Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Common myths about Texas abortion legislation

It bans abortions at 20 weeks.
It actually bans abortions at 20 weeks "post-fertilization age."  Pregnancy is measured from your last menstrual period, and fertilization technically takes place at week two of pregnancy. Therefore, this legislation bans pregnancy at 22 weeks of pregnancy. 

It bans all abortions at 20 weeks (post fertilization, aka 22 weeks of pregnancy).
SECTION1.(a)(4)(B) this Act does not apply to abortions that are necessary to avert the death or substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman or abortions that are performed on unborn children with severe fetal abnormalities.
It contains provision for the life of the mother and for "unborn children" (aka, fetuses) with severe fetal abnormalities. It doesn't contain any exceptions for rape or incest. So if an 11 year-old girl is raped by her step dad, (who won't get her adequate medical treatment as he is an abusive monster and all and also likely doesn't want to get caught), and maybe she wasn't menstruating yet (or not regularly)? Senator Donna Campbell thinks it is safer and more compassionate to deny her a medical abortion but instead force her to carry that child to term and deliver it, rendering that girl (a child herself, but post-born one, aka no longer a republican concern) 13 times more likely to die. (This bill doesn't contain a lot of things, like no provisions for doing anything proactively to reduce the unintended pregnancy rate, for example. But whatevs.)

So what you are telling me is, this "20 week" thing is more or less a red herring? A way for the Far Right to erode Roe v. Wade in a largely symbolic and likely expensive way. (via costly legislation, as this will likely be challenged in the court system).

Yup. Pretty much. Only .5% of abortions in Texas take place between 21-24 weeks. The majority of these are because of severe fetal abnormalities or life-threatening infections (usually because of premature rupture of membranes, like what happened to Savita Halappanavar, whom the Irish medical facility let die a painful, unnecessary death because her severely infected fetus still had a heartbeat. So let's hope Texas doesn't follow suit, implementing this law as barbarically as Ireland.) So basically this legislation will impact a fraction of a fraction of .5%. It's real, intended impact was largely symbolic and douche-filled.

Honestly, elective (i.e. not medically necessary) abortions after 22 weeks make me pretty darn uncomfortable, so the medical implications of this aspect of HB2 bothers me much less than the incredibly ignorant, politically driven intentions of HB2.

But abortions will be safer now, right? They will be in better regulated facilities?


Not at all.

But the new requirement that abortions take place in ambulatory surgical centers will likely financially benefit Perry's sister. So there is that.

And it will likely result in the closing of Planned Parenthood centers, which will erode access to women's health care and in Texas. So there is that too.


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