Health Department Data Reflects No “Medically Necessary” Abortions in Arkansas

This week the Arkansas Department of Health will release its annual report on abortions performed in Arkansas last year.

The report is the result of state laws like the Woman’s Right to Know Act of 2001 and other pro-life laws. Each annual report provides valuable information about abortion in Arkansas.

Some of the data for 2014 has already been released by the Arkansas Department of Health, and it shows an interesting trend: Since its first standalone report under the Woman’s Right to Know Act in 2010, the Arkansas Department of Health has not indicated a single abortion performed to “avert death or substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function” of the mother.

Under the Woman’s Right to Know Act of 2001, doctors must obtain a woman’s informed consent before performing an abortion. That means the woman must be informed about, among other things, the abortion procedure, its risks, and its alternatives.

However, doctors are not required to obtain informed consent for abortions necessary to save the life of the mother or prevent substantial, irreversible damage to the mother’s body–what some call “medically necessary” or “emergency” abortions.

The reason for bypassing the informed consent requirements in these instances is that offering information and obtaining informed consent may jeopardize the woman’s well-being during an emergency. However, since 2010, the Arkansas Department of Health has not recorded a single instance in which the informed consent requirement was bypassed during an abortion.

This is significant for a few reasons. Any time laws related to abortion come up, people often bring up abortions performed to save the life of the mother. Many claim requiring doctors to provide detailed information about abortion could jeopardize a woman’s life during a medical emergency.

Assuming doctors are properly documenting the abortions they perform, these reports from the Arkansas Department Health would seem to indicate one of two things:

Either none of the more than 16,000 abortions performed in Arkansas during the past 5 years were necessary to save the life or health of the mother, or obtaining a woman’s informed consent prior to an abortion is feasible even under emergency circumstances.

You can see the reports from the Arkansas Department of Health below (See Sections 5, 5a, and 5b of each report):

Renown Scientists Skeptical of Scientific Research

In a recent Breakpoint commentary, Eric Metaxas writes that renown scientists are beginning to question much of the scientific research being published.

Metaxas writes,

“In late April, researchers published the results of their efforts to replicate 100 of ‘psychology’s biggest experiments.’ They were only able get the same results in 39 of them.

“Commenting on the failure, Daniele Fanelli of Stanford told the prestigious journal ‘Nature’ that ‘reproducibility rates in cancer biology and drug discovery could be even lower.’ She added, ‘From my expectations, these are not bad at all.'”

According to scientists, researchers are increasingly plagued by problems ranging from small sample sizes to conflicts of interest in conducting scientific research.

Metaxas concludes by saying,

“[I]f a lot of the stuff being published is ‘incorrect’ or ‘untrue,’ please refrain from comparing people who question the scientific consensus to Holocaust deniers and flat-earthers.

“A little bit of humility would not be bad at all.”

You can read Metaxas’ entire commentary here or listen to it below.