Texas “trigger law” poses new challenges for obstetricians

Obstetrician looking at documents in a clinic

Leah D. Tatum, MD, Ob/Gyn at ARC North Austin Ob/Gyn, sat down with Spectrum News 1 Austin recently to discuss the new reality physicians are facing as Texas trigger laws go into effect following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade earlier this summer.

The trigger law raises the penalty for performing abortions in Texas, criminalizing any attempt by a medical professional to provide procedures that result in fetal demise. The law has a few exceptions, including situations of life and death, but the language is vague about circumstances, leaving many medical professionals uncertain of when they can intervene.

ARC Ob/Gyn physicians, who do not perform and have never performed elective abortions, are nevertheless challenged with providing the appropriate care to patients needing medically necessary procedures.

"Providers are human, and facing the possibility of being a felon as this law takes effect is going to cause anybody who's human pause when you may know what you need to do from a medical standpoint," said Dr. Tatum in the interview.

"I think the person that understands the nuances of a particular patient's care and how the medical decision-making affects them is the provider sitting in the room with them," concluded Dr. Tatum.

Read or watch the full interview at Spectrum News 1 Austin.

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