Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Thanks for the reminder

One of the things that has impressed me most in these initial weeks of my residency is how much the non-elected healthcare decision makers in South Carolina (DHEC employees, doctors, hospital executives) truly do care about maternal and child health and health disparities. They work hard on shoestring budgets to make sure every woman and child is safe, healthy and educated. There is no politics, no religion, no divisive, antagonistic thinking. It's heartening to read emails and attend meetings with people who are passionate about the same things I am.

AND THEN at a DHEC meeting today I heard something that made my jaw drop. South Carolina passed a law in June called "Women's Right to Know", which essentially says that when a woman gets an abortion that is not medically necessary she needs to review certain information and sign and date a form stating that she reviewed that information 24 hours before she can get an abortion. The information is online and at doctor's offices. It is only available in English. People both in and out of DHEC have acknowledged that it needs to be available in Spanish. At a DHEC meeting today a DHEC employee scoffed, "They don't get them.", implying that Hispanic women don't get abortions.

OH. OK. Since "They don't get them", we certainly don't need to provide legal information about a safe and legal medical procedure in a language they can understand. My eyes bugged out of my head. We still have so far to go...

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