By Catherine Glenn Foster
In Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, abortion clinics sued for exemption from Texas H.B. 2, which implements commonsense health and safety regulations to raise patient safety standards at abortion clinics. The case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court, and, a few weeks ago, the abortion clinics and abortion activists submitted their briefs.
Articles on those briefs have reported that some “professional women,” including lawyers and an Episcopal priest, filed briefs stating that they “never regretted” their abortions and believe abortion to be “crucial” to a “woman’s ability to define her own existence, determine her future, achieve her dreams and aspirations, and be an equal participant in our society.” (These activists don’t seem to realize that women are strong enough to wear two hats, and to succeed without killing our own children.)
They offered little to no counterpoint, but suffice to say, there are many, many women whose experience tells a different story. Mine is one of them. I, too, became pregnant at age 19, over Christmas break at my small, private, Christian college. I could see only one “choice,” and I scheduled an abortion for that Saturday. The staff wouldn’t let me choose to see my child on the screen. They fudged her age and held me down when I changed my mind and tried to get up. I have profoundly regretted that choice ever since.
Former state senator Wendy Davis was quoted as saying that she wanted all these abortion stories to “take this argument out of the abstract” and “help the [C]ourt understand the very real human stories behind abortion in this country.” Of course, that cuts both ways. But, as she well knows, that’s not what this case is about at all.
Cole is not about their experience, or mine. And H.B. 2 was not passed because of women who claim to be proud of their abortions. It was not even passed because of me and all the myriad women who regret our abortions. Rather, it was passed because of Karnamaya Mongar and Semika Shaw, victims of notorious abortionist Kermit Gosnell. It was passed because Jennifer Morbelli, Tonya Reaves, and all the other women killed or injured by abortion. And it was passed for all women, to raise the medical standards they face in their darkest hours. H.B. 2 is a good law that we can all support.
Specifically, to protect women against itinerant abortionists like Kermit Gosnell, whose murder trial had just ended, H.B. 2 requires abortionists to carry hospital admitting privileges and provide contact information to smooth transfer in emergency situations, requires abortion facilities to meet health and safety standards common to outpatient practice, mandates adherence to tested drug protocols for chemical abortions, and prohibits late-term abortions.
H.B. 2’s provisions are sorely needed; just one abortion facility in Houston has reportedly botched at least 10 abortions last year. Planned Parenthood admits that at least 210 Texas women are hospitalized after botched abortions every year. H.B. 2 is improving women’s health by preventing patient abandonment and bringing abortion facilities in line with similar outpatient surgical clinics.
The courts agree. States are given “wide discretion” to regulate the practice of medicine, according to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Gonzales v. Carhart. In Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Surgical Health Services v. Abbott, an earlier challenge to H.B. 2, three female judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit unanimously upheld H.B. 2 as constitutional, concluding that “the State acted within its prerogative to regulate the medical profession by heeding these patient-centered concerns.” Abortion clinics’ opposition to this law demonstrates that they care more about their bank accounts than about the women they claim to serve.
I had an abortion, and things didn’t go back to normal. It was the abortion that changed my life forever. But I did get a second chance at motherhood. And when my daughter was 18 months old, I went back to school to get a law degree. Since then, I have learned that women are strong enough to choose motherhood and simultaneously “participate equally in the economic and social life of the (n)ation.” My children have enriched and rejoiced in my “personal” and “professional successes.”
But, so long as we have abortion on demand, for me and for all women who have found themselves in an abortion clinic, we need and deserve real doctors and real standards. That’s why I support women’s health, and I support Texas H.B. 2.
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