mselise asked you:
Some people I’ve talked to about the proposed DSHS rules have basically said, “Hey, I’m pro-choice, but they’re just adding more reporting requirements. The leaks were already a risk because the requirements exist. So what’s the big deal?” Can you help me craft an argument for them? All I can think of right now is a scream of existential rage.
Sure. I know that this seems to not be a big deal on the surface, like those people are saying but there are two important things going on with these new abortion reporting requirements in TX.
1) It’s about going around the democratic process (something Texas has been in the news for this week: first our redistricting discriminates against minorities and is unconstitutional, and then our voter ID law was deemed to violate the Voting Rights Act).
I’ll let Andrea Grimes explain in the case of these regulations:
Texas Republican House Representative Bill Zedler couldn’t get the anti-choice amendment he proposed during last year’s special lawmaking session approved by his peers in the legislature—he’d like to gather as much information as possible on women seeking, and doctors performing, abortions—so he’s asked the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to do it for him. […]
Even though lawmakers did not approve these new rules because Zedler’s amendment—and others likeit—have repeatedly been shot down in legislative session or languished in committee hearings, the DSHS says it has the “authority” to initiate them anyway, so that’s what they’re going to do.
[NB: more people than just cis women need and want access to abortion care.]
These are regulations that Zedler tried to pass through the super-conservative GOP legislature and couldn’t do it. So, he turned to the DSHS, which can change those regulations without the legislature’s approval, apparently. And they all thought they’d be able to do this without any press or coverage. WHOOPS.
While my petition is to stop the regulations, it is also about saying no to this undemocratic run around.
2) The regulations themselves. While I’m unhappy about them asking MORE information about the patients, the true problem is the regulations for individual providers. Again, Grimes:
But the updated reporting rules that caused the most consternation among abortion stakeholders at the meeting were new rules requiring individual physicians to report, within 20 days, any complications resulting from an abortion procedure. Abortion providing facilities already report complications to the DSHS, causing a number of meeting attendees to call the new rule redundant and potentially intimidating, especially to individual abortion-providing physicians who aren’t intimately familiar with reporting requirements the way clinical facilities are.
The DSHS said it would leave the determination of what constitutes a “complication” to individual doctors’ discretion, raising among gathered providers the question of whether, later on, the lack of direction from DSHS could be used to play “gotcha” with doctors when they don’t report complications the DSHS later determines to be relevant.
These regulations are about intimidation of individual doctors. It is a confusing change that will make their licenses more vulnerable because they new regulations are not specific enough.
Because the point is that these regulations aren’t actually about making an already safe procedure somehow more safe but rather scaring doctors from performing abortions.
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