Struck off medical register

Dr Mark Schulberg, a late term abortionist in Victoria has been struck off the medical register after being found guilty of serious misconduct for prescribing addictive drugs inappropriately.

Whilst this decision is welcome, there are a number of factors surrounding the history of this abortionist that should concern us all, as this is not the first time Schulberg has faced allegations of serious misconduct.  

In 2009 he was found guilty of unprofessional conduct when he failed to get informed consent to undertake an abortion on an intellectually disabled woman who had been raped, impregnated, and brought in for an abortion by her father.[1]   The Board saw fit to provide Schulberg with a ‘reprimand’ for this offence and send him back to perform more abortions.  

In 2011, a non-English speaking 40yr old woman almost died after a late term abortion by Schulberg.   Whilst the story reported [2]about this case reads like a horror story…  children of the mother call the clinic and call a hospital, they race to a hospital to borrow a wheelchair because their mother can’t walk, and they return to find abortion clinic staff bundling their mother into the back of a car.  She is then taken to the abortion clinic, semi-conscious; her unborn child aborted without any anaesthetic given, and only then was an ambulance called.   This woman spent 3 weeks battling for her life in intensive care.   Both the abortionist and the nursing staff then engaged in blaming the patient, fabricating allegations that the woman must have been a drug addict, allegations both she and her family vehemently denied.

In the midst of the above investigation, the Medical Board was also called to investigate the unexpected death[3] of a 42yr old woman after undergoing an abortion by Schulberg.

Then in 2012 a class action[4] by a group of 50 women was launched against Schulberg, anaesthetist, James Peters, and the Croydon clinic after Peters deliberately infected dozens of women with Hepatitis C during late term abortion procedures.   Schulberg was responsible for the supervision of Peters.   Whilst Peters was charged, convicted and sentenced to 14 years in prison[5], Schulberg remained in practise.

Julia Medew, in The Age has introduced her article[6] about Schulberg’s latest misconduct by saying, ‘Australian women seeking late term abortions may be left helpless after a prominent abortion specialist was struck off the medical register’

I wonder how much more ‘helpless’ a woman can be if she is intellectually disabled and raped by her father?   Perhaps an unconscious woman whose children are desperately trying to get her help could be truly considered helpless?   How about the more than 50 women, anaesthetised and infected with a serious disease? 

It is outrageous that such a claim be made in the face of the history of this abortionist.   Women everywhere should be outraged that this man was ever let loose after the first serious allegation against him.   Yet what we are seeing is that yet again, ideology trumps true care and concern for women.  We must have abortion at any cost: even the cost of women’s lives.

Whilst no accusations such as those brought against Kermit Gosnell in the USA recently are intended or implied, the parallels to many of the atrocious conditions and practises that appear to be overlooked in that country must be made.   Gosnell was also in the sights of professional boards for his conduct over many years, however ultimately only prosecuted and the horrific nature of his crimes discovered after a drug bust. 

In my recent ABC National radio interview[7] in which Leslie Cannold also contributed, Cannold attempted to use the Gosnell case to advance her abortion cause dismissing Gosnell as a ‘backyard abortionist’ and irrelevant to Australia.   Gosnell was a licensed doctor who had performed legal abortions for many years.    

Cannold further dismissed that case by referring to it as having the ‘yuck’ factor, suggesting this is what makes it distasteful trivialising the fact that late term abortion is, to the majority of the public, more than just a little ‘distasteful’. 

Radical abortion advocacy groups such as Campaign for Women’s Reproductive Rights, continue to try to convince the public that women can only fully participate in the social and professional worlds as long as they have access to free abortion on demand at any gestation[8].   These groups further perpetuate the lies that late term abortions only occur in the most serious of medical and life and death situations, ignoring the fact that the majority of late term abortions are undertaken for psychosocial reasons, not medical reasons.   In 2009, of 410 post 20wk abortions, 214 were undertaken for psychosocial reasons[9]

With the current push to remove abortion from the criminal code in Tasmania, it is timely that the public were more informed about what abortion advocates will accept as good practise in abortion.   The Tasmanian Bill itself has been informed by false and misleading information, including out of date research and manipulative scare tactics about fears of prosecution. [10]

One statement in support of the Tasmanian Bill, put forward by several women’s groups says,

Women are prevented from choosing termination of pregnancy themselves and must depend on the opinions of medical practitioners to make that choice for them a situation that does not exist for any other medical procedures’[11]

This is another example of abortion advocates bending the truth in order to promote an ideology.  People don’t have a ‘right’ to demand any medical or surgical procedure of doctors and doctors are not compelled to act on every request of a patient.  In no other area of medicine are doctors forced to act against their own moral conscience, as is demanded of doctors in Victoria, and proposed of doctors in Tasmania.

 

If abortion moves from a legal framework to a health framework, abortion advocates will have to accept that this involves processes of consultation, information provision, including the disclosure of all risks, and the discussion of alternatives, yet the proposed Bill offers none of these inclusions.  In fact, the same abortion advocates quoted above propose that ‘no mandatory information (should be) required to achieve informed consent’, completely in opposition to good medical care and practise in any other area. 

 

Radical ideology has no place in public policy, education or informed consent, and while those things continue to be driven by ‘abortion at any cost’ ideology, the cost to women and our communities continues to grow.  

If the public is truly concerned about choice for women, we need to be concerned about the options being presented to women.  If the choice is between losing a job or continuing a pregnancy, being told to leave school or continue a pregnancy, having family or partner support withdrawn or continuing a pregnancy, or being rushed or ill-informed[12] we have to question whether that is genuine choice, or whether that is coercion.  If women are having abortions they don’t truly want or choose, are we doing our best?

If in fact women will not be able to access late term abortions without Schulberg, hopefully we will now be forced to do what we should have been doing all along, creating positive support and solutions for women facing emotional, social, and economic crises during such a vulnerable time.  

Women deserve better than a surgical solution to their psychosocial problems. 



[1] http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/sinodisp/au/cases/vic/VMPB/2009/6.html?stem=0&synonyms=0&query=Schulberg

[2] http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/woman-tells-of-late-abortion-horror-20111022-1mdvv.html

[3] http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/woman-dies-after-abortion-clinic-visit-20111220-1p414.html

[4] http://www.slatergordon.com.au/media/news-media-releases/vic-act-sa-tas-nt/Women-launch-class-action-against-doctor-clinic-and-medical-agency

[5] http://www.news.com.au/national-news/victoria/doctor-who-infected-women-with-hepatitis-c-jailed-for-14-years/story-fndo4cq1-1226592204828

[6] http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/doctor-struck-off-medical-register-20130524-2k6x4.html

[7] http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/religionandethicsreport/a-renewed-abortion-war-in-the-us-and-australia/4706748

[8] https://www.facebook.com/CWRRMelbourne?fref=ts

 [9] http://realchoices.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/1202025_CCOPMM_AR_2009_WEB.pdf

[11] http://www.womenslegaltas.org.au/uploads/attachments/End_the_Confusion.pdf

[12] http://www.iregretmyabortion.org.au

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