Background: I got a tumblr just to see what it was like. My best friend from high school virtually-introduced me to new people who I’m now following. (No, I’m not telling you my tumblr URL, it’s attached to real me and we’re not going there.) Anyway, these new people seem to think that “abortion rights” is synonymous with “women’s health” and is a good thing.
Because everyone seems to think that this bill is about banning abortion in Texas (TEXAS, people, why the hell are you messing with Texas), I did some research. And I went to known left-leaning media sites for my information because I know that they’ll report the bare minimum of the bill and then emphasize its terrible results.
From Huffington Post:
The bill would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and force many clinics that perform the procedure to upgrade their facilities and be classified as ambulatory surgical centers. Also, doctors would be required to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles – a tall order in rural communities.
“If this passes, abortion would be virtually banned in the state of Texas, and many women could be forced to resort to dangerous and unsafe measures,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund and daughter of the late former Texas governor Ann Richards.
The bill would ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and tighten standards on abortion clinics and the doctors who work at them. Critics say it would shut most of the abortion clinics in Texas.
From the New York Times:
The bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, require abortion clinics to meet the same standards that hospital-style surgical centers do, and mandate that a doctor who performs abortions have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
NPR, while it glossed all of those facts completely and focused solely on the “banned after 20 weeks of pregnancy,” did give me the name of the bill: SB 5. So I looked that up, too.
This is the full text of the bill which was discussed. And its amendments are here. I’m going to try to sift through the legalese and summarize the bill article by article.
Section 1: Requirements of a Physician
-Physician must have admitting privileges at a hospital with OB/GYN facilities within 30 miles of the clinic
-Physician must provide a way to contact him in the event of complications and give the woman the name, address, and phone number of the hospital nearest to her, also in the event of complications
Section 2: On Abortions After 20 Weeks
-Physicians may not induce/perform abortions at or after 20 weeks post-fertilization
-Physicians must determine gestational age of unborn child before performing/inducing abortion
-Exceptions: immediate medical emergencies threatening the life of the mother
Section 3: On Abortion-Inducing Drugs
-Abortion-inducing drugs may only be administered/prescribed by a physician
-If the physician is administering the drug, both physician and patient must be present at a registered clinic
-If the patient is administering the drug, she must follow the directions
-None of this applies to actual medical problems (ectopic pregnancy, extraction of miscarriage, pre-existing medical conditions in the mother which require treatment)
-Physician must give patient the label of the drug (with all its facts, dosage, warnings, etc)
-Physician must do a follow-up with the patient post-administration/use of the drug within 14 days to confirm the abortion and assess the bleeding
-Physician must show reasonable effort in ensuring the patient makes the follow-up appointment
-If the patient has a severe adverse effect in response to the drug and physician knows, physician must report it to MedWatch
Section 4: Health and Safety Code [effective September 1, 2014]
-Abortion clinics must meet standards of ambulatory surgical centers
Section 5: Health and Safety Code
-Lists requirements of physician’s report
Section 6: Occupations Code
-Lists all the ways a physician can have his license revoked
Section 7: Occupations Code
-(I’m not sure. Possibly just embellishes the ramifications of Section 6.)
-repeals a part of the Health and Safety Code which wasn’t present in either document found
-Clarification and ass-covering
-Mention of precedent, more legalese
Sections 11 and 12:
And now we read this summary. Let’s see… bans abortions after 20 weeks. Yes, that would send “feminists” into a snit. The rest? Welcome to the medical world, abortion clinics. You wanted to be taken seriously? Now deal with the fact that you have to comply with medical standards. Your clinics must meet the standards of an outpatient surgery centre. Nothing earth-shattering there. Your physicians must have admitting privileges to an OB/GYN-equipped hospital within 30 miles–this is in case of complications. This also makes sense. Also in case of complications, patients know where their nearest hospital is and where/how to reach their physician. Unreasonable? This is par for the course. Physicians must do follow-ups. Also normal. If the drugs fail horrifically, they need to be reported–I would HOPE so. That’s the whole point of the FDA.
Oh, and the ban on late-term abortions is flexible:
If Subchapter C, Chapter 171, Health and Safety Code, as added by this Act, prohibiting abortions performed on an unborn child 20 or more weeks after fertilization is found by any court to be invalid or to impose an undue burden as applied to any person, group of persons, or circumstances, the prohibition shall apply to that person or group of persons or circumstances on the earliest date on which the subchapter can be constitutionally applied.
Being pro-life myself, I really don’t like the loose wording and enormous amount of loopholes here. However, if requiring the standards of abortion clinics to meet those of outpatient facilities will cause almost all of them to close, then clearly you’re doing something wrong in the first place. Get used to regular inspections. Get used to high sanitation. And get the hell over it because if you’re performing surgeries and expect your patients to walk out of there later that day, then these things are fully expected and exactly normal.