The Republican-led Texas House advanced legislation this week that would ban abortion-inducing medication after seven weeks of pregnancy.
The bill targets Mifeprex and misoprostol, a regimen of drugs used to end pregnancies early, as well as other generic versions of the medicine.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the use of Mifeprex and misoprostol for up to 10 weeks after the start of pregnancy. The legislation being pushed in the House would cut that time Texas physicians have to prescribe the medicine by a third.
Health care providers that disobey the new time restraints would face a state jail felony.
The state House voted 83-42 to advance the legislation, authored in the Senate by Eddie Lucio Jr., a conservative Democrat. A third and final vote is needed to pass the legislation in the House.
Mifeprex has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration since 2000. Health officials of more than 60 other countries have also approved the drug.
The bill also bans the medicine from being sent by mail and requires doctors to have the informed consent of patients who are being prescribed the drug, provisions that already exist under Texas law.
“What we see in this legislation are outdated medical recommendations being codified, and access to medication abortion being rolled back by three weeks of gestation,” argued Democratic Rep. Erin Zwiener (D-Driftwood).
To first pass the bill out of committee, lawmakers refused public testimony and gathered in a room where no live stream was available.
Texas health care providers are also threatened by a new law that would ban abortion after six weeks of pregnancy and allow citizens to sue providers.