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Published on June 21, 2024
Texas Medical Board to Review Abortion Law Exceptions Following State Supreme Court DecisionSource: Sciencia58, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

As the abortion debate in Texas takes new turns, the Texas Medical Board has announced a meeting this Friday to further clarify exceptions to the state's stringent abortion ban. This comes after the Texas Supreme Court's decision in May, which upheld that the medical exceptions in the law are sufficiently broad, according to KXAN. The board is expected to make decisions on rules that could be put into effect after a 30-day public comment period that was initiated with proposals in March.

The March proposals by the Texas Medical Board included new language defining "reasonable medical judgment" and "medical emergency," aiming to give clearer guidelines to healthcare providers. "The March meeting emphasized that the decision to perform an abortion under medical exception is up to a physician, not a judge," as stated by KXAN. Moreover, the proposals also underlined that removing an ectopic pregnancy is not considered an abortion, a crucial differentiation for medical professionals operating under the ban.

There has been considerable back and forth about these clarifications. Amy and Steve Bresnen, attorneys who petitioned for the changes, discussed the implications of the Supreme Court's upholding with Spectrum News. Steve Bresnen said, "You have to show that there's no other reasonable physician that would support the abortion that was performed."

The point of contention is not only about the legal language but also about the practical application of the law. Critics argue that the lack of clear guidance leaves emergency room staff uncertain and afraid to act. As per Spectrum News, Qiana Arnold from The Afiya Center said, "I have four clients this year that that's been their experience. They got to the emergency room with a pregnancy with the hemorrhage." She stressed the dire consequences of such ambiguity, where inaction can lead to severe outcomes for patients.