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73% of doctors say abortion is essential to healthcare

woman at doctors office filling out chart

Recently, Dr. Alan Braid discussed with the Washington Post his experience performing abortions and his opinion on the new Texas abortion ban—which he deems extreme. Here’s what Dr. Braid has to say, according to the Washington Post, “Newly graduated from the University of Texas medical school, I began my obstetrics and gynecology residency at a San Antonio hospital on July 1, 1972. 

At the time, abortion was effectively illegal in Texas — unless a psychiatrist certified a woman was suicidal. If the woman had money, we’d refer her to clinics in Colorado, California or New York. The rest were on their own. Some traveled across the border to Mexico. 

At the hospital that year, I saw three teenagers die from illegal abortions. One I will never forget. When she came into the ER, her vaginal cavity was packed with rags. She died a few days later from massive organ failure, caused by a septic infection. 

In medical school in Texas, we’d been taught that abortion was an integral part of women’s health care. When the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Roe v. Wade in 1973, recognizing abortion as a constitutional right, it enabled me to do the job I was trained to do. 

For the next 45 years — not including the two years I was away in the Air Force — I was a practicing OB/GYN in Texas, conducting Pap smears, pelvic exams and pregnancy check-ups; delivering more than 10,000 babies; and providing abortion care at clinics I opened in Houston and San Antonio, and another in Oklahoma. 

Then, this month, everything changed. A new Texas law, known as S.B. 8, virtually banned any abortion beyond about the sixth week of pregnancy. It shut down about 80 percent of the abortion services we provide. Anyone who suspects I have violated the new law can sue me for at least $10,000. They could also sue anybody who helps a person obtain an abortion past the new limit, including, apparently, the driver who brings a patient to my clinic. 

For me, it is 1972 all over again… Texas’s new law makes no exceptions for rape or incest. 

Even before S.B. 8, Texas had some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. That includes a 24-hour waiting period, meaning a woman has to make at least two visits to our clinic. Ultrasound imaging is mandatory. Parental consent is required for minors, unless they obtain court approval. 

And yet, despite the restrictions, we were always able to continue providing compassionate care up to the legal limit of 22 weeks. It meant hiring more staff, everything took longer, but we managed. Until Sept. 1. Since then, most of our patients have been too far along in their pregnancies to qualify for abortion care. I tell them that we can offer services only if we cannot see the presence of cardiac activity on an ultrasound, which usually occurs at about six weeks, before most people know they are pregnant…” 

Sermo physicians agree. In a recent poll of 320+ physicians, 73% said they believe abortion is an essential part of healthcare. And in cases of rape or incest, 85% of doctors support abortion. Regarding specific restrictions, 51% support the 24-hour waiting period, which means that women must make at least two visits to the clinic; and 57% believe minors must have parental consent. Overall, 83% of physicians are concerned that extreme abortion bans will put women at risk for illegal abortions and potentially death. 

Here is more of what Sermo physicians have to say on abortion—in their own words: 

Every 16 minutes, a woman in the world dies from illegal, unsafe abortion. Making abortion illegal will drive desperate women to seek it illegally & unsafely. Abortion should remain rare, safe and legal.

Right to life“is a misnomer, it should be called “ Right to Birth” because no one addresses what happens to these children whose parents don’t want them, once they are born. There are currently 120,000 children in foster care awaiting to be adopted. Who should pay to care for them, the other hard working Americans, who need child tax credits just to be able to house and feed the children they already have?

OBGYN, U.S.

I worked in Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town where we had a twenty bed ‘septic abortion’ ward. These ladies had received an informal abortion or self aborted. About 20% died…slowly. It was excruciating to the point that as Registrars we were permitted to work there for only one month at a time. WHAT ARE YOU DOING TEXAS!!

OBGYN, Australia

I can’t always discern the writer’s gender, but it appears the vast majority of anti-abortion responses are from men. Males are entitled to an opinion but NOT to a decision on this issue; it is a women’s issue. The best birth control available is still only 98% effective. Few rapists and child molesters are willing to wear a condom. 

If a physician chooses not to perform abortions, that’s certainly their right, but physicians do NOT have the right to withhold healthcare from a patient in need. And legislators certainly have no right.

Abortion has been happening since long before there were physicians or legislators. Passing a law does not prevent people from doing something they’ve always done, it just makes it more dangerous. Didn’t we learn that during Prohibition? Clearly not, as we’re using the same tactics to incarcerate and kill drug users. And now Texas wants to broaden the scope of Prohibition to women’s health.

Psychiatry, U.S.

I do not accept abortion but in necessary cases and when the woman’s life is at risk or in rapes it should be supported. Health professionals are part of life and we do everything to preserve it.

Neurology, Mexico