A cartoon that recently found its way to our office depicts a woman talking to her doctor. "Maria," the physician says. "The tests are positive."
"I'm pregnant?" she asks.
"Maria," counsels the physician, "the blue dog barks at the kite."
Only later does a friend explain to Maria that "blue dog" is a code word, referring to her diabetes, which might cause health problems in pregnancy.
The conversation is, of course, absurd. Or is it?
Under an administration ban, issued in 1988 and upheld by the Supreme Court in May, such a dilemma might well occur at family planning clinics that receive federal funding. Indeed, the "gag rule" prevents a physician from even mentioning the A word, regardless of the woman's personal or medical circumstance.