I love taking care of women. Women are probably my favorite patients - I love doing obstetric care, well woman exams, elderly women with chronic health problems - I enjoy them all. I briefly considered Ob/Gyn as a specialty during med school but all the OB residents I interacted with seemed miserable, plus the surgical aspects of it were not as appealing to me. Not to mention the landmines that believers have to tiptoe around in the field. I didn't want to spend my whole career fighting battle after battle with the entire department I worked in. I am pro-life for many reasons, but one reason is that I believe that abortion is bad for women (to say nothing of their unborn children).
I recently had the opportunity to learn a new procedure, similar to a D&C, that can be done when someone has a miscarriage but doesn't pass the baby on their own. The good part about this procedure, though, is that it can be done in the office under local anesthesia and with oral pain meds as opposed to in an operating room. A faculty physician from MUSC came and did a workshop using the aspirators on papayas to show us how to do them. I expressed interest in spending some additional time learning this procedure and was contacted by someone from her department about setting up time to see it performed on actual patients in Charleston.
What is sad to me is that this same procedure is also (apparently) very, very frequently used in elective abortions. The coordinator for this project asked me if I'd want to spend some time at Planned Parenthood in Charleston where this procedure is performed frequently to make sure I got enough exposure to it. I politely, but explicitly, informed her that I could not, under any circumstance, participate in elective abortions.
That is the trouble with women's health - there are good procedures, like this one, that have valid uses, but that are also used for bad reasons. This makes me feel uncomfortable. Reading the email, I got sad to think of all those women having this procedure electively, ending the lives of their unborn babies. Part of me sometimes just wants to quit this whole women's health thing because then I wouldn't have to worry about or think through these issues anymore. And yet... this is what I love to do, and so I persist -- Thinking about the issues, thinking about what God tells me is right and wrong, and trying to gingerly walk the right path.