Texas doctor: What abortion law is doing to my patients

Texas doctor: What abortion law is doing to my patients

Posted: Oct 18, 2021 6:00 PM
Updated: Oct 18, 2021 6:00 PM

I am an Ob-Gyn who has been providing abortions in Texas for eight years. Since September 1, my staff and I have been forced to comply with an extreme abortion ban -- SB 8 -- that has blocked patients from getting an abortion at approximately six weeks of pregnancy, before many patients know they are pregnant.

Every day working under this cruel law has been heartbreaking and unjust. One of my patients -- who I had to turn away because she was more than six weeks pregnant -- curled up and started to cry uncontrollably. All I could do was hold her hand.

Another patient canceled her graduate school admission interview in order to make it to her appointment, only to find out that she too was no longer eligible for an abortion under SB 8. She would now need to find a way to leave the state.

I saw another patient who had to leave her young child -- who is undergoing treatment for cancer -- to come straight to our health center. She did not want to delay her appointment for fear that she would be unable to get an abortion under the new law.

I could go on and on. There are so many stories of people whose lives have been damaged by this draconian law. Even the very rare moments of relief illustrate SB 8's underlying brutality: when one of my patients found out she was still able to access an abortion under the new law, she just hugged me, sobbing and repeating the words "thank you."

SB 8 has now been in effect -- with one short respite -- for weeks. On Friday, the US Department of Justice announced it would ask the US Supreme Court to block SB 8, after the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the law to remain in effect.

This reality is most horrific for my patients, but it's harrowing for me as well. Each time I have to deny a patient their right to an abortion -- a safe and constitutionally protected medical procedure -- I am being forced to carry out the state's agenda, a radical agenda that was always about scoring a political victory.

Every time this happens, each instance is a moral injury. I am being forced to inflict pain on my patients when the reason I became a doctor is to heal and to help them. This law itself -- designed to make it harder to challenge in federal court -- turns communities against my patients and me by deputizing private citizens (from anywhere in the country) to bring a civil suit against anyone who helps a pregnant person to obtain an abortion in violation of the law.

Even before SB 8 went into effect, Texas already imposed stigmatizing and onerous mandates on people seeking abortion care. Every person has to receive a state-scripted lecture and medically inaccurate information, and almost all patients are forced to wait a minimum of 24 hours before they can have an abortion, requiring two separate visits to the health center.

Most of my patients are already mothers -- and even though as parents they make countless decisions every day on behalf of their families, Texas apparently doesn't trust them to make decisions about their own bodies and what is best for their families.

Earlier this month, when we had a brief reprieve from the abortion ban after a federal judge entered a preliminary injunction (calling SB 8 an "offensive deprivation"), our staff called patients and worked to schedule abortion appointments in multiple cities so that people didn't have to leave Texas and travel hundreds of miles for abortion care.

For the patients who could make it to our health center when the injunction was in effect, it was an immense relief to access an abortion safely in their community, rather than be forced to go out of state.

But many patients faced the familiar hurdles of accessing child care, getting time off work and finding transportation, and weren't able to access an abortion during that short time period.

Then, just 48 hours later, the 5th Circuit put a stay on the injunction and SB 8 was back in effect and remains so. We had to call back many of those same patients and tell them that yet again, we could not provide them the care they wanted and that we were trained to provide.

We've unfortunately experienced this kind of legal whiplash before. In the spring of 2020, Gov. Greg Abbott banned abortion at the onset of Covid-19 for approximately a month. We witnessed the disruption firsthand, as our services were turned on and off and Texans were forced to travel hundreds of miles outside of the state -- during a pandemic -- to access an abortion.

At this moment, I am completely drained and terrified because there is no end in sight. I am an abortion provider because it is rewarding and important work. My patients trust me and count on me for safe, caring and nonjudgmental treatment. I went through extensive medical training to be a resource for them, and nothing matters more to me than being able to provide them with medical care at such an important time.

