Responding to the news of the US Supreme Court’s overturning parts of landmark Texas abortion legislation, the bishops of the State of Texas expressed concern that the ruling puts women at great risk.
According to a statement released Monday by the Texas Catholic Conference, “[The law’s] main purpose is to secure surgical center, health and safety standards for women seeking an abortion. Their lives are just as precious as those of their children.”
Surgical abortion is an invasive procedure that poses numerous and serious medical complications. The state has a legitimate interest in ensuring the maximum level of safety for the woman subjected to the procedure and that viable emergency care is available if complications such as hemorrhage, infection, uterine perforation, blood clots, cervical tears, or allergic reactions occur. It is irresponsible for physicians to perform this procedure without being able to provide follow-up treatment for the associated complications.
The Catholic Church in Texas, in communion with millions of Catholics and other pro-life people across America and the world, will continue our efforts to protect life and human dignity from conception to natural death.
The Texas law was passed in 2013 after a high-profile debate in the state legislature, which included a headline-making filibuster by then-State Senator Wendy Davis. While the law’s safety regulations—including requirements that abortion doctors have admitting privileges at local hospitals and that abortion clinics meet ambulatory surgical center standards—were challenged and eventually struck down by the US Supreme Court, the state’s 20-week abortion ban remains in place.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also weighed in on today’s ruling.
“The Court has rejected a common-sense law protecting women from abortion facilities that put profits above patient safety,” said USCCB spokeswoman Deirdre McQuade. “The law simply required abortion facilities to meet the same health and safety standards as other ambulatory surgical centers—standards like adequate staffing, soap dispensers, and basic sanitary conditions. It required abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, and that hallways be wide enough to allow emergency personnel through with stretchers, should a life-threatening emergency arise.”
“Abortion claims the lives of unborn children, and too often endangers their mothers, as well,” she added. “This ruling contradicts the consensus among medical groups that such measures protect women’s lives.”
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