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The Republican Abortion Message Out of Texas is Clear: Judges, Not Doctors, Know Best

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Justices on Texas’ Supreme Court decided this week that a Dallas woman’s pregnancy was not risky enough, that she wasn’t in quite enough danger, to justify an abortion her doctors deemed necessary.

Swirl that around in your head for a moment. Justices, the legal experts, overruled doctors, the medial experts, in making a decision that could have profoundly impacted Kate Cox’s health and future fertility. She had already been to the emergency room four times with complications relating to her nonviable pregnancy. She was at risk of a potentially fatal uterine rupture or other complications.

But the Supreme Court said no, your life is not in enough danger to be excused from Texas’ strict ban on abortion.

Texas Supreme Court gives baffling reason for denying abortion

The bizarre reasoning is reflected in this excerpt from their ruling delivered Monday: “By requiring the doctor to exercise ‘reasonable medical judgment,’ the Legislature determined that the medical judgment involved must meet an objective standard. Dr. (Damla) Karsan asserted that she has a ‘good faith belief’ that Ms. Cox meets the exception’s requirements. Certainly, a doctor cannot exercise ‘reasonable medical judgment’ if she does not hold her judgment in good faith. But the statute requires that judgment be a ‘reasonable medical’ judgment, and Dr. Karsan has not asserted that her ‘good faith belief’ about Ms. Cox’s condition meets that standard.”

So because the words “reasonable medical judgment” were not used in the lower-court case, the Supreme Court knocked the whole thing down. To be clear, in the lower-court judge’s ruling in favor of Cox, the judge wrote that Cox’s doctor “believes in good faith, exercising her best medical judgment,” that an abortion is “medically recommended” and that Cox’s situation meets the medical exceptions to Texas’ abortion bans.

Apparently “best medical judgment” and “reasonable medical judgment” aren’t the same thing because the words “good faith” were in there.

If a national abortion ban comes, America will look like Texas

Setting aside the twisted notion that a woman needs to petition for permission to make a decision about her own reproductive health, the events that followed Cox’s original complaint serve as a warning for woman and their loved ones across the country about what could come from a national abortion ban, something many Republicans favor.

First, a judge sided with Cox and ruled she had met the standards for the state’s abortion exception. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton immediately reached out to the hospitals where Cox’s doctors have privileges and leveled a threat that no one involved in an abortion procedure would be safe from fines or prosecution.

He then appealed to the state Supreme Court, which on Friday put a hold on the lower court’s ruling. On Monday, the high court sided with Paxton, effectively parsing language Cox’s doctor used that the justices didn’t deem serious enough.

With Texas Supreme Court abortion ruling, GOP finds its death panels

I suppose congratulations are in order. It appears that in post-Roe America, Republicans have finally found the “death panels” they falsely and hysterically warned about more than a decade ago when protesting the creation of Obamacare.

In a 2009 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, former Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin wrote that President Barack Obama’s proposals in trying to expand access to health care “would still empower unelected bureaucrats to make decisions affecting life or death health-care matters. Such government overreaching is what we’ve come to expect from this administration.”

The secondary headline of her piece warned menacingly: “The president’s proposals would give unelected officials life-and-death rationing powers.”

Sarah Palin’s rhetoric was nonsense, but look at what’s happening now

It was, of course, abject nonsense. But now, after a conservative U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, look at what’s happening with life-or-death health care matters women are facing in red states that reverted to draconian abortion bans.

Before the Texas Supreme Court issued its ruling Monday, Cox had left the state to get the procedure her doctors deemed medically necessary. The mother of two was in her 21st week of pregnancy, and her fetus had been diagnosed with trisomy 18, a rare genetic disorder that almost always results in miscarriage or stillbirth.

A complaint filed on Cox’s behalf by the Center for Reproductive Rights said doctors told her that “her pregnancy may not survive to birth, and, if it does, her baby would be stillborn or survive for only minutes, hours, or days.”

Also, according to the complaint, “because Ms. Cox has had two prior cesarean surgeries (‘C-sections’), continuing the pregnancy puts her at high risk for severe complications threatening her life and future fertility, including uterine rupture and hysterectomy.”

Kate Cox was able to go out state for an abortion procedure. Many can’t.

If Cox didn’t have the resources and ability to travel to a state that allows abortions, her health – possibly even her life – would have been at risk. There will be women in Texas and other states with similar harsh abortion laws who will not have those resources, and they will be stuck with whatever decision gets handed down.

Their health, their lives, may well be in the hands of a group of judges with no medical training. In 2009, Palin bemoaned the idea of people who aren’t doctors making “decisions affecting life or death health-care matters.”

So let’s use the name that Palin and Co. concocted to fearmonger 14 years ago and apply it to something actually happening. You wanted to talk about death panels, Republicans? You’ve got ‘em.

But this time they’re terrifyingly real.

Source : USA TODAY

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