To expand abortion access in Texas, a lawmaker gets creative

Despite strict abortion laws in Texas, a new law allowing for certain exemptions has been signed by the state’s Republican governor, Greg Abbott.

Legislative maneuvers: Texas State Representative Ann Johnson pushed through a law that allows doctors to perform abortions when a patient’s water breaks too early for the fetus to survive or in cases of ectopic pregnancies.
* This bill, signed by Governor Abbott, does not use the term “abortion”, which helped it get bipartisan support and avoid becoming a “political football”, according to Johnson.

The context: Texas’s abortion laws have been under scrutiny for their stringent rules and harsh penalties for physicians violating the ban.
* The laws provide a very narrow exception for abortions i.e., when a patient is “in danger of death or a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function.”
* Due to the ambiguity of these laws and the severe penalties, care for patients with complex pregnancies has been delayed, leading to life-threatening situations.

Impact of the laws: The restrictive abortion laws not only affect OB-GYNs but also other medical practitioners due to criminal penalties imposed on medications that can cause abortions.
* A lawsuit claims that vague language in the medical exceptions has led to delays in medical care, causing harm to patients.

Reactions: While some doctors see the new law as progress, others view it as limited, as it does not cater to all medical complications that can necessitate abortion.
* With the new law expected to go into effect on September 1, Representative Johnson acknowledges the need for further legislation addressing a wider array of pregnancy complications.

View original article on NPR

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