Even before the legislative session convened, abortion rights advocates were bracing for an extremely hostile environment and Greg Abbott and Texas Republicans delivered with one of the most extreme anti-abortion bills in the country, which essentially bans abortion after six weeks. And Republicans in Texas aren’t done: now they want to go after medication abortion.
When Abbott announced the 11 agenda items for the special session, he made sure to include another abortion ban. Specifically, he is requesting a bill, “which prohibits people from providing abortion-inducing drugs by mail or delivery service, strengthens the laws applicable to the reporting of abortions and abortion complications, and ensures that no abortion-inducing drugs are provided unless there is voluntary and informed consent.”
Abbott also mentioned that the legislation should be similar to Senate Bill 394 from this year’s legislative session. SB 394 banned abortion-inducing drugs after seven weeks. According to the Guttmacher Institute, medication abortion is extremely safe, and accounted for 39 percent of abortions in the United States in 2017.
In a comment to the Texas Signal, Texas Equal Access Fund Executive Director Kamyon Conner emphasized the misguided attempt to further restrict access to abortion. “Medication abortion has allowed people to self-manage their abortions in the comfort of their homes and is one of the safest options,” said Conner. She also pointed to polling from earlier this year that showed a majority of Texans support lifting a ban on Medicaid coverage for abortions.
“Texans need more access to healthcare, not less,” Conner said. “Governor Abbott and the Texas legislature should focus on passing laws that actually help Texans.”
Cristina Parker, the Communications Director for another abortion fund group in Texas Lilith Fund, echoed the sentiments of Conner in regards to healthcare and Abbott’s request for another abortion ban. “It’s just beyond disappointing that blocking people’s access to healthcare is the first priority for our governor,” said Parker in a comment to the Texas Signal. “The most extreme ban on abortion wasn’t enough for them and now this. They won’t stop, but neither will abortion funds,” said Parker.
Democrats in the Senate successfully tagged a hearing that was supposed to happen in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee today. It is now postponed indefinitely.