Monday, March 13, 2006

Project Rachel Director Testifies before Washington State Pharmacy Board


Testimony before the Board of Pharmacy, Kent WA

My name is Valerie Jacobs. I am a master’s level therapist. For the past twelve years I have counseled hundreds of women to help them resolve a variety of emotional and psychological stress symptoms related to abortion ranging from anxiety and depression to nightmares, flashbacks and suicidality.

The Northwest Women’s Law Center, together with certain identified family planning providers purport to represent the uniform voice of women of Washington for the purpose of ensuring ethical conduct by professionals to protect women’s health and safety.

I am here to speak for those women whose voices Northwest Women’s Law Center and certain family planning providers refuse to recognize and whose health and safety has been compromised by their own unethical professional conduct.

Planned Parenthood and other family planning providers figure regularly in women’s stories of abortion trauma. Most prominently described are failure to take time to adequately assess well-documented risk factors predicting post-abortion psychological trauma, failure to take time to provide adequate information, and failure to take time to proactively provide support for alternative choices.

Each of these failures represents a failure to take sufficient time with women who are experiencing a state of crisis and are in conflict about their choices. A woman’s best interests are served by calming the sense of crisis and slowing down her decision-making process, taking time to adequately inform and proactively support alternative choices. Instead, women report that their clinic experience engendered a sense of urgency to make a choice which caused them lifelong negative health consequences.

*[I was contacted by such a young woman at the beginning of March. Planned Parenthood confirmed her pregnancy on a Tuesday afternoon, scheduling an abortion before the end of her brief visit. The following Thursday the pregnancy was terminated;
by evening the young woman was depressed to the point of suicidal ideation. This story has been reported to me in hundreds of variations.]

The language of Northwest Women’s Law Center attempts to create a sense of crisis and urgency where there is none. There is no crisis of availability or access either to abortion or contraception. To the contrary, women say to me, “Why was it so easy?” I would urge the Board to make a calm and measured judgment to uphold the right of pharmacists to choose according to their consciences in this matter.

*This paragraph was omitted from testimony due to pressure to hold to a two-minute time allotment.

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