Tell Texas Medical Board to Protect Pregnant Texans, Doctors, and Abortion Rights

Public Comment is open on the Board’s rules for abortions in Texas until June 1

Rules on Exceptions to Abortion Bans

The Texas Medical Board is receiving public comments until June 1 regarding their new rule on “medical emergencies” in the context of “Exceptions to Abortion Bans.”

On March 22, the Texas Medical Board neglected to adequately clarify what constitutes a “medical emergency'' as it relates to exceptions to Texas’ statewide abortion bans. The Board proposed a rule, defining a medical emergency as “a life-threatening physical condition aggravated by, caused by, or arising from a pregnancy that, as certified by a physician, places the woman in danger of death or a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function unless an abortion is performed.”

This is dangerous and far too broad to provide a pathway for healthcare providers to safely administer reproductive abortion care for their patients, without fear of retaliation (by extremist leaders or SB 8 entitled citizens) who lob penalties of up to $100,000 and up to 99 years in prison. For a more in-depth look at this situation, please read our blog, ”Protect Abortion Rights: Provide Public Comment to the Texas Medical Board.”

Leave a Comment!

You can leave a comment today! Visit this link to share why it is critical to protect pregnant Texans and their right to quality, reproductive healthcare. It is up to all of us to advocate for abortion rights, and you can help by sharing with the Board. 

We suggest you mark your comment as OPPOSED to the rules.

We have provided a sample comment below that you are free to add to in your response.

Sample Comment:

“Dear Texas Medical Board Members,

We need clarity now on what the Texas Medical Board views as medical emergencies so doctors and patients can freely navigate access to reproductive healthcare. As it is currently, the definition is extremely broad, with no mention of the long list of conditions that complicate pregnancies and endanger lives. Your prompt action will save lives and futures.

Please adopt rules that clarify the following:

  1. Clarify that the “medical emergency” exception to the abortions bans applies where pregnancy “places the woman in danger of either (1) “death,” or (2) “a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function.” 
  2. The proposed regulations could define and/or clarify the terms that have created the biggest confusion for physicians, including: “serious risk” and “substantial impairment.” 
  3. The Board should also clarify that a physician can provide an abortion as soon as they identify these dangers, without waiting until life-threatening symptoms manifest. 
  4. Physicians need clarification regarding when they can provide abortions in medical emergencies, not additional requirements to discourage them from doing so. I object to the wording of proposed § 165.8(a) because it is likely to deter, rather than foster, physicians from providing standard-of-care abortions in medical emergencies. Physicians are already being deterred from providing such care due to the threats of criminal prosecution, up to life imprisonment, massive civil penalties, and loss of license. 
  5. State how physicians can ensure their medical judgments meet the standard for "reasonable medical judgment" required for a medical emergency exception.
  6. Provide the level of detail and legally sufficient evidence that must be present to substantiate a claim that an abortion was not protected by a medical emergency exception.

Physicians face loss of their medical license, life imprisonment, and more than $100,000 in civil fines. They need clarity regarding how and when their medical judgment will be respected before they will be comfortable relying on the medical exception as the legislature intended. As written, the proposed rules do nothing to provide physicians with reassurance that their judgment will not be second guessed. 

Please review these additions, and thank you for your commitment to protecting Texan lives.

Sincerely, __________”

Take action today by leaving your comment, and sharing this opportunity with friends, family, and co-workers - everyone is impacted when our right to healthcare is taken away.