Jasbir Ahluwalia: Texas doc performed 67 abortions day before controversial ban

Texas doctor opens up about 'tremendous teamwork' the night before Texas' abortion ban went into effect, where his team performed 67 terminations


                            Jasbir Ahluwalia: Texas doc performed 67 abortions day before controversial ban
Pro-choice protesters march down Congress Avenue at a protest outside the Texas state capitol on May 29, 2021, in Austin, Texas (Sergio Flores/Getty Images)
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As the state of Texas is coming to terms with its controversial ban on abortion, stories of those fighting back are emerging each day. The latest person to open up is Jasbir Ahluwalia, an 83-year-old abortion provider in Fort Worth. On August 31, the day before the ban went into effect, Ahluwalia and his team performed 67 terminations, and the drastic shift he witnessed just 24 hours later. "We do reject a lot of patients, and that's very sad," he noted in his interview.

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The controversial law, which bans all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy has become the latest major debate to sweep the nation. On September 3, even the Satanic Temple in Salem, Massachusetts weighed in and called the law (SB 8) as "cynically designed". Numerous firms like Match Group, Uber, and Lyft have also weighed in, with support for those affected by the ban. The wider internet also got involved, flooding a site set to collect tips with porn and memes, leading to it being shut down. 

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Ahluwalia is one of the many Texans to stand up to the GOP, helping many women get safe terminations while it was still legal to do so. He's now opened up about the experience, in an interview with The Vice where he also had some strong words for the supporters of the ban. It's also an interesting addition to the story of the Kenyan-born doctor, who has had quite a life so far. 

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Who is Jasbir Ahluwalia?

Born to Indian parents in Kenya, Ahluwalia graduated from the Medical College Baroda in India in 1967. He then returned to live with his family in Uganda, where they were forced out in 1972 by dictator Idi Amin. But before being forced to flee, Uganda is where Ahluwalia had his first experience with abortion, something he had never studied for. A woman who was eight weeks pregnant ended up coming to Ahluwalia's hospital severely ill and septic, after having a back-alley abortion (abortions were illegal at the time in Uganda). Unfortunately, Ahluwalia could not save the woman, but the experience motivated him to switch expertise.

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The doctor then moved to London, in the UK where he got his ob-gyn board certification at the Royal College of OB-GYN, before moving to Texas in 1977. He now provides abortion services, along with family medicine, hospice, and palliative care at Whole Womans Health Of McAllen, Texas. With over five decades of medical experience, Ahluwalia has become a well-regarded doctor and has no intentions of stopping anytime soon.

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"I will continue to serve and walk through the front door of an abortion clinic and take care of the patients," for at least another 10 years he told The Vice. As proof of just how popular he is, you need look no further than August 31, 2021. "The workers—they want to take care of the patients. That was an amazing, amazing attitude I saw for the first time in all these 50 years of practice of medicine," he said, adding, "I saw tremendous, tremendous teamwork that night." The next day though, it was a very different scenario.

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Protesters hold up signs and cheer at a protest outside the Texas state capitol on May 29, 2021, in Austin, Texas. (Sergio Flores/Getty Images)

 

Ahluwalia says TX 'committing child abuse'

After working non-stop the night before, the team at Ahluwalia's clinic could only accept a fraction of patients the next day. "There's nobody in the clinic. It’s like an empty clinic," he said. The doctor called it a "sad, hollow feeling," and added, "Basically, I'm still a surgeon and I cannot do surgeries. Wow. Is that so? Who decided that? Not the medical board. Not the doctors. But some crazy politicians."

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"If this was Myanmar, Rwanda, or one of those countries, I’d understand. I'll just leave those countries like I did Uganda. But the United States? Countries are supposed to look at us, look at this country, as a leader, as an example to be copied. Is this what's going on here? That's what makes me sad," he added. He also had some choice words for the justice system, dubbing the Supreme Court a "kangaroo court".

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Ahluwalia also slammed those supporting the abortion ban, calling them the "Taliban of Texas." The doctor still has his clinic open, but now has to reject 40-60% of those who come. "A 15, 16-year-old is now forced to carry a pregnancy to term, and they don’t have any resources to go out of state? That’s sad. That is absolutely sad," he noted, and said, "To me, that looks like the state is committing child abuse."

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