Texas' multiple laws banning abortion have doctors speaking in code, refusing to counsel patients, and have essentially chilled their abilities to discuss abortion. Doctors are finding ways to suggest patients take a nice hike in a state that doesn't regulate women's rights to their own bodies, but even that seems risky. The fear of being turned in by a neighbor or awful little quislings posing as patients and seeking to entrap medical professionals is beyond the pale.
"It's just absolutely crippling," says Lauren Miller's OB-GYN, who asked that NPR not use her name because she is not authorized by her employer to speak with the media.
Many doctors are unwilling to speak publicly about this issue. A half dozen Texas OB-GYNs NPR contacted for this story didn't respond or declined to comment.
"People are scared to talk," says Dr. Andrea Palmer, an OB-GYN in Fort Worth. If a doctor acknowledges publicly that they counsel their patients on abortion, she adds, they might worry they would be set up by someone posing as a patient or family member looking to bait them into talking about abortion and then sue.