Texas Senate Approves Bill for Detailed Reports on When Botched Abortions Hurt Women

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   May 24, 2017   |   3:59PM   |   Austin, Texas

Pro-lifers have known for many years that complications women experience after aborting their unborn babies sometimes go unreported.

Now, Texas is trying to do something about it.

On Tuesday, the state Senate gave initial approval to a bill that would require medical facilities to provide detailed reports to the Texas Department of State Health Services about abortion-related complications that they diagnose or treat, the AP reports. The bill also would require the department to publish an annual report of the data.

The state House approved the bill earlier this month, but because the Senate amended it, it will have to return to the House for final approval, according to the report.

“It’s important to make sure complications that arise in abortions are disclosed and make sure we have the right data,” said state Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, who wrote the bill.

Texas Tribune reports the bill would penalize facilities that violate the reporting requirements with fines of $500. Repeat violations could result in suspension or revocation of the facility’s license and permits.

Here’s more from the Statesman:

Capriglione said the bill is about transparency and accuracy in reporting.

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As defined in the bill, a complication includes shock, uterine perforation, cervical laceration, hemorrage, aspiration or allergic response, infection, sepsis, death of the patient, incomplete abortion, damage to the uterus, or an infant born alive after the abortion.

The complication rate became one of the issues in the challenge to regulations passed in 2013 that would have closed most abortion clinics in the state. Lawyers for Texas argued that the rules were needed to protect the health and safety of women seeking an abortion, while opponents said the regulations imposed an unconstitutional burden on access to abortion, a relatively safe procedure, arguing the complication rate is 0.2 percent or lower.

The U.S. Supreme Court threw out the regulations – requiring hospital-like settings for all abortions and doctors to gain admitting privileges in nearby hospitals – last summer.

Some Texas abortion activists claim the bill is not necessary because abortions are so safe. But one of the reasons abortion activists can claim abortions are safe is because there is so little data.

The Centers for Disease Control issues an abortion report every year, but reporting is voluntary. Some states do not report any abortion data to the federal government, while others provide only limited data.

The CDC report even cautions people that its data on women who die from botched abortions is not complete. According to the report, its numbers “during 1998-2011 cannot be used alone to calculate national case-fatality rates … because certain states did not report abortion data every year during this period.”

Americans United for Life, a leading pro-life group in the United States, is calling on lawmakers to require that basic abortion data be reported to the government.

AUL said the data will help present a more accurate picture of abortions in the U.S., including the types of abortions performed, the ages of the unborn children, the complications women experience and more. The pro-life group said the data will provide more evidence to support future legislation and cases such as the Texas law that the U.S. Supreme Court recently overturned.

While abortion activists claim that abortions are safer than childbirth, there is little data to prove the claim. Dr. Freda Bush, an OB-GYN and clinical instructor at the University of Mississippi, said abortions can lead to serious complications or even death for women as well as their unborn babies, but many complications are not reported.

Women experiencing abortion complications after they leave the abortion clinic often go to, or are instructed to go to, the emergency room by themselves, and some are too ashamed to say they had an abortion, Bush said during the Evangelicals for Life conference in 2016.

“So, we really don’t know how many abortions are being done, we don’t know how many people are dying of abortions because the numbers are not being kept,” Bush said.

Studies in Finland, Denmark and the U.S. have found evidence that abortion is not safe for women or their unborn babies. A 2012 Denmark study surveyed nearly half a million medical records and found a significantly higher maternal death rate after abortions, compared to childbirth.