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If Only Texas Regulated Gun Ownership Like it Does Reproductive Rights

As the steady trend of ridiculous Texas laws related to abortion and Planned Parenthood continues unabated, all while the state maintains some of the laxest gun laws in the country, it feels like it’s only a matter of time before Texas lawmakers start passing bills protecting a fetus’s right to bear arms.

But until we get to that point, we’re just going to keep seeing more laws that stigmatize and further burden, shame, and endanger women seeking abortion and providers.

Just on Tuesday, a state law allowing college students to carry guns on campus went into effect — two days before the Texas House on Thursday passed a bill to require doctors to report abortions and all the circumstances around them to the state government.

From the Texas Tribune:

“Doctors would have to document how the minor obtained authorization to get an abortion. If she got a judicial bypass, the report to the state would include whether the doctor or another advocate helped her through the process, and how. If she obtained parental consent, the doctor must report where that happened. And if a doctor performs an emergency abortion on a minor, the report must include whether there was time to obtain parental consent. The bill, which passed on a 92 to 48 vote, would also require doctors who perform third-trimester abortions because of fetal abnormalities to report the identified abnormality to the state.”

State Rep. Jim Murphy, a Republican, explained that expanding the state’s existing reporting requirements for abortions performed on minors was “essentially a public health issue,” though it’s difficult to see the bill as anything but further shaming and regulating women’s bodily decisions when lawmakers like him seem uninterested in collecting reports on anything but abortion, when there are plenty of other, actual high-risk medical procedures being provided across the state.

Ironically enough, for all the anti-big government sentiments on the right, it was a Democrat who called out the obvious overreach.

“I think this is once again overreaching. We keep doing this; we keep inserting more government in our bedrooms, in our bathrooms,” state Rep. Carol Alvarado told the Tribune. “The people impacted by this are the physicians. We have not heard from the physicians that this is necessary.”

The Texas Medical Association, which represents 50,000 doctors and medical students, actually did comment on the the additional reporting requirements, saying “call for details on deeply personal decisions and on medical care, and reporting that does not contribute to public health,” and added that it was “troublesome” to “force the physician, in an emergency situation, to think first about whether there is sufficient time to talk to the patient’s parents prior to performing an abortion” in a situation when “even a short delay could negatively impact patient care.”

If public health and safety were really the concern here, lawmakers would be listening to doctors about the dangers of creating barriers to access, and making abortion and birth control more readily available to young people — just like we’re seeing them do with with guns.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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