An Operation Rescue Special Report By Cheryl Sullenger
San Francisco, CA — A study that was the basis for a new California law, which allows minimally-trained nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and physician’s assistants to conduct surgical aspiration abortions, grossly misrepresented the safety of the surgical abortions done by non-physicians.
The 2013 study titled “Safety of Aspiration Abortion Performed by Nurse Practitioners, Certified Nurse Midwives, and Physician Assistants Under a California Legal Waiver” was done by the University of California San Francisco, home of the radical Ryan Residency Abortion Training Program at the cost of nearly $4 million, the majority of which appears to have been provided by a foundation associated with the family of billionaire abortion-supporter Warren Buffet.
“This study, which encouraged the lowering of abortion standards in California, relied more on propaganda than science,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. “This is about creating conditions where more abortions can take place at the expense of women’s health to accomplish a radical leftist agenda that supports reducing the population through abortion for environmental reasons.”
The study was funded by four foundations that shared radical environmental and population control agendas:
• John Merck Fund, based in Boston, Massachusetts, is focused on radical environmentalism with an interest in “treating” Down syndrome, which often means aborting babies diagnosed with it. It contributed $150,000.
• The Educational Foundation of America, based in Fairfield, Connecticut, is another radical environmentalist funder who supports “sustainable population” through abortion. It contributed $140,000.
• David & Lucile Packard Foundation is run from the “Green Headquarters” in Los Altos, California. They are focused on funding environmental efforts as well as expanding abortion services in South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the United States. It contributed $153,000.
• Susan Thompson Buffet Foundation, of Omaha, Nebraska, is named for Warren Buffet’s wife. Its agenda has been focused on training new abortionists and provides primary financial support for the Ryan Residency Abortion Training Program. It contributed a whopping $3.5 million.
This study was initiated for the purpose of providing a foundation for the passage of planned legislation to liberalize California abortion laws by allowing non-physicians to conduct abortions.
However, the study actually found that abortions done by non-physicians were twice as likely to have complications as those done by licensed physicians. Nevertheless, the study’s authors concluded that “the difference between the 2 groups of providers is not clinically significant.”
“It is clear that the study started out to prove that pretty much anyone could do abortions. Their results were foregone conclusions. When the data actually showed that there was an increased danger to women, they twisted their actual findings to support the point they set out to prove,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “The truth is that the new law allowing non-physicians to conduct abortions was based on misinformation and propaganda.”
In this study, a total of 11,487 surgical aspiration abortions were completed between August 2007 and August 2011.
Participants had to be at least 16 years of age and less than 14 weeks pregnant.
However, 3,446 women, representing 30% of study participants, did not participate in after-abortion follow-up, leaving these outcomes in doubt.
Of the 8,041 remaining abortions that could actually be used in the study, approximately half were done by licensed physicians and the other half done by Nurse Practitioners, Certified Nurse Midwives, and Physicians Assistants.
The study notes that the most common complication during the study was incomplete abortions. If left untreated, incomplete abortions can result in hemorrhaging or serious, life-threatening infections.
While the researchers recorded nine incomplete abortions done by physicians over the life of the study, 24 incomplete abortions were done by the newly-trained non-physicians.
That means women were 2.7 times more likely to suffer an incomplete abortion with a non-physician than with a licensed physician.
Overall, excluding the 30% of participants that did not participate in follow-up, 1 in 40 abortions done by non-physicians resulted in complications ranging from “minor” problems, such as incomplete abortion (which may not seem so minor to the woman experiencing it), to major complications such as perforated uteri requiring emergency hospitalization.
In comparison, physician abortion complications occurred in about 1 in 77 abortions.
While the UCSF study continually downplayed the dangers of surgical abortions in the hands of non-physicians, it contained a startling admission: “Because NPs, CNMs, and PAs who are newly trained in aspiration abortion have less experience, we expect to find a statistically significant higher rate of complications among this group than among more experienced physicians.”
In fact, the study found that non-physicians that were newly trained to do abortions were 1.92 to 2.12 times as likely of causing abortion complications as licensed physicians with an average experience of 14 years.
“While the reported odds ratios comparing complication rates from procedures performed by NPs, CNMs, and PAs with those from procedures performed by physicians were statistically significant, these results should be interpreted cautiously,” the study noted, minimizing this significant finding that contradicted their pre-planned conclusions.
“Cautiously” Equals “Distorted”
The study used a “noninferiority” study design. This design is used when one hopes to determine whether the effects of a new treatment are not worse than clinically acceptable standards.
In this case, the researchers used an overall standard abortion complication rate between 1.2 and 4.4%, which was determined by a panel of “researchers and clinicians” prior to the beginning of the study. They hypothesized that if their results fell within these parameters, it would validate their presupposition that surgical aspiration abortions done by non-physicians are “safe.”
Researchers extrapolated their results over the entire 11,487 participants, even though they had no idea what happened to 30% of the women.
The authors dismissed the significance of the doubled complication rate for non-physician abortions since it fell within their predicted rate of complications. Since twice the complications were expected, it was determined that it was safe to allow non-physicians to do abortions.
Incredulously, the UCSF researchers were able to conclude, “Abortion complications were clinically equivalent between newly trained NPs, CNMs, and PAs and physicians, supporting the adoption of policies to allow these providers to perform early aspirations and expand access to abortion care.” [Emphasis added.]
