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Sarah Lipton-Lubet, Director of Reproductive Health Programs

From the desk of ... Sarah Lipton-Lubet

No Rest This Summer for Texas Abortion Rights Advocates

August 24, 2017 | Reproductive Health > Abortion

When Texas Governor Greg Abbott called a special month-long legislative session this summer, it quickly became clear that blocking women’s access to abortion care was high on his list of legislative priorities. Unfortunately, the state legislature passed three new abortion restrictions, which Gov. Abbott has signed into law.

The first harmful new law bans insurance coverage for abortion care in private insurance plans. This law forces women who want abortion coverage to purchase it separately from their existing insurance plans. It also unreasonably assumes that women plan ahead to have an abortion. As with so many of Texas’ terrible abortion restrictions, this law will disproportionately harm low-income, young women of color who already face steep barriers to obtaining abortion care in the state.

The second new measure requires abortion providers to report unnecessarily detailed information about women younger than 18 who obtain abortion care, including how a woman received permission for her care. This law is an alarming invasion of privacy, undermines the autonomy of young people seeking abortion care and betrays the trust that is essential to the patient-provider relationship.

The third new restriction requires abortion providers to report medically unnecessary personal information about the patient, such as county of residence, marital status and race. Each year, aggregate data on women who obtain abortion care will be posted online. As with the other new reporting requirement, this bill does nothing to improve the quality of abortion care and will undermine the patient-provider relationship. And by adding yet another regulatory burden on providers, it will waste precious health care resources.

“Texas legislators used this special session to enact laws that shame and punish women who seek abortion care and make that care more difficult to access. They disregarded the very real harms these restrictions have on women, especially our state’s most vulnerable women,” says Kathy Miller, executive director of the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund (TFNEF), a grassroots advocacy organization in the state. “The reality is that abortion care is an integral part of women’s health care, and we will keep fighting until our laws in Texas reflect that reality.”

In addition to attacking abortion access during the special session, the legislature failed to pass a “bathroom bill” that would have allowed discrimination against transgender people in many public buildings. As with the abortion restrictions, the “bathroom bill” relies on misinformation and myths. This pattern has to stop. The National Partnership is proud to partner with TFNEF on the “Lies Into Laws” campaign to call out the Texas lawmakers who continue to disregard science, medical evidence and the needs of Texas citizens in order to block access to abortion care and discriminate against transgender people. Learn more, and join the fight, at lies.tfn.org.


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