TEXAS — Dr. Harold Miller, a retired obstetrician-gynecologist, said he will never forget the one time one of his patients died. The Air Force veteran who lives in Houston recounted more than 50 years ago how he tried to help a woman in her 20s who became infected after having an illegal abortion. He said he almost quit practicing medicine.
“Saturday morning she died and I cried. I was so upset that I had to do this training to be in a field and I couldn’t save her life. It was devastating for me,” said said Miller.
What do you want to know
- Saturday marks the 49th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision and comes when the current conservative High Court majority appears willing to uphold a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy .
- Abortion providers are preparing for the possibility of more people crossing state lines to obtain the procedure in places where such restrictions are not in effect.
- Collapse Roe v. Wade would refer the issue of abortion rights to the states. It would create a patchwork of laws across the country, and abortion rights would depend on where you live.
- If Roe doesn’t turn 50 and the landmark decision is reversed or reversed, nearly half of the states have signaled their intention to quickly further restrict abortion access.
This was before Roe v. Wade, the landmark US Supreme Court decision in 1973 that made access to abortion a constitutional right up to 22 weeks of pregnancy. A majority of the court found that Texas laws criminalizing abortion violated the right to privacy implied by the Constitution.
Saturday marks the 49th anniversary of the ruling and comes when the current conservative High Court majority appears willing to uphold a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. A decision is expected in early summer. The court has already refused to block a new Texas law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
Abortion providers are preparing for the possibility that more people will cross state lines to obtain the procedure in places where such restrictions are not in effect.
Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health, said staff at her clinic are being put in the unwilling position of having to explain these new rules to patients.
“People are shocked. They’re desperate, they’re begging us for alternatives,” Hagstrom Miller said. “Abortion has been safe and legal in this country for 49 years this month thanks to a case Sarah Weddington argued, a Texas Supreme Court case. And now look. Texas is undoing those decades of civil rights and justice that people across the country have been able to enjoy.”
Reducing Roe would send the issue of abortion rights back to the states. It would create a patchwork of laws across the country, and abortion rights would depend on where you live. It could also be an issue that Congress should address. Democrats want to pass a law making abortion legal, but currently have no Republican support.
“We have to be sensitive, we have to be compassionate. Women, girls who find themselves in this position of having an unwanted pregnancy must understand that abortion is not their only option. You know, what are we doing as a community to support them through this? said Rep. Beth Van Duyne, R-Irving. “What do we share with them in terms of financial help, emotional help, medical help, so they don’t feel like they’re forced into abortion?
In the House last year, when the United States House passed legislation to protect the right to abortion access, Van Duyne shared the devastation of a miscarriage while holding a model fetus .
“It’s very difficult and, you know, even years later, it still has an effect on women. You still feel that loss that I think we tend to ignore when we glorify abortion,” Van Duyne said.
As for Miller, he fears that there will be no more dangerous procedures if restrictive abortion laws are maintained.
“Women are going to have abortions. These will be illegal abortions, and they risk their reproductive health and/or their lives,” Miller said.
If Roe doesn’t turn 50 and the landmark decision is reversed or reversed, nearly half of the states have signaled their intention to quickly further restrict abortion access.