They Didn't Do It to Protect Women's Health — #FightBackTX

by Dan Quinn

FightBackTXGraphicWhen Texas lawmakers passed some of the nation’s most extreme anti-abortion legislation one year ago, they agued they were simply trying to protect women’s health. Abortion facilities were unsafe for women, they said. New regulations, such as requiring clinics providing abortion care to be ambulatory surgical centers and their doctors to have admitting privileges at area hospitals, they insisted, were intended to protect women’s health.

They lied. We said so then. The facts a year later show we were right.

Health experts last year pointed out repeatedly that the new regulations were medically unnecessary. Here’s how the Texas Tribune explained it last September:

(A) Texas Tribune review of state inspection records for 36 abortion clinics from the year preceding the lawmakers’ vote turned up little evidence to suggest the facilities were putting patients in imminent danger. State auditors identified 19 regulatory violations that they said presented a risk to patient safety at six abortion clinics that are not ambulatory surgical centers in Texas. None was severe enough to warrant financial penalties, according to the Department of State Health Services, which deemed the facilities’ corrective action plans sufficient to protect patients.

And between 2008 and 2013, the Texas Medical Board, which regulates the state’s physicians, took action against just three doctors who performed abortions — all of them for administrative infractions that did not involve criminal practices or late-term abortions.

“The point of this legislation was to make abortion inaccessible. It wasn’t about safety,” said Amy Hagstrom Miller, chief executive officer of Whole Woman’s Health, which operates four abortion clinics and an ambulatory surgical center in Texas. “Because there is no safety problem around abortion in Texas.”

Those same health experts explained why those unnecessary and burdensome regulations would force many abortion clinics to close. But it didn’t matter because the real reason right-wing lawmakers passed House Bill 2 wasn’t to protect women’s health. It was to prevent women from having access to safe abortion care.

Outside of the debate over HB 2, those same lawmakers haven’t shied away from making that point very clear. Here’s a tweet today, for example, from state Sen. Donna Campbell, R-San Antonio:

With passage of HB 2 a year ago today, more unborn Texans will now live to celebrate their birth, their right to life enshrined in law.

Once again: HB 2 did nothing to protect women’s health. Lawmakers passed HB 2 to close abortion clinics.

Less than half of the state’s abortion clinics open when HB 2 passed last year are still operating today. Even more will close if the final measures in HB 2 are implemented on schedule at the end of August. That means the total number of abortion clinics in the vast state of Texas will have dropped from 41 in June 2013 to as few as six this September. Women across large swaths of the state will be forced — if they are able to do it at all — to travel great distances at considerable expense to obtain legal, safe abortion care. That’s because a majority of Texas lawmakers decided to use government as a tool to force an ideological agenda on women and interfere in the deeply personal decisions they make about whether and when to have children.

Are you ready to #FightBackTX? Find out more about HB 2 and how you can get involved here.

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Comments

Melissa Al-Ahmadi

I sent a message to mine! Dont let the abstinence only coalition be the only voice thry hear twitter.com/tfn/stat…