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Monday, 22 July 2013

Everything Is Bigger In Texas ... Even Abortion Restrictions


The state of Texas recently passed a new bill that enforces some of the most restrictive policies on abortion in the entire country. You may have heard about it, but as a refresher:

-Prevents women from having an abortion after 20 weeks of gestation.
-Raises the standards for abortion clinics to a the level of a surgical center.
-Doctors in abortion centers must have privileges to admit patients in a hospital that is at maximum 30 miles away.

There have been mixed feelings about the bill. Many, are outraged and feel that it is overstepping of boundaries as far as the state government. Supporters, including Texas governor Rick Perry feel that this bill is protecting "the culture of Texas". Regardless of  sides,  the bill is going to result in a lot of changes Texas that raise significant public health concerns. Only 5 abortion centers meet with current standards and all of these centers are located in metropolitan areas. Being such a large state, women in more rural areas may increasingly have problems reaching these centers, and may even need to consider going out of state.  In addition, these restrictions can cause problems for high risk pregnancies which are often diagnosed until around the 20 week mark. 88% of abortions take place during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Only about 1.5 take place after 21 weeks (Guttmacher Institute 2011).

Luckily, I was able to speak with a DUCOM student from Texas to get their options. In short, they said they were not surprised this bill was passed, since Texas is such a conservative state. As a future physician, they feel that regardless of your stance on abortion it is important to listen to your patient and help them to decide which reproductive options are best for them. They also brought up another good point. Almost half of all pregnancies are unplanned. Maybe that's the public health issue we should really be focusing on.

What are your thoughts?

Click here to read the New York times article

More info and statistics on unplanned pregancy and abortion:
Abortion Facts from the Guttmacher Institute
Unplanned Pregnancy Facts from the Guttmacher Institute


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