Houston doctors fear rise in maternal mortality without abortion protections

Shelley Childers Image
Saturday, June 25, 2022
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"Let's be clear, abortion will always be necessary," said Dr. Rashmi Kudesia, an OB/GYN and fertility specialist.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston doctors worry about maternal mortality rates following the repeal of abortion rights in Texas.

"I could not more strongly condemn the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe V. Wade," said Dr. Rashmi Kudesia, an OB/GYN and fertility specialist.

She, along with Dr. Lee Bar-Eli, a family physician, says the ruling intervenes with what is a private medical issue.

"How many more things are we going to accept where they dictate how we practice medicine?" said Dr. Bar-Eli.

Without the choice of abortion, these doctors say their female patients are now in a dangerous place.

"Compared to 10 similarly developed nations, the U.S. has the worst maternal care and the highest maternal mortality rate," said Dr. Bar-Eli. "As evidence shows, banning abortions would significantly increase the number of women who die in childbirth."

Abortions they say are safe, normal healthcare for both unwanted and wanted pregnancies, and stigmatizing abortion as a crime they fear will cost lives.

"I had a patient die at 19 weeks of pregnancy from heart failure," said Dr. Kudesia. "It was a highly desired pregnancy, she was already a mother to a toddler."

But Dr. Kudesia says the decision for a medically induced abortion came too late to save her life.

"Let's be clear, abortion will always be necessary, and I say that as a fertility specialist with patients that typically are working from very highly desired pregnancies."

These doctors worry about the extra burdens - financially, emotionally, and physically women and teens in Texas now face.

"When I'm referring them to get an abortion, it's because something went very wrong. And it's already very, very hard. And I just cannot believe that now, on top of all that emotion and difficulty, we'll now have to figure out how to get pills sent from another state or how to fly my patient to Illinois or Colorado."

Information on where to get a safe, legal abortion, and established funds to help with travel costs, can be found on the need abortion website.

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