Making Abortion Harder, Vol. 877,834

A bill that passed through senate today puts a new level of bureaucracy on medical staff practicing abortions.

Another legislative end-run around Roe v. Wade has made its way through the Texas Senate today, with Senate Bill 785 getting through its final vote on a 20-10 split vote.

This over-the-shoulder legislative intrusion into clinics and hospital says that doctors will have to file an abortion-reporting form with the Department of State Health Services whenever they perform an abortion. The form will lack identifying information about the patient, but the procedure data will be collected and, it can only be presumed, used to construct analyses that "show" abortion is dangerous.

If anything goes wrong, the doctor will have to file an abortion-complication form, which requires the doctor distinguish between abortion-related and pregnancy-related complications - something that will not always be easy to work out. It wouldn't just be the medical staff performing the abortion; as the bill analysis puts it, it covers any "physician practicing in Texas who treats an illness or injury related to complications from an abortion." This means if a patient has an abortion at one facility, goes to another one, and the staff there decides that their symptoms are caused by the abortion, in goes more paperwork.

Doctors will also have to make sure that no one is forcing the woman to have an abortion, and if they are, they must send them to a shelter instead - a potentially stressful, irrelevant, and intrusive question.

"We do it with diabetes; we do it with drug overdoses," said bill sponsor Sen. Florence Shapiro, R-Plano, of the data collection. This statement could be called (generously) somewhat disingenuous, since OD's are usually accidental and diabetes is a disease. This is an escalation in "oversight" on a medical procedure.

There could be some serious questions about privacy, since a copy of the report will be kept in the patient's medical files for seven years. The report could also be filed by Web site - and the state better ensure the security for that is crackerjack, because if a hacker got hold of that information and passed it on to one of the more fringe anti-abortion groups, the consequences could be horrific.

For more, check out our War on Women's Health page.

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State Government, Legislature, Health & Human Services, Abortion rights, Reproductive rights, Florence Shapiro

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