Political Science 1
11 March 2015
Choose Your Right
In the fortieth anniversary of the decision, Roe v. Wade, it is still as hot a topic as ever and it seems no closer to being extinguished today than it was forty years ago. Today though, as the nation continues to be sharply divided on the topic of abortion, Texas Governor Rick Perry and attorney general Greg Abbott have thrust their state out of the frying pan and into the woman’s rights fire with the act of Texas House Bill Number two. An act that proponents claim makes abortion less risky by requiring more stringent attachments between clinics, physicians, and hospitals. And opponents like Planned Parenthood claim that it drastically reduces available services to woman in need by adding nonsensical regulations that do nothing to increase the safety and effectiveness of the procedures.
Planned Parenthood has provided a multitude of claims as to the detriment of House Bill number two. As covered in the court filing document in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division, Civil Action, Case number 1:13-cv-862, Planned Parenthood et al., v. Gregory Abbott et al., I will begin by discussing what the potential harms are for woman, their healthcare providers, as well as their families. The admitting privilege requirement that forces doctors to be able to admit patients to a hospital within thirty miles of any clinic causes a number of burdens. First, the regulations, contracts between doctors and hospitals, and availability of close proximity facilities varies greatly throughout the state. In some rural areas these requirements are not viable at all. Secondly, the stipulations put on woman’s health care clinics are above and beyond what are required for equal type facilities, such as any other ambulatory surgical center providing similar out patient type services. Third, woman’s health clinics provide other beneficial services like contraception, counseling, and medication, which are no longer available if the establishment cannot stay open. Fourth, abortion clinics are already subject to safety and procedures that include mandatory counseling, ultrasound, a twenty four hour waiting period before an abortion, and a physician’s description of the ultrasound image. Fifth, these clinics are subject to all of the same regulations that govern other medical facilities such as infection control, personnel and doctor qualifications, emergency procedures, records, reports, and unannounced inspections by the state of Texas Health Services a minimum of once annually. Sixth, the implementation of these new regulations is expected to have the following affect according to the state court document Planned Parenthood v. Abbott, “…one third of the state’s approximately thirty six licensed facilities where abortions are performed will stop providing those services”(16). Furthermore, “It will cause the sole abortion facilities in Lubbock, Waco, Killeen, Harlingen, McAllen to cease providing abortion services in those cities and forcing woman-especially those in west Texas-to travel enormous distances in order to access abortion services, which will prevent some woman from obtaining an abortion”(16). For this reason patients will be forced to travel further, some more than a hundred miles to receive care. There will be overcrowding in clinics that stay open. There will be a shortage of doctors available to perform services because of displacement by not being able to travel far away from home to work. Seventh, by forcing doctors to seek acceptance from hospitals to have patient admission privilege, it leaves the approval up to the private establishment to decide the fate of patient care. Eighth, the Bill so strictly enforces restrictions on services that it will make medicinal abortion less available. These types of abortions are considered much safer that surgical abortions, therefor increasing the more dangerous