A Response And Call to Action
I had no plans to write this article, but given the recent events of the last 24 hours, I'm compelled. Thanks to a Texas judge suspending the use of the abortion pill mifepristone yesterday, this could result in the revocation of its FDA approval in one week if not challenged, further decreasing access in states that provide abortion care. Abortion care is a necessary right for women, crucial in promoting healthy pregnancies and childbirth.
A c-section is a happy surgery – the only surgery that ends with an additional life. While we have made significant progress in childbirth outcomes for women in the last century, we still have a long way to go. Maternal mortality rates in the US are significantly higher than those of other high-income countries, with Texas ranking 43rd out of 50 states. In 2020, the CDC reported that 72.7 women per 100,000 deliveries died in Texas, which is higher for black and Hispanic women. Pregnancy is not a benign state, and childbirth is not without risk. It’s a miraculous process, but there are many points during fetal development, gestation, and delivery where things can go wrong.
As a physician assistant, I swore to do no harm and educate and advocate for my patients. Until last fall, my practice was in obstetrics and gynecology, caring for the women of Galveston and the surrounding areas. While in this role, I did not attend births or manage pregnant women inpatients due to hospital regulations. I assisted in vaginal deliveries and first assisted in cesarean section (c-section) deliveries. Childbirth is a complex and visceral process with high energy, blood, and guts involved. You either love it or hate it, and I loved helping deliver babies.
I’m saddened by our state in repealing women’s rights and our current lack of control over our bodies. I’m angry and disheartened, unsure if I’ll choose pregnancy in a state and country that fails to protect me, my fellow women, or my future daughter. We must fight for women’s right to choose pregnancy and to improve birthing outcomes for our nation, state, and sex. May those on their pregnancy journey have a safe and happy delivery, and may we work together to birth change for future generations.