Setting the Record Straight on HB2

In his 4th of July column, Steve Blow leveled hefty claims that public officials have been lying about protecting women’s health by regulating the abortion industry.

Among many false charges, Blow suggests that ultrasounds before abortion are medically unnecessary. Perhaps he should tell that to Planned Parenthood and the many clinics already requiring them before the law.

Chief among his errors is Blow’s assumption the abortion industry resembles the rest of the medical field. Before the sonogram law, Texas women seeking abortion never met the doctor in advance of the sedation or the procedure. There was zero opportunity for questions, zero doctor-patient relationship, and women were not allowed to see the sonogram. In case of complications, women are urged to bypass the clinic and head straight to the ER without the doctor.

Additional regulations have always been necessitated by an abortion industry that refuses to police itself. In 1997, Texas Health Department essentially wrote legislation designed to clean up an industry with an appalling record.

Pennsylvania’s Kermit Gosnell is a more recent example of the industry’s failure to police itself. Gosnell’s clinic, preying on low income immigrants, featured filthy instruments, broken emergency equipment, unaccredited staff administering anesthesia, snipping babies’ necks after birth and killing and maiming women. There is evidence the abortion industry knew of the horrors and did nothing. After Gosnell’s staff got jail time, the staff of Houston’s Douglas Karpan came forward with similar claims.

Dallas’ own Jasbir Ahluwalia was featured in this newspaper’s July 2002 expose’ as an example of a pattern of bad behavior inadequately addressed by the Texas Medical Board. The paper described several grotesque malpractice lawsuits he settled, including two alleging he perforated women’s uteruses during abortion. He’s also alleged to have left half the baby in one, causing a life-threatening infection.

It wasn’t until a hospital suspended Ahluwalia’s hospital privileges that the medical board took notice. You see, when other doctors and hospitals won’t vouch for a doctor, it’s about more than the politics of abortion. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.

Furthermore, despite the narrative put forth by the abortion industry, federal and state laws bar hospitals from denying privileges solely because a doctor performs abortions. Also, every single abortion clinic in Texas was confirmed to have at least one secular hospital within the 30 mile range.

You know what else they’re lying about: our motives. Texans for Life began pursuing a requirement for hospital privileges after hearing from some of Ahluwalia’s traumatized patients. The fact that the medical board gave so much weight to hospital privileges certainly got our attention.

As far as the criticism about the additional regulation of medical abortions, Mr. Blow failed to mention that women died as abortion providers experimented away from the FDA protocols and that these abortions have higher complication and failure rates.

Blow was also likely unaware that his source for many of his assertions, RH Reality Check, wrote a column last year decrying ambulatory surgical centers as more “medical, more sterile, more intimidating.” Isn’t that rich? Real medical care is just too scary for us little ol’ women!

To be honest, Texans for Life believes abortion takes the life of a child and hurts the mom, so it’s true we are not crying for clinics that close because they can’t or won’t raise their standards. Our goal in HB 2, however, was to eliminate the worst of the worst. Because our research indicated 2/3rds of abortion doctors had hospital admitting privileges, we too were stunned by the number of clinic closures. Apparently, better doctors have better options than abortion. Better options for women would be nice, too.

Steve Blow was right about one thing, though: men wouldn’t put up with this substandard “care” for one minute. Men would not be intimidated; no, they would demand competent doctors and a sterile operating room.

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