But Texas's abortion ban in effect says that none of this matters. According to statewide political officials, my medical skills and the needs of my patients don't matter. The lives of Texans who are being put at risk are not important and neither am I. None of us are as important as the political victory being scored.

No health care provider should ever find themselves in this position. And, more importantly, no one seeking an abortion should either.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1462456

Reported Deaths: 20308
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion2005922494
Lake992001456
Allen903391005
Hamilton70705539
St. Joseph63078746
Elkhart48098622
Vanderburgh46217523
Tippecanoe42115330
Johnson37119516
Hendricks35078455
Porter33900460
Madison28036530
Clark25186321
Vigo24768341
LaPorte22894307
Monroe22201243
Howard21344372
Delaware20937363
Hancock18289217
Kosciusko17513199
Bartholomew17399212
Warrick16060212
Wayne15757296
Floyd15399252
Grant14898293
Morgan13934230
Boone13172136
Noble11421140
Dearborn11355112
Henry11312201
Shelby11231150
Marshall11041166
Dubois10782152
Jackson10174104
DeKalb9944128
Cass9942142
Lawrence9914219
Huntington9823139
Gibson9131125
Montgomery9005140
Knox8762124
Harrison8718111
Whitley844771
Steuben8340102
Jasper8069113
Putnam795197
Clinton792994
Miami7914133
Wabash7598138
Jefferson7551124
Ripley6993111
Adams6508101
Scott629086
Daviess6266127
White602379
Greene5913111
Clay587173
Wells5814120
Decatur5754118
Jennings572276
Fayette5657121
Posey529146
LaGrange512996
Randolph4925128
Washington482067
Owen480398
Fountain463579
Spencer438156
Starke434086
Sullivan432164
Fulton426790
Orange412682
Jay403964
Rush395736
Carroll371349
Franklin369850
Perry362155
Vermillion345062
Pike308945
Tipton307974
Parke305038
Pulaski266973
Blackford266755
Newton228359
Brown222654
Benton213321
Crawford211231
Switzerland189414
Martin181921
Warren169520
Union163619
Ohio119516
Unassigned0742

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2403645

Reported Deaths: 30922
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin2596932036
Cuyahoga2572672998
Hamilton1666711699
Montgomery1103831586
Summit1066861382
Lucas895171149
Butler78647924
Stark747301383
Lorain62885783
Warren49934468
Mahoning49735909
Lake46850586
Clermont43541428
Delaware38876210
Trumbull38576748
Medina37611416
Licking36901401
Fairfield33848331
Greene32124416
Portage31381356
Clark30277440
Richland28251420
Wood27660289
Allen24372392
Miami22806389
Muskingum22298244
Columbiana22095399
Wayne21275354
Tuscarawas18847423
Erie18041221
Ashtabula17932338
Marion17503231
Scioto16553203
Ross16163249
Pickaway15536173
Hancock15251227
Geauga15244221
Lawrence13847186
Huron13399182
Union1329683
Belmont13255247
Jefferson12864257
Sandusky12770197
Athens11949106
Knox11511195
Seneca11454200
Ashland10795174
Darke10673196
Washington10564168
Auglaize10152141
Crawford9854175
Shelby9699155
Brown9400140
Fulton9235148
Guernsey9109115
Defiance9057134
Highland9035143
Logan8955141
Clinton8719121
Mercer8640111
Madison8568104
Preble8002160
Williams7848135
Putnam7731135
Ottawa7629120
Champaign7556112
Jackson7383114
Perry714598
Coshocton7043136
Morrow694580
Fayette662287
Hardin6219125
Pike617086
Gallia594989
Adams5779124
Van Wert5779120
Henry565592
Hocking5521103
Carroll4828100
Wyandot482289
Holmes4747161
Paulding401163
Meigs375071
Monroe299368
Noble279851
Harrison279461
Morgan276848
Vinton239845
Unassigned08
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 22°
Angola
Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 35° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 23°
Huntington
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 24°
Decatur
Cloudy
31° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 22°
Van Wert
Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 37° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 22°
A gusty south wind pushes temperatures above the freezing mark Tuesday afternoon.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events