Mailbag: Providing abortions is not a service

I was disappointed to see the letters in your mailbag section all held the same opinion — that Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian was wrong to ban abortions at its facility.

I hope you will publish other opinions as well about this matter. I, for one, applaud Hoag for its decision. If abortion supporters are worried about where they or their daughters can get their next abortion, they need only look in the yellow pages for any number of providers.

I must say that the fact that one writer called abortion “a service” is unconscionable. The suction and dismemberment of an unborn human being forcibly torn from its mother’s womb is anything but a service.

Karen Fisher

Huntington Beach


Abortion ban an outrage

I find Hoag hospital's decision to ban abortions an outrage.

This is clearly a decision that comes from the affiliation with St. Joseph. Hoag's attempt to mislead the community by stating otherwise is upsetting and calls into question other statements from the board.

Hoag should also clarify to the community what other religious-based decisions it is making when it comes to community healthcare.

Stephanie Campbell

Costa Mesa


Use San Onofre space for eco power

Whether you were for or against the proposed Poseidon Resources Corp. desalination plant, now is the time for some creative and collective thinking.

With the scuttling of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, we have the potential for a new venture instead of a desalination plant, which is in constant limbo, to help offset the energy loss from the nuclear closure.

Why not utilize that real estate for a wind and or solar component to the existing structure that is eco-friendly and would not put us in the financial risk that Poseidon has shown in previous ventures. We would get green technology and jobs.

Wind and solar are proven, and most of the setbacks cost-wise on new projects are based on establishing the infrastructure for transmission, which the site has. From a risk-management standpoint, this a lot more feasible than the unproven venture that Poseidon is trying to push on the taxpayers.

Drew Kovacs

Huntington Beach


Questions about desalination plant

What percentage of the stock of the proposed desalination plant will be owned by Huntington Beach?

What percentage of the stock of the proposed desalination plant will be owned by members of the Huntington Beach City Council?

What percentage of the stock of desalination plants is owned by the communities in which they are located?

Will Huntington Beach have first rights to the purchase of the drinking water that will be generated by the proposed desalination plant?

Phillip I. Good

Huntington Beach


Fire rings are not the only Newport pollutant

I read with great interest your articles on the wood-burning fire pits on our beaches. I wonder what the South Coast Air Quality Management District would have to say about the spent carbon jet fuel that rains on my house and the rest of Newport Beach?

When I moved here in 1986, it came down in 1-millemeter flakes. Now, with the newer jet engines, it comes down in dust-size particles that can be inhaled 15 hours a day. I'd prefer an evening of wood smoke.

Bruce Johnston

Newport Beach


As doctors, we oppose abortion ban

Re. "Commentary: Hoag is committed to women's health," (May 24):

As obstetricians/gynecologists who admit patients to Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, we are compelled to respond to the commentary by Robert Braithwaite, Hoag chief executive, and Gary McKitterick, chairman of the Hoag Board of Directors.

Their article discussed women's healthcare and the affiliation between Hoag and St. Joseph Health. St. Joseph Health is a Catholic health system that bans many women's healthcare services, including contraception, sterilization, most infertility treatments and abortion.

As soon as we became aware of the possible affiliation between Hoag and St. Joseph Health last fall, we questioned Hoag administration about the potential impact on women's healthcare services, abortion in particular. We were repeatedly assured that there would be no change in these services at Hoag. We were, therefore, shocked and dismayed to learn that Hoag was banning abortions, effective May 1.

Three points in their commentary demand our response. First, their conclusion that elective abortions at Hoag are unsafe. Most elective abortions are safely performed outside of hospitals, in outpatient facilities. If an elective abortion is done in a hospital, it is because the patient has some complicating factor, such as an underlying health condition, that may require the nursing care, monitoring and equipment that is only available in a hospital. Hoag is well equipped to handle any potential difficulties or complications that might occur during and after such a procedure, since there is an obstetrician present in the hospital at all times, and specialists in complications of pregnancy as well as intensive-care units are readily available.

To claim that abortions are not safely done at Hoag because we perform fewer than 100 per year is not only incorrect (as attested to by the physicians doing them, the number is well over 100, and those of us who review obstetrical complications at Hoag know that they are exceedingly rare), it also sets an arbitrary standard not met by many other procedures done at Hoag, such as Gamma knife brain surgery or robotic uterine fibroid surgery. Will Hoag be discontinuing those procedures too?

The second point that we wish to refute is that patients undergoing elective abortion at Hoag do not receive, as the writers said in their commentary, the "full complement of services" required, including "a comprehensive range of education and support, such as pre- and post- procedure support services, counseling and a full array of reproductive family planning services."

Apparently Braithwaite and McKitterick are not familiar with what obstetricians/gynecologists do outside of the confines of the hospital. These women are our patients, and we care for them before they are admitted to a hospital and after they are discharged. We are experts in providing the "full array of reproductive family planning services," which the writers refer as lacking at Hoag.

While Braithwaite and McKitterick like to tell us all how the Hoag-St. Joseph affiliation will improve the efficiency of and fill gaps in healthcare in Orange County, the banning of elective abortions at Hoag does just the opposite. Instead of a woman being cared for by her own doctor during an emotionally traumatizing period, Hoag will step into the patient-doctor relationship and require that the patient go elsewhere for care, creating unnecessary delay and potentially added cost and worry for the patient.

This is not only inhumane and inefficient — it is bad medicine.

Finally, we are concerned about one more point made by Braithwaite and McKitterick. The California attorney general requires Hoag to continue providing all other women's health services for at least 10 years. What will happen after 10 years?

They state, "[T]he Hoag board will maintain decision-making authority of clinical services." We are not reassured.

Lisa Abaid, M.D.

Richard Agnew, M.D.

Rhonda Flora, M.D.

Brook Hargrove, M.D.

Jeffrey Illeck, M.D.

Patricia Korber, M.D.

Merle Robboy, M.D.

Beverly Sansone, M.D.

Hoag Hospital

Newport Beach

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