Texas Lawmaker Wants Abortion Practitioners Held Accountable

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 12, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Texas Lawmaker Wants Abortion Practitioners Held Accountable

by Maria Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
January 12, 2004

Austin, TX (LifeNews.com) — A Texas lawmaker is urging the state’s Attorney General to issue a directive ensuring that all abortion practitioners are subject to scrutiny by the state health department.

Republican Rep. Frank Corte, Jr., believes that those who perform abortions should be required to follow specified state health regulations.

A pro-life bill sponsored by Corte that is now law requires abortion businesses to distribute information about the risks of and alternatives to abortion, but rules drafted by the health department limit the oversight requirement to centers that perform more than 50 abortions in a 12-month period.

As a result, the rules affect only licensed abortion facilities.

Corte has now asked whether the state health department is legally required to adopt minimum standards for centers and individual doctors who perform fewer abortions. 

If the Attorney General determines that the state cannot regulate all abortion practitioners, Corte plans to introduce legislation to ensure that it can.

"The health department scrutinizes and monitors all surgeons and health care providers; abortionists should not be exempt from the standards and regulations that apply to all practitioners of medicine," Elizabeth Graham of Texas Right to Life said.

"If anything, abortionists should be held to a higher standard due to the rampant malpractice and the pervasive maiming of women within the abortion industry," Graham told LifeNews.com.

According to the San Antonio Express-News newspaper, a gynecologist from Alamo City has denounced Corte’s effort at regulation as an attempt to push "a political agenda, to make abortion unavailable."

"He’s just continuing his insult to women who are trying to make a very difficult decision," Kittrell told the Express-News.

Kittrell’s statement, however, ignores evidence showing that abortion can cause tremendous physical and psychological harm to women.

In 2001, 9,900 abortions were performed by individual Texas doctors.

A spokeswoman for the Texas health department, Jill Wiggins, told the Express-News, "We do have regulatory authority over physicians. However, we are complaint-driven, and just don’t go out and randomly inspect doctors’ offices."

However, the health department’s associate commissioner for consumer health protection said the agency will follow whatever the Attorney General says.

Corte’s aide, Kathi Seay, told the Express-News, "As with any medical procedure, women should be protected and informed."

Related web sites:
Texas Right to Life – https://www.txrtl.org