Huntsville mental health professional discusses abortion law exception

WAAY 31 talked to the owner of Empower Behavioral Health, Alissa Lapidus. She said under the new law, her diagnosis won't count in the evaluation process, but if it did, she wouldn't be comfortable with giving one.

Posted: May 17, 2019 5:22 PM
Updated: May 17, 2019 5:22 PM

WAAY 31 has read through the entire new abortion law and learned there are exceptions for abortion if the mother is experiencing a mental health crisis, but there is a lot of red tape she would have to cut through to get approval.

The owner of Empower Behavioral Health, Alissa Lapidus, said under the new law, her diagnosis won't count in the evaluation process, but if it did, she wouldn't be comfortable with giving one.

"Could it be ADHD, Schizophrenia, depression and anxiety? Which one is going to predict whether or not there is a life-threatening situation for the mother of a child? How do you predict the severity of a mental illness?" she said.

Lapidus said she had questions about the new abortion law's mental health section after reading it. The law says a woman would be allowed to terminate a pregnancy if a mental condition would cause her to harm or kill herself or her unborn baby, but only after a second licensed psychiatrist gave the same diagnosis.

Lapidus said mental health professionals aren't supposed to make decisions for their clients, but empower them to make decisions for themselves.

"Are there legal repercussions? Can somebody come back and sue the doctor for malpractice because they didn't believe you were stable enough to have the baby and you went through with the abortion and then you went back on your meds?" Lapidus said.

She fears the process to get to termination could be even more harmful to the woman's health.

"An abortion is a very excruciating decision for a woman to make and forcing her to be scrutinized by medical professionals and legal team as to whether or not she's able to make that decision would cause a mental health issue or an emotional issue," Lapidus said.

She feels the law would not save lives if women don't have access to resources.

"I can't imagine how many suicides there will be if this goes into effect. Where a woman who has an abortion feels like she doesn't have any choice most of the time. It's very rare a woman has every choice in the world and doesn't have her baby. When people are suicidal, they feel like they are out of options and desperate. I feel like this law will kill more mothers and children than abortions do," she said.

Lapidus said she still has questions about why the law was written so vaguely and if any psychiatrist would be willing to sign off on someone's mental health status so they could get an abortion.

Mobile users: View the law here

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