As a family physician, I am horrified by the recent law passed in Texas, S.B.8. This new bill bans abortions after fetal cardiac activity can be detected (six weeks) which is well before most patients realize they are pregnant. As an obstetric provider, on several occasions I have seen patients for their initial OB visit well after the six-week mark, just to show how difficult it can be to detect pregnancy at that time. Because of this, the bill is a near-total abortion ban for the entire state.

I am gravely concerned for the people of Texas who no longer have access to a safe and medically necessary procedure. With almost no exceptions (rape or incest are not considered exceptions), people who need abortions will need to leave the state, an undue burden.

More than that, communities are now polarized against each other with a “bounty hunter” scheme of suing anyone involved in providing an abortion, whether a health care provider or even the taxi driver that drove the patient to a clinic. All this bill will do is further widen the massive disparities in our health care system, worsening health care for millions without actually eliminating abortion.

Time and time again, medical professionals have argued that criminalizing abortion doesn’t make abortions disappear, it just makes the procedures go “underground” and unsafe without regulation. Political agendas have no place in the exam room, or in the hands of extremist community members who aim to limit access to necessary health care.

 

Brendan Prast

Portland

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