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Texas Lawmakers Still on Mission to Restrict Abortion Access

Apparently passing the most draconian anti-abortion law in the country last session wasn’t enough. Anti-abortion radicals in the Texas Legislature were back at it this week, trying to pass laws that would further restrict access to abortion care. The anti-abortion bills heard this week make one thing absolutely clear: these extremists aren’t going to stop until they’ve eliminated access to safe, legal abortion care for all Texas women.

On Tuesday, the House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence heard testimony on HB 723 by Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford), a bill that would effectively ban abortion access for anyone under the age of 18 who is unable to involve a parent.

HB 723 would change the requirements for what a teenager would have to prove in order to get a judicial bypass for an abortion. Minors would have to prove all three grounds, rather than just one as is required by current law: that they are mature and well-informed, that notifying a parent would not be in their best interest and that there is a likelihood of abuse if a parent is notified.

According to Jane’s Due Process, it is rare for a teenager to need to access the judicial bypass process. In 2013, over half of the teenagers who obtained a judicial bypass through Jane’s Due Process were abused at home or feared they would be kicked out of the home for being pregnant.

On Wednesday, the House State Affairs Committee heard testimony on three more anti-abortion bills. Two bills by Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, HB 3446 and HB 3765, would place more practically and legally unnecessary restrictions on those seeking and providing abortion care in Texas.

HB 3765—which would require minors wanting an abortion to get their consent forms notarized—further perpetuates the myth of coerced abortion, is unnecessary regulation and unfairly targets abortion providers for regulation.

Under current informed consent law, minors and their parents must already sign a consent form. Requiring that the minor’s consent be notarized would disproportionately impact low income and rural Texans and jeopardize confidentiality.

HB 3446 would require abortion clinics to display signs with information about sex trafficking, child support, adoption and coercion. 

The bill singles out abortion providers and is not only a targeted attempt to over-regulate these health care providers, but also represents a lack of understanding about the populations the bill purports to help.

Another bill heard on Wednesday, HB 3374, would prohibit providers from giving out information about a woman’s legal right to terminate a pregnancy "when a prenatal test indicates that the unborn child has Down Syndrome or any other health condition.” 

Unfortunately, these aren’t the only bills Texas lawmakers have introduced aimed at restricting Texas women’s access to safe, legal and timely abortion care.

Take a stand and join the movement to restore trust in Texans to make their own reproductive health care decisions, respect for health care professionals, and access to the full range of reproductive health care in our state.