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On Magic Words and Moral Injury

Much of the nation followed the story of Kate Cox as she sought consent from Texas state courts to obtain a medically necessary abortion for a non-viable pregnancy last month. While being initially granted a TRO by an Austin judge, the Cox family was ultimately denied the right to receive this necessary medical care within the state of Texas, in no small part because the Texas Supreme Court determined that a doctor's "good faith belief" that their patient met the qualifications for a medical exemption did not meet the statutory requirement of a "reasonable medical judgement".

Texas currently has 3 active overlapping abortion bans in place. The penalties include the following:

  • a felony life sentence for healthcare providers

  • $100,000 fine for healthcare providers

  • $10,000 in civil penalties for assisting a pregnant patient in receiving care

The oldest of these laws pre-dates the Civil War.

While it may be tempting to dismiss the racial roots of anti-abortion policies, the current data trends on maternal mortality and the state's failure to address the preventable causes of tragic outcomes for Texas families indicate that systemic disparities in healthcare access continue to disproportionately impact families of color.

Meanwhile, medical residents are being forced to leave the state in order to receive adequate accredited training in OB/GYN care, and practicing doctors are contemplating leaving as a result of the legal ambiguities and lack of clarity regarding the provision of care. This ultimately impacts healthcare for ALL women as the shortage of medical providers specializing in women's healthcare needs continues to grow.

Never has it been more clear that the current administration of the state of Texas devalues women and families.

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