ICYMI: Texas Has Passed Almost Twenty Abortion Restrictions Since 1973

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Two days from now, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case that will determine the future of abortion access in Texas. This isn’t the first time Texas has been in the Supreme Court spotlight for abortion access. Roe v. Wade, the landmark case from 1973 that led to the recognition of abortion as a constitutionally protected right, came out of Texas, too.

Since that moment, the Texas legislature has passed over eighteen laws focused on restricting the access to abortion care in our state. Here they are:

  • 1977 Texas law allows hospitals the right to refuse to perform abortions in any circumstance. (Texas Occupations Code Sections 103.001-.004.)
  • 1985 Restricts the provision of abortion to physicians licensed by the state. (Texas Health & Safety Code Section 245.010(b))
  • 1989 Prohibits Medicaid funds from being used to cover abortion care unless the life of the mother is at risk, effectively barring low income women in Texas from insurance coverage for abortion services. (Texas Health & Safety Code Section 32.005.)
  • 2003
    1. Mandatory 24 hour waiting period between consultation and procedure. (Texas Health & Safety Code Section 171.012.)
    2. Legislature requires doctors to give patients medically inaccurate information about abortion, including information about a completely debunked link between abortion and breast cancer, along with images of fetal development and available assistance for pre-natal and childbirth healthcare. (Texas Health and Safety Code Sections 171.11-016)
    3. Legislature requires doctors to give patients a list of “counseling” organizations – which include anti-abortion groups known to give patients medically inaccurate information.(Texas Health and Safety Code Sections 171.013-015)
    4. All abortions provided after 16 weeks must take place in an ambulatory surgical center or licensed hospital. (Texas Health and Safety Code Section 171.004)
  • 2005
    1. Prohibits the Texas Department of Health and Human Services from giving any contracts to health care providers who perform abortion services or who are affiliated with abortion care facilities. (Texas Human Resource Code Section 32.024 (c-1))
    2. Beginning of state funding for crisis pregnancy centers – organizations that purposefully misrepresent themselves as clinics in order to give biased, anti-abortion information and guidance to pregnant people. (SB1)
  • 2006 First parental consent law passed, requiring patients under the age of 18 to get parental consent before they can access abortion care. (Texas Administration Code Section 165.6)
  • 2011
    1. The Texas Department of Health and Human Services, and all employees of the agency, are barred from referring patients to organizations that provide or promote abortion care. (Texas Human Resource Code Section 32.024)
    2. Creation of the “Choose Life” license plate option, which funds an anti-abortion organization. (Texas Government Code Sections 402.036-037, Texas Transportation Code Section 504.662)
    3. Mandatory sonogram for all patients seeking abortion care regardless of whether the sonogram is deemed medically necessary, which must be displayed for the patient and described by the doctor, and has to be performed at least 24 hours prior to the abortion by the physician who will provide the abortion services. (Texas Health and Safety Code Section 171.012)
  • 2013
    1. All abortion providers required to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers. (Texas Health and Safety Code Section 245.010)
    2. Physicians providing abortion care must have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility. (Texas Health and Safety Code Section 171.0031, Texas Administration Code Section 139.56)
    3. Ban on abortions after 20 weeks, with exceptions for the life of the mother and the presence of severe fetal anomalies. (Texas Health and Safety Code Sections 171.041-048)
    4. Strict limitations placed on access to non-surgical abortion care based on outdated FDA regulations, including that the medication has to be given by a physician at a licensed abortion facility, the physician must be present when both pills are taken, and that the patient must return for a follow-up visit no more than 14 days after taking the abortion-inducing pill. (Texas Health and Safety Code Sections 171.061-064)
  • 2015 Legislature tightens regulations regarding access to judicial bypass for minors seeking abortion care, requires that all patients seeking an abortion must provide government-issued identification. (Texas Family Code Sections 33.002-003)

In the 2015 legislative session alone, twenty-four anti-abortion measures were filed.

As the Supreme Court prepares to hear the oral arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, Texans can help shape the conversation around this potential landmark decision by educating themselves and their friends about the facts of abortion access in Texas. This video from ProgressTexas explains four decades of restrictions in two minutes:

It’s time to speak up, speak out, and let the world know that Texans are still fighting back.


About Author

Genevieve Cato

Genevieve Cato is a feminist activist and a native Texan. While not writing for the Burnt Orange Report, she can be found working for NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, serving as a community member of the Communications Committee for the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, and drinking copious amounts of pretentious local craft beers.

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