Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Fetal pain round three

Well, we finally got disclosure about the fetal pain article, but wouldn’t it be better if the authors had provided it themselves? We shouldn’t have to rely on the media to do it for us. The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) did some homework and came up two more items of note about Dr. Eleanor A. Drey, one of the paper’s authors. I previously noted that she is an abortion provider. The NRLC linked to the March 31 2004 issue of the San Fransisco Chronicle which informs us that she was head of San Fransisco’s largest abortion clinic and testified against the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003.

The September 2004 issue of the Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health newsletter, also linked from the NRLC web site, profiles Dr. Drey as an activist whose passion on the issue is intense. Concerning a woman’s choice, she is quoted “It’s already an emotional decision, and to make it that much more difficult really infuriates me.” It infuriates her. Wow. With such intense emotion driving her opposition to fetal pain legislation could she have been objective in selecting and interpreting studies for a scientific review of the topic? The newsletter goes on to quote “It makes me feel really good that I can do something very immediate to serve women’s medical and emotional welfare while working in a political sense to train future providers, do research, and hopefully broaden women’s access to abortion and reproductive care. I am very lucky because I get to train residents and medical students, and I really do feel that it’s a type of activism.” (Italics mine).

This speaks volumes. There was clearly an agenda surrounding the fetal pain paper, and JAMA readers needed to know.

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