It’s late and I’m tired. I worked out today, starting a new weight program that involves putting more emphasis on my back, with which I have had a less than amicable relationship for the better part of 25 years. Miss Pink and I also went out to eat at Cafe Hibiscus, this great restaurant owned by a German / Swiss couple (who came to Oregon by way of Hawai’i) … and immediately went to Salt & Straw for dessert.
Because after weinerschnitzel you need ice cream.
Oy, mein Magen …
Well, here I sit, wondering if I should write about the recent law passed by the Texas state legislature effectively closing all but five abortion clinics in the state and banning the procedure altogether after 20 weeks.
Obviously, from the title, you can conclude that I decided to bite.
House Bill 2 would require doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, allow abortions only in surgical centers, limit where and when women may take abortion-inducing pills and ban abortions after 20 weeks. Only five out of 42 existing abortion clinics meet the requirements to be a surgical center, and clinic owners say they can’t afford to upgrade or relocate.
Why 20 weeks? Well, that’s when Republicans and conservative Christians think fetuses can feel pain. Unfortunately, their reason for thinking so is based on a paper on fetal stimulus-response done at 20 weeks by a Dr. Kanwaljeet “Sunny” Anand … who then concluded that they must also feel pain at this point as well.
All of the medical evidence to date, however, shows that while there may be some degree of nerve development to create an automatic “reflex” response to stimulus, the capacity of a fetus to feel – as in experience – pain comes later. Any time period between 24-30 weeks have been estimated by researchers in the medical community.
Sen. Glen Hegar of Katy, the bill’s Republican author, argued that all abortions, including those induced with medications, should take place in an ambulatory surgical center in case of complications.
Sen. Bob Deuell, a Greenville Republican and a doctor, defended the bill, saying abortion clinics “had not maintained the proper standard of care.”
Wow. So, abortion clinics in Texas have had problems with complications and hadn’t been getting the quality of care they needed when they arose? Well, I can understand if there’s some concern about that. Let’s go see what state health officials have to say about this, because I’m sure they have their fingers on the pulse of this issue a little more than a politician … even if he is a doctor.
Is there significant evidence that women are in danger when they visit one of the dozens of clinics that will likely be unable to comply with the new, tighter standards?
No. At least not according to state health officials, who have testified at the ongoing legislative hearings on the proposed anti-abortion legislation and confirmed that there are “no current safety concerns with abortion clinics in the state.”
There were no reported deaths from abortion-related complications in 2011. There were no deaths in 2010 or 2009, either. In fact, just five abortion-related deaths have been reported in Texas since 2002. When taking into account the abortions performed in the state between 2002 and 2011, that’s a 0.0000801 percent mortality rate — not exactly a crisis of women’s health.
In other words, there’s no need for this new set of regulations. There’s no health concern. There’s no increased risk to a woman if she chooses to go to one of these facilities that, according to some, hadn’t “maintained the proper standard of care.” For the record, the Texas Medical Association, Texas Hospital Association and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology opposed the bill because they didn’t see the point. (Again … doctors who actually know the facts of the situation and don’t pander all day to people who think evolution is the work of the devil.) But that doesn’t matter anymore. It was passed by the legislature and signed by that vacuous moron of a governor before he finally goes out to pasture in about a year. Now, since most of them can’t afford the changes they’d have to make for compliance, the majority of abortion clinics in the state are forced to close their doors.
Because that’s going to solve the problem.
As with most abortion regulation done in the Bible Belt, it’s not done because anyone values “life” … it’s simply to keep abortion from happening at all, without thought to addressing root cause or considering what happens afterward. They can throw around pretty labels to make the law sound as if they’re doing something good and right – “fetal pain”, “women’s safety”, “zygotic personhood”, or what have you – but there’s no actual medical or scientific evidence behind it. All this is going to is make abortions harder to access, while not providing any support mechanism to those who will be forced to carry to term as a result.
I honestly might think a little more highly of Republicans if they valued actual, born life as much as fetal life. Instead, they ignore it as if it were their own bastard child from a one night stand they’d rather just forget about.