Pat Robertson: People who are pro-choice want "a full abortion for anybody, any time, anywhere"

But what is a "full abortion," anyway?

Published July 16, 2014 5:10PM (EDT)

Pat Robertson
Pat Robertson

I haven't heard much about Pat Robertson in a while, so I was beginning to wonder if he was doing all right. Turns out, he's alive and well and still hosting "The 700 Club." He is also still really, really ignorant and sharing his bad ideas with others. On Wednesday, Robertson expressed concern that people performing abortions in the United States don't have medical training, which is a weird thing because in order to perform abortions in the United States you need to have medical training.

“These clinics should be licensed. The people performing these procedures should be skilled medical technicians," Robertson said. "This is carving up the most intimate part of a woman. And botched abortions lead to death.

“This business about ‘safe abortion’ is just nonsense," he continued. "They’re not talking about safe abortion, they’re talking about a full abortion for anybody, any time, anywhere, and the American people don’t want that.”

Now I am not sure what a "full abortion" is, but anything less seems medically unsound. But let's move on to Pat's concerns about licenses and medical training, because he seems very alarmed and the information about the safety of abortion, abortion clinics and the medical professionals performing abortions is readily available and all really positive. Pat will be relieved to know that doctors (and in some states, nurse practitioners and midwives) who perform abortions have lots of medical training. The physician assistants and nurses who assist in abortion care also have lots of medical training. This is why abortion is so safe. Safer than childbirth, even. Safer than cosmetic surgery and lots of other elective surgeries. In fact, abortion is so safe that even antiabortion activists occasionally concede the point.

And even though state legislatures and the antiabortion movement are trying to make getting a clinic license impossible and limit the training available to doctors and other medical professionals who want to include abortion care in their medical practice, people are fighting incredibly hard to ensure that clinics can stay open and training is robust and available.

People in states like Texas and Mississippi are fighting hard to keep their clinics open after their lawmakers imposed medically unnecessary and dangerous provisions to deny clinics licenses. Organizations like Medical Students for Choice are fighting hard to ensure that reproductive healthcare is a standard part of every student's medical education and training.

And here's a little something from the National Abortion Federation, on expanding training to medical professionals like nurse practitioners and others to ensure safe abortion care is available across the country:

The largest, most influential and well-respected medical and health policy organizations in the United States have issued statements in support of the inclusion of [certified nurse midwives], [nurse practitioners], and [physician assistants] in abortion care. In 1994, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists stated, "that to address the shortage of health care providers who provide abortions, the College encourages programs to train physicians and other licensed health care professionals to provide abortion services in collaborative settings."

Additionally, the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the American College of Nurse-Midwives, the American Medical Women's Association, the American Public Health Association, the Association of Physician Assistants in Obstetrics and Gynecology, the International Confederation of Midwives, the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health, and Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health support the participation of these three professional groups in abortion care provision. In order to address the lack of access to abortion care and to protect the health and well-being of women of reproductive age, it is essential to increase the number of abortion providers.

Finding this information is so simple, which is why it's so surprising that right-wing ideologues like Robertson and the anti-choice lawmakers who seem to be running the show when it comes to regulating abortion services can't seem to find it. Or maybe they can find it and they don't actually care about women's health and there's something far more cynical driving them to shutter clinics and deny people their constitutional rights? Hard to say!

Video of Pat below:

h/t Right Wing Watch

By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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