Gov. Rick Perry signed Texas House Bill 2 into law July 18. The bill, which will go into effect Oct. 29, places restrictions on abortion clinics. These restrictions have the potential to increase women’s health and safety during this procedure. While we support the right to life, this law is a step in the right direction.
Abortion clinics in Texas will not be allowed to administer abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, which is four weeks shy of the standard set by Roe v. Wade. The reasoning behind this statement is that the unborn child could potentially feel pain after the 20-week mark of pregnancy. This is reasonable, as research supports this claim.
Medical abortions, which are drug-induced, will only be administered by a physician until the seventh week of pregnancy. As of right now, women can take the drug anywhere of their choosing, but under the new law, they will be required to take it in a clinic. Medical abortions after seven weeks of pregnancy will be illegal. Drug-induced abortions can lead to major bleeding and pain for the pregnant woman. It is logical and safer for the woman to be in a clinic during this time should she need medical attention.
This law increases women’s safety. Administering the drugs before the seventh week of pregnancy lowers the chance of complication for the woman because it is still early in the pregnancy.
Physicians performing abortions will be required to obtain admitting privileges. Admitting privileges are the right of a doctor to admit patients to a hospital or medical center that is within 30 miles of where the abortion would take place.
This acts as a security net for the pregnant woman seeking an abortion. Should a complication arise, a physician will be required by law to give his or her phone number, or the number of someone who works at the clinic, to the woman seeking an abortion so she can quickly reach them.
The physician will be required to give the woman the contact information for the hospital nearest the woman’s home. These are requirements that can only help ensure women have access to medical help if necessary.
Planned Parenthood filed a suit in federal court against these provisions. The case will be heard Oct. 21. Because of the admitting privileges requirement, Planned Parenthood will have to close many of the abortion-providing sections of its clinics. This would include the clinic in Waco. The providers claim the law is actually detrimental to the abortion process and to women’s health.
The only way it could be detrimental to women’s health is if we classify pregnancy as an illness. Generally, we do anything we can to stay well. If a pregnancy is an illness and abortion is the answer, then why not go to any lengths to get one? This reasoning in itself is flawed. Pregnancy is not an illness; it is an unborn child.
Planned Parenthood has said women may seek abortions in unsafe places should the law take effect and the abortion clinics close. The point is that a safe environment for abortions is provided under the new law and women can go there, regardless of the fact it may be a further drive.
In addition, some would argue that drug-induced abortions offer a private means of expressing a personal choice. However, just because the choice is personal does not mean the abortion itself should be private. If a woman is on her own during a drug-induced abortion and complications arise, she is at greater health risk than if she were in a clinic.
One of the original arguments for legalizing abortion was that it was in a controlled setting and safer than alternative means. If abortion was ruled to be illegal, then women would seek unsafe ways of terminating a pregnancy. Planned Parenthood seems to now be putting safety on the backburner and fighting for financial reasons.
One consideration that is important to discuss is that a significant amount of Planned Parenthood’s funding stems from its abortion services. Should the law take effect, it will lose some of that funding. According to its website, 71 percent of its clients receive abortion services. That number has the potential to drop with this new law. While Planned Parenthood is a business and what some would call a service, its workers should look at what is best for women’s health and safety. This law only improves them. Laws shouldn’t be geared toward keeping Planned Parenthood open, they should be geared towards protecting people. Under this law, abortion is still legal. All it does is attempt to make abortions safer for women. No one should argue against that.