A measure in Texas which would have required doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital was blocked by a federal judge, Monday. If the law had taken effect, as many as one-third of the abortion clinics in Texas could have been forced to close. The judge ruled that the measure was “without rational basis” and that it placed unacceptable burdens on women seeking abortions. The judge upheld the part of the law that requires doctors to use a particular drug protocol in nonsurgical, medication-induced abortions.
This occurs as part of a wide spread effort to restrict the methods and manner of abortions across the country. Similar measures have been blocked in Alabama, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. In total, across the country 134 laws have been passed putting restrictions on abortion in the past two years. Other laws have targeted the time of the abortion, with some laws trying to push the latest acceptable point to 20 weeks and under.
In Oklahoma, a law was passed that says you cannot use any drugs not approved by the F.D.A. to induce an abortion. The problem is that there are no drugs approved by the F.D.A. for the on label purposes of abortion. This law has been challenged and will go up to the U.S. Supreme Court, after being struck down by the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
One of the biggest questions surrounding the future of abortion is the issue of viability. Viability is the point which a fetus has a reasonable chance for survival if it was born at the moment. Since some babies are born premature, this distinction makes sense. Thanks to advances in medical science, however, the moment of viability is becoming earlier and earlier. Would we consider a blastocyst viable if we had the technology to raise it in an artificial womb?
Some people then say that unaided viability should be the marker. This raises a whole new slew of problems. What about the elderly and infirm who cannot live without medical assistance? Would a man with a pacemaker be considered legally dead, or subhuman? It is a problem of logical consistency. As medical science marches on, we will be forced to choose between having our cake and eating it.
The New York Times, Judge in Texas Partly Rejects Abortion Law: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/29/us/judge-blocks-part-of-texas-abortion-law.html?_r=0