Certainly, it was their plan all along to extend abortions to non-physicians and therefore expand abortion numbers – and profits – under the guise of “access.” No matter what the actual results of this study were, the researchers were determined to spin the math in their favor in order to advance their radical population control agenda.
“While those involved in this study want everyone to believe that non-physician abortions are safe, their own number prove that they are much more dangerous. Doubling the risk of complications certainly is not improving women’s health by any means, but it may be increasing profits for the primary benefactor of this study: Planned Parenthood,” said Newman.
There were several other issues with the way the study was conducted.
None of the 2,320 abortions done by the non-physicians during their 6-day training were included in the study results, leaving one to wonder how many of these women suffered serious injury while being used as guinea pigs to train unqualified “surgeons.”
Another problem with the study included the fact that the study was non-randomized, which is an inferior study model compared to a randomized study.
Also problematic was the study’s low follow-up rate of only 70%, which primarily depended on women filling out and returning a follow-up survey. This leaves a full 30% of abortion outcomes unknown.
“It is our experience that many women who suffer through bad abortion experiences never want to see the abortionist again,” said Newman.
This phenomenon could have contributed to the high follow-up failure and implies that the complication rates could be actually much higher than reported.
The abortions were done under a waiver provided by the State of California that allowed non-physicians to do abortions for the purpose of this study.
The non-physicians received training for 6 days and conducted an average of 43 abortions, after which they were determined to be “competent” to conduct abortions without supervision.
In all, 38 out of 40 non-physician participants were considered “competent” after the abortion surgery crash course.
“Six days of surgical abortion training is nothing. It’s a joke,” said Newman. “This study recommended that the California legislature approve unqualified, very inexperienced people to conduct surgical abortions that will have twice the complication rate as abortions done by licensed physicians. It really shows how a radical abortion agenda is driving the abortion train in California right over the health concerns of women.”
Planned Parenthood Benefits
The liberalization of abortion standards has most benefited Planned Parenthood since a significant number of the newly minted non-physician abortionists are employed by them.
Seeing an opportunity to profit financially, Planned Parenthood abortionists were heavily involved in the UCSF study since their organization would be the primary benefactor of the new law that would result from it. Three who were involved in the study as “partner organization principal investigators” were:
• Mary Gatter, President of Planned Parenthood’s Medical Directors’ Council and Medical Director of Planned Parenthood’s Pasadena abortion clinic.
• Katherine Sheehan, Medical Director, Planned Parenthood Pacific Southwest, San Diego, CA.
• Dick Fischer, Associate Medical Director and Physician Director of Abortion Services, Planned Parenthood Mar Monte, San Jose, CA.
Ironically, Gatter and Fischer wrote letters in 2013 supporting exemptions for abortion clinics from meeting certain health and safety standards, which reinforces another Planned Parenthood goal to reduce patient care standards in order to avoid paying for the cost of compliance with the accepted standard of care.
Gatter and Sheehan appeared in undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress discussing the sale of aborted baby body parts, a practice that also financially benefitted Planned Parenthood. Gatter was heard negotiating for top dollar in exchange for fetal parts because she wanted to “buy a Lamborghini.”
At least one of the study’s trainers included late-term abortionist Susan Robinson, who splits her time between Planned Parenthood in California and the largest late-term abortion facility in the U.S., Southwestern Women’s Options in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She told the LA Times that she hoped that in addition to expanding abortion services, the non-physician abortionists would help “normalize” abortion, something abortionists erroneously thought would be accomplished with the Roe v. Wade decision decriminalizing abortion.
“Decriminalization never took away the stigma inherently associated with the brutality of abortion, and neither will liberalization. Abortion isn’t normal and it never will be, no matter what kind of propaganda and disinformation is put out there,” said Newman.
Another benefit to Planned Parenthood of California’s new law was reported the same LA Times article. It noted that with full-time non-physician abortionists on staff, several Planned Parenthood facilities no longer have an “abortion day,” which would draw pro-life protesters and sidewalk counselors. Now, they can do abortions every day, confounding efforts by pro-lifers to dissuade women from their abortion decisions.
That, of course, means more abortion profits to bolster their bottom-line.
“Fruit from the Poisoned Tree”
California’s law that allows certain non-physicians to conduct surgical aspiration abortions was based on a study that presented a distortion of facts to suit a radical environmental/population control agenda. In essence, it is corrupt “fruit from the poisoned tree.”
“Placing abortions in the hands of non-physicians is a way to expand abortion and abortion profits for Planned Parenthood,” said Newman. “They can train nurses or whomever for six days and poof — they suddenly have a new abortionist at a fraction of the cost of a licensed physician who had to complete medical school, an internship, and residency in order to attain competency. And with the newly minted abortionist, they can now expand their abortion days, and thus their profits.”
Newman warned that the distorted study results must be exposed and efforts to expand California’s dangerous new abortion liberalization law to other states must be vigorously opposed.
“Women should be very, very concerned about Planned Parenthood’s latest corner-cutting strategy that lowers the standard of care for women to dangerous levels while doubling the risks,” said Newman. “Walking into a California abortion clinic with a non-physician abortionist on board is like playing a game of Russian Roulette with 1 in 40 odds. I wouldn’t take that bet.”