News & Politics

Non-Profit Trains Medical Students in Back Alley Abortion Techniques

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The single-minded feminist paranoia regarding legalized abortion knows no bounds. Fearing an imminent reversal of Roe v. Wade, Medical Students for Choice, a national non-profit organization, is training the next generation of medical students in rudimentary abortion techniques. The UK’s Guardian reports:

The medical student was attempting, for the very first time, the rudiments of performing an abortion.

As she inexpertly brought the pincers together on the soft flesh, you might have expected a little yelp of pain from the patient.

There was silence. Not because the “patient” was brave, but because it was a papaya.

Mangold was at a special workshop organized by a not-for-profit group whose mission is to make up for the lack of instruction on contraception and abortion at many US medical programs. But it doubled as a lesson in using a no-frills kit of basic instruments that, in the event of the practice becoming illegal in the US, could be stashed and carried discreetly, to perform covert abortions safely.

And it so happens that the papaya, with its little fruity neck and a central cavity full of seeds and pulp, is a serviceable approximation of a woman’s cervix and womb for the purposes of basic initiation for a medic in training.

The medical students interviewed expressed a willingness to lose their medical licenses if they felt compelled to perform an illegal abortion.

Marta Rowh had flown in from Bend, Oregon, to help teach two “papaya workshops” as part of an MSFC conference that had drawn 450 med students from the US and Canada. She’s the only abortion provider for two-thirds of her state. Before demonstrating the standard manual technique used in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, she arrayed some mostly disposable tools.

“These are designed to be used in a hut in rural Zambia with no electricity if necessary,” she said. There was a plastic speculum to hold open the vagina, a metal tenaculum, or pincers, to grip the cervix, steadying the opening to the uterus, a plastic rod for dilation, and a large, plastic syringe-type device used for the common practice of manual vacuum aspiration (MVA). She squeezed two buttons on the device to seal it, then pulled back the plunger, making a vacuum in the cylinder, then attached a tube from a sterile packet.

The students were transfixed. Apart from an encounter with a cadaver, their medical training had been all lecture halls so far.

Rowh put the tube inside the papaya and moved it carefully around to simulate dislodging fetal tissue and the related products of pregnancy from the walls of the womb.

With a sense of dramatic foreboding best left to suspense films or Lifetime TV dramas, Rowh noted that the required tools could be kept in an easily hidden go-bag and that abortions could be performed by cellphone light if necessary.

The abortion providers and advocates may be deadly serious when it comes to preserving abortion rights in the United States, but that doesn’t stop them from adding a little levity to the performance of a deadly procedure.

The students chattered away as exhausted papayas piled up in the garbage.

“There’s no point in adopting fake reverence,” said Chiavarini.

“In medicine there’s a tendency to dark humor. It’s intense, so you have to joke about it sometimes.”