Texas Health Department’s Choice Sparks Abortion Debate

Texas Health Department's Choice Sparks Abortion Debate
Texas Health Department's Choice Sparks Abortion Debate. Credit | Getty images

United States: Due to State’ strict abortion laws, doctors are warning that it’s putting the women’s lives at risk and as a result the Texas health department propounded an outspoken opponent of abortion to a committee that examines pregnancy-related deaths.

Anti-Abortion Advocate Named

The Texas Department of State Health Services announced the appointment of Dr. Ingrid Skop to the Texas Maternal Morality and Morbidity Review Committee last week. June 1st is the commencement of her term.

The group is supposed to evaluate the effect of abortion legislation on maternal mortality in addition to compiling statistics on pregnancy-related deaths and recommending best practices and legislative changes to the Legislature.

Committee Purpose and Skop’s Role

Skop is vice president and director of medical affairs at the Charlotte Lozier Institute, an anti-abortion research organization. She has over thirty years of experience as an OB-GYN. Skop will serve as the rural representative on the committee.

Skop, who spent the majority of her career in San Antonio, stated to the Houston Chronicle that she has “frequently provided care for women who are commuting from rural Texas maternity deserts, including women who are experiencing complications from abortions.”

Debate Over Abortion Laws

Physicians have asked for clarification on Texas’s medical exemption, which permits an abortion to save a woman’s life or avoid the impairment of a key bodily function, as the state has one of the strictest abortion prohibitions in the nation. Physicians claim that because of the exemption’s ambiguity, it is difficult to provide life-saving care out of concern about the consequences. In Texas, a doctor found guilty of performing an unlawful abortion faces up to 99 years in jail, a fine of USD 100,000, and the loss of their medical license.

Controversial Statements and Criticism

According to Skop, medical groups are not providing physicians with the appropriate direction on this issue. During a congressional hearing in 2021, she expressed further divisive opinions, stating that rape or incest victims as young as 9 or 10 could carry pregnancies to term.

There is no exception to Texas’s abortion law for rape or incest cases.

The Texas committee’s members should be “unbiased, free of conflicts of interest and focused on the appropriate standards of care,” according to a statement from the

Impact of Appointment on Abortion Access

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which states that abortion is “inherently tied to maternal health.” The organization cited research pieces co-authored by Skop and others connected to the Charlotte Lozier Institute, noting that prejudice against abortion has already resulted in “compromised” analyses.

Due to author conflicts of interest and methodological errors, a medical journal earlier this year withdrew research from studies backed by the Charlotte Lozier Institute that purported to demonstrate the negative effects of the abortion drug mifepristone. A significant Texas court decision that has put access to the medication in jeopardy referenced two of the studies.