New Abortion Law Brings Some Strong Debate - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

12/29/03 - Texas

New Abortion Law Brings Some Strong Debate

by Alex Carias

In just a couple of days, new laws passed by the state legislature will go into effect. One of those new laws could have a major social impact when it comes to abortion. The "Woman's Right to Know Act" is intended to give women information on abortion before they decide to undergo the procedure. The new law has brought about much debate from both Pro-Choice and Pro-Life organizations.

The act has several key points including a required 24-hour waiting period before a woman can get an abortion. Some see the new law as unnecessary, others as a victory.

"The primary issue is that it's going to put another set of barriers in the way of women who are seeking access to safe legal abortions. We're concerned, while the legislature can't make abortion illegal, they're certainly trying to make it impossible," said Planned Parenthood CEO Peter Durkin.

"I believe this is a victory for the Pro-Life movement, but more so it's a victory for the women because after all we're not here for the Pro-Life movement, we're not here for the Pro-Abortion movement, we're here for the women," explained Paula Havard of Pregnancy H.E.L.P Medical Center.

The act will have the most impact on abortion clinics where abortions are performed. Under the new law, women will be presented state-approved materials regarding fetal development and risks associated with abortion and full-term pregnancy.

"We have information, some of it comes from the Department of Health and Human Services, some of it comes from different locations that discuss fetal development. We've giving that information out for right at 19 years," added Havard.

A third mandate under the law will require second-trimester abortions to be performed in hospitals or in ambulatory surgical centers.

"I think particularly for those women who are in the challenge of needing an abortion beyond 16 weeks, amenosentisis for fetal abnormality, that's only done at 16 weeks. And were a woman to have a pregnancy go terribly wrong, she is going to have a real dilemma in Texas in terms of finding an ambulatory surgery center where this procedure can take place," said Durkin.

"That's partial birth abortion and if that can be performed in just a clinic on a three story office type, Bank of America type building, the safety. Everything involve in that is just not the same in performing that in a hospital where you have ambulatory care or you have a specialist on call. That's just makes a world of difference to me if I were choosing," added Havard.

Doctors are already busy preparing for January 1, when the new law goes into effect, by brushing up on the requirements and the procedure they will soon have to implement on the front lines.

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