Friday, July 15, 2011

Irreconcilable (by res ipsa)

I finally got Blue Valentine from Netflix (and by the way, I am sticking with the DVD plan; not enough selection for streaming only, but I digress...).

This is one of those "Portrait of A Relationship's Disintegration" movies. I thought the acting was excellent, but the movie was a bummer, which wasn't where I wanted to go on the particular day I watched it (which in turn begs the question of why I rented it in the first place, but again, I digress...).

In the movie, the lead character decides to terminate a pregnancy. She goes to a clinic and before the procedure, a nurse asks her the following questions:

"At what age did you first have sexual intercourse"?
"How many sexual partners have you had"?
"Does the father know about this pregnancy"?
"Is the father supportive"?
"Is this your first pregnancy"?

I am curious about two things. First, are these questions typically asked before an abortion? I asked one woman I know who had the procedure and she said she was not asked such questions, but as we know, one does not a data set make. It must vary from state to state; that portion of the movie was set in Pennsylvania. More importantly, how are the answers to the first four questions medically relevant? I can see how the question about number of prior pregnancies would be, but the first four seem designed to shame the patient. It would not surprise me to know that such shaming happens (and by the way, if it's legislatively mandated, that would be a First Amendment violation), but I do want to know if its typical in reality, or if the movie was trying to shame the character.