Lorena Martinez – Blog #5
Texas Gov. Rick Perry recently signed a bill into law that would require abortion clinics to adhere to stricter safety regulations that most clinics would not be able to afford. These regulations would hold abortion clinics to surgery center standards, including requiring clinics to have a certain width for hallways, a certain size for janitorial closets, the number of parking spaces available, the installation of hospital-grade ventilation systems, and transfer agreements with hospitals in case of emergency during surgery, although “fewer than one-half of 1 percent of patients have a complication that requires hospitalization” (Lohr, 2013). Some of these new regulations are near impossible for certain clinics to achieve due to the inordinate amount of money it would take to either upgrade their offices or move to other buildings. Several clinics in a few states have already closed because of these strict regulations.
Dr. Howard Novick says new abortion restrictions in Texas could force him to close the Houston clinic he opened in 1980. He says he doesn’t have the more than $1 million required to convert his office into a surgical center with wide corridors and sophisticated airflow systems.
Additionally, the Texas law would ban abortions at 20 weeks of pregnancy. However, critics say that the law is causing headaches for both women and their doctors because the way the law measures 20 weeks of pregnancy differs than how doctors measure pregnancy (Rovner 2013). The law would measure 20 weeks of pregnancy from the point of fertilization, however doctors measure pregnancry from the date of the woman’s last normal menstrual period (Rovner 2013).
Such strict regulations on abortion clinics would have a great impact on both the economy and women, namely those in the lower classes. Women in the lower classes would presumably have less access to health care than their middle and upper class counterparts, and if abortion clinics are being closed because they cannot meet the new high standards, these women might be essentially forced to go through with an unwanted pregnancy because they have limited or no access to health care facilities that would be able to provide them with an abortion. These women would have to subject their bodies to pregnancy and if they opt out of giving the child up for adoption, would have to raise the child when they may not have the financial means to do so, especially if they are single mothers. This affects the economy not only through the loss of profits to doctors operating abortion clinics, but also through (lower-class single) mothers that would perhaps turn toward social welfare programs funded by the government in order to be able to afford the financial burden that comes with raising a child. Additionally, even if the mother places the child up for adoption, it would still cost the government money in order to care for the child within the adoption agency and foster homes.
It would be logical for Texas and other states that are signing such bills into law that impose increasingly strict regulations on abortion clinics that have been operating safely and successfully throughout the years, to make birth control more readily available for women so that they may be able to avoid unwanted pregnancy, especially for those that may not be able to afford (another) pregnancy or child.
Additionally, this law contributes not only to economic inequalities, but to gender inequalities also. The regulation of pregnancy essentially regulates a woman’s reproductive decisions. and rights However, there are no such laws for the reproductive rights of men, whom are the ones in power signing such bills into law.
Becca Besaw of Austin, Texas, and Christopher Robertson of Fort Worth, Texas, protest the state’s new law restricting access to abortion at a rally in Dallas on July 15.
Photo Credit: Tony Gutierrez/AP
Lohr, Kathy. “Laws Tightening Abortion Rules Gain Traction In States.” NPR. NPR, 23 July 2013. Web. 24 July 2013. <http://www.npr.org/2013/07/23/204868525/laws-tightening-abortion-regulations-gain-traction-in-states?utm_source=NPR>.
Rovner, Julie. “State Laws Limiting Abortion May Face Challenges On 20-Week Limit.”NPR. NPR, 22 July 2013. Web. 24 July 2013. <http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/07/19/203729609/state-laws-limiting-abortion-may-face-challenges-on-20-week-limit>.