Commentary Abortion

Abortion Didn’t Start With Roe v. Wade. Safe Abortion Did

Amy Hagstrom Miller

"Abortion didn’t start with Roe v. Wade; safe abortion started with Roe v. Wade. Women have always had abortions, and the issue at hand here is what kind of abortions are we willing to let Texas women have?"

The following is testimony given by Whole Woman’s Health President and CEO Amy Hagstrom Miller at Thursday’s Texas House State Affairs Committee hearing on HB 60, at which some 700 pro-choice Texans signed up to testify as part of a “people’s filibuster.”

See all our coverage of the “people’s filibuster” here.

Madame chairwoman and honorable committee members,

Thank you for hearing my testimony today. My name is Amy Hagstrom Miller, and I oppose these bills. I am the president and CEO of Whole Woman’s Health. We operate licensed abortion facilities in the state of Texas, one of them being an ambulatory surgical center.

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Over 68 percent of the women we serve are mothers; all of them are responsible, trustworthy, compassionate, ethical, and caring women. The women we serve are your friends, your co-workers, your family, and your fellow Texans.

Abortion didn’t start with Roe v. Wade; safe abortion started with Roe v. Wade. Women have always had abortions, and the issue at hand here is what kind of abortions are we willing to let Texas women have? Many people have very strong feelings and beliefs about abortion. We all have a right to those feelings and those beliefs. But feelings and beliefs should not inform scientific law and medical policy in the state of Texas.

These laws are specifically crafted, all of them, to reduce women’s access to abortion in Texas, plain and simple. The bills do nothing to prevent abortions or prevent unplanned pregnancy. They do nothing to change the need for abortion among Texas women. Texas women will still need safe abortion care—the current statistic is that 1 in 3 women will have an abortion in her lifetime. If these restrictions pass, we will have a public health crisis in the state of Texas, as thousands of women will be without proper care.

Abortion is one of the most common and safe procedures in medicine; it is 14 times safer than childbirth. We know the abortion decision is often surrounded by heartache, as no one plans to have an abortion. For many women, experiencing abortion is not simply medical, but involves emotional and spiritual exploration as well. Because of this, women deserve a safe place to receive this level of care—a safe medical clinic that is license by the state with board-certified physicians, highly trained nurses, and compassionate counselors. Texas women deserve the best care available, and Texas women receive that care now in the 47 licensed, safe, legal, and reputable abortion facilities already offering care in our state.

There is no reason for passing any one of these bills. They do not solve a “safety problem” for women in Texas. Texan women have been able to count on safe, legal abortion care for over 40 years, and the Department of State Health Services has record of year after year of safe abortion care in licensed abortion facilities in Texas. I strongly oppose the passing of these bills, and I have serious concern for our citizens if these bills were to pass and restrict access to safe care for thousands of women in our state. Thank you again for hearing my testimony.

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