Today’s guest blogger is Dr. Jack Trigg

I’m afraid.

While there are many positive things happening in Birmingham and throughout our state, there are negative forces at work.

You have to wonder if our state politicians care about the lives of our citizens or if they just don’t know better.

As a physician I’m dismayed by recent actions of our state government with respect to matters of public health.

Alabama losing lives in rural areas

I entered The Medical College of Alabama (now UAB) in 1953 and was privileged to experience the marvelous development of medicine throughout our state, including a number of convenient small town hospitals enabled by the Hill Burton law.

Now there’s an epidemic of rural hospital closures.

Our state’s refusal to take several billion dollars from the federal government for Medicaid has contributed to the crisis for small rural hospitals. Other states that have accepted these funds have thrived.

The state’s larger cities (Birmingham, Montgomery, Dothan, Mobile, Decatur, Tuscaloosa, etc.) have excellent healthcare and service, UAB being the crown jewel.

But unfortunately many of the rural facilities fostered by the Hill Burton legislation have closed.

We are losing and will continue to lose Alabama lives as more and more rural hospitals close.

I’ve witnessed horror imposed on woman and children most people have never seen

Most people today don’t know what life was like before Roe v. Wade was passed in 1973. Many of today’s physicians don’t remember either.

Alabama’s regressive new abortion law risks thrusting us back into a pre-Roe v. Wade world, in which dangerous criminal abortions were commonplace, as were resulting infections, infertility, and deaths of thousands of women who sought and had illegal abortions.

After starting Medical School in 1953, I worked in clinical services beginning in 1954, later serving on the medical, surgical, obstetric, and pediatric wards, as well as others.

Before Roe v. Wade I was either witness to or responsible for the care of patients suffering from pelvic infections related to illegal abortions. Few survived, and many of those who did were completely infertile thereafter.

These were women with families, jobs, and loved ones who were now dead or impaired due to preventable infections!

This scene stopped immediately after Roe v. Wade became the law of the land.

My clinical experience with this lasted nearly 20 years (1954-1973).

I have not had such a patient since. This horrible illness disappeared with the passage of Roe v. Wade (which, was passed by a 7-2 margin by the U.S. Supreme Court.)

Now, maternal mortality due to illegal or unsafe abortion is almost zero per year, whereas before Roe v. Wade, it was at least 5,000 deaths per year, according to a 1966 study by the Guttmacher Institute.

Presently abortions are done in an operating room or delivery room by skilled personnel using sterile technique.

We need not return to a pre-‘Roe’ world in order to reduce abortion rates

On June 19, 2019, ran an insightful article by Ben Baxter who was born to his teenage mother in the “abortion landscape of the 1980’s”. Mr. Baxter quotes many statistics documenting marked decrease in the abortion rate in women across the board and reduction in the birth rate for the past several years.

This is largely the result of the effort of churches, Planned Parenthood, and many professional and volunteer organizations that advise women about birth control and contraception and do a huge service for our indigent community with regard to women’s health issues.

Pregnancy is a medical condition and should be managed by the patient and her doctor. It is not a crime. Mr. Baxter is an example of the satisfying results of gentle persuasion of a mother to have a normal delivery when she may have initially wanted to end the pregnancy.

In conclusion, I feel that Alabama is a great, progressive state with multiple opportunities for growth, education, professional satisfaction and recreation.

However, it behooves our government to avoid taking self-defeating actions like declining Medicare funds and passing extremely restrictive abortion legislation.

Dr. Jack Trigg is a lifetime resident of Birmingham who trained at UAB Medical Center and then served his country as a physician at the hospital at Eglin Air Force Base. He engaged in the private practice of medicine from 1964 until 1998.