BISF hosts expert panel on abortion health policy

Maria Morkas / Drescher

By Maria Morkas 10/5/22 00:04

On September 29, the Baker Institute Student Forum hosted an expert panel on abortion health. The panel discussed topics such as abortion from a healthcare provider’s perspective, advocacy for abortion, and creating a culture and community of trust at the university level.

The panellists included Dr. Rola El-Serag, director of the Center for Health and Life Sciences at the Baker Institute, Dr. Robert Carpenter and Dr. Claire Horner of Baylor College of Medicine, Public Health Advisor Natalie Minas, and Planned Parenthood Representative Nikki Banneyer.

Thomas Kovac and Oliver Hutt-Sierra, BISF Presidents, said they were pleased with the good attendance at an event that touched on an important political issue.

“Although the BISF, as a non-partisan organization, does not endorse views on political issues and asks neutral questions, the passionate and sometimes partisan discourse among panelists demonstrated the importance of dialogue on the issue,” said Kovac, a senior at Wiess College, and Hutt- Sierra, a Martel College graduate, wrote in an email to the Thresher. “We are always pleased to host events that facilitate dialogue on relevant policy issues, and we look forward to hosting more events this semester.”

El-Serag said she believes health policy should be guided by scientific data rather than other factors such as ideologies.

“We have scientific data that can guide us in creating, creating or developing legislation that is in the best interest of the well-being of women in our society… Our role as scientists and healthcare providers is to provide that data and translate it into a.” meaningful legislation,” said El-Serag.

Allison Stocks, president of the Rice chapter on Planned Parenthood, said she believes abortion is a necessary health care, whether elective or medically necessary, and that it should be a right between the patient and their doctor.

“I think that’s a protected right that’s been enshrined in it [Roe v. Wade]and the upset of it was contrary rigid decision‘ said Stocks, a junior at Lovett College.

El-Serag said that from a public health perspective, health is not seen only as a disease, but also includes the social determinants of health. According to the World Health Organization, public health encompasses all aspects of well-being, such as: B. Mental health, as these things affect outcomes such as reproductive health.

“We’re not just talking about women [whose] Lives are at risk because they have a certain underlying condition,” El-Serag said. “But we do know, for example, that when women have no choice and are denied abortions, there is data to support that…there are several aspects of their lives that are negatively impacted, [like] their socio-economic impact.”

Stocks said she thinks it’s important to have conversations with education experts, political advisers, doctors, lawyers and friends about abortion because it’s great for learning.

“Any conversation that brings up abortion normalizes it and more,” Stocks said. “And it needs to be normalized because it’s a medical procedure that’s not politicized in other countries for a reason; it is not up for debate. But it’s also something that was even legal and under Roe v. calf, [when] People could have an abortion if they needed or wanted one, there was still a stigma about it.”

El-Serag said it’s important that every woman or woman advocate understands the seriousness of the reproductive health situation in the United States and is well-informed about the legislation and the implications of both.

“It is a violation of a woman’s ability to decide what is best for her health. And that, in my opinion, is a fundamental insult to a woman’s right to determine her future,” El-Serag said. “But also from a medical perspective, it interferes with the very important patient-provider relationship; this is part of the informed consent process that is so important for women to be able to make the best decisions for themselves from a health perspective.”

In an email to The Thresher, Juliana Phan, director of public relations for BISF, said they held this event because they felt there was a need for this discussion with people, such as college students, who are particularly affected by abortion policies .

“I understand that events like this can only make so much difference – conversation and discussion are just that, and knowing a political situation is not the same as changing it,” wrote Phan, a Lovett College senior. “If it’s within their power, I hope that at least some attendees at the event will be motivated to use this information and stand up for what they believe in.”

El-Serag said that from a political perspective, this is a voting issue and changes need to be made at the state level.

“It will be very interesting to see the outcome of this upcoming legislature because there are many laws… [about] Reproductive health rights,” El-Serag said. “Personally, I think it will depend on how critical an issue is for women in the state versus women of lower socioeconomic status. If it’s an issue important enough to get them to vote, maybe we can do something, but I’m not sure there’s enough awareness of the seriousness of the situation.”

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