs to be stopped.” However, Pike did not provide data on such alleged procedures.
Pike’s organization opposes abortions – even in cases of rape and incest – but does feel that the procedures are necessary only when the mother’s or infant’s life is at severe risk. The organization also opposes Oregon’s death with dignity law.
“I really do feel sorry for (Schoene),” she said. “No parent should be put in that situation. I’m glad that she consulted her doctor about it – but what if the doctor was wrong. What if both doctors consulted were wrong? Mistakes can happen. That could have been the case here. Even if the mother carried the infant to full term,” Pike said, “there could have been a chance of life. Again, doctors can make mistakes. We here at ORTL, as I stated before, feel abortions are only necessary when the mother’s or infant’s life is at risk. Was the infant really at risk?”
Schoene said she developed a “good, strong relationship” with her doctor and trusted the diagnosis.
“My doctor knew there was something wrong. We discussed my options and I was urged to seek out another opinion,” she said. “I had one of the best doctors at OHSU examine me and the diagnosis was the same. To even suggest that everyone I talked to was ‘wrong,’ well, that’s ludicrous. I would even say ‘deluded.’”
Schoene said she felt fortunate to be in Oregon, where she could have the medical procedure done.
“I know some people might think I’m terrible and I’ve even been called a murderer,” she said. “Contrary to what those people say, I loved my daughter. I wanted Annabelle Rose to be a beautiful, healthy girl and I wanted to watch her grow up. I wanted so many things.
“Then, that one day in August, it all changed.”
Time passed. Schoene and her husband moved forward with their lives. A few years later, during another routine checkup, Schoene learned she was pregnant.
“I was excited but apprehensive,” she said. “I thought about my daughter during that time. I didn’t want to go through this again. However, I now have a highly energetic boy named Cole and he gets excited about Halloween and Christmas. I’m so glad that we have him. He’s everything that we ever wanted.”
Since her experience, Schoene has worked hard to keep women’s access to healthcare and their right to choose intact. She has testified before legislative hearings and shared her experiences whenever possible. By doing that, Schoene hopes people will have a better understanding of why she has made her choices. – and why other women make similar choices.
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