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How Today’s Near-total Abortion Ban in Texas Was 20 Years in the Making.

Since 2000, Texas lawmakers have successfully reduced the number of abortions in the state by restricting access to the procedure.

Here is a list of Texas laws since 2000 that restrict abortion access.

2000 – First parental notification law goes into effect

  • Doctors must notify a parent 48 hours before an abortion is performed on a child under the age of 18. Notification can be waived if a teen seeks permission from a judge for the procedure, known as “judicial bypass.”

2003 – The “Women’s Right to Know Act.”

  • All abortions after 16 weeks must take place in an outpatient surgery center or a hospital.
  • Women must wait 24 hours before getting an abortion.
  • Additions to the law come in 2011.

2005 – 24-week ban, more restrictions for teens

  • All abortions banned after 24 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Tightens previous parental notification law. Doctors must have court order or parental permission to perform an abortion on underage teens. A requirement that the required form must be notarized, was added in 2006.
  • All abortions banned after 24 weeks of pregnancy.
  • State funding provided to crisis pregnancy centers and other nonprofit organizations that counsel pregnant patients against having an abortion.

2011 – Sonogram law, taxpayer dollar restrictions

  • Women are required to get a sonogram 24 hours before an abortion.
  • A physician must display and describe the sonogram to the woman, including the dimensions and features of the embryo or fetus. Also, the physician must describe and make the heartbeat of the fetus audible so that the woman can hear if a heartbeat is present.
  • Texas agencies can no longer use tax dollars to provide or “promote” abortions and they are forbidden from from contracting with facilities that provide abortion care.

2013 – More restrictions on doctors, facilities, patients, “medication” abortion

  • Doctors performing an abortion must have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility.
  • Abortion after 20 weeks post-fertilization is banned, unless a patient is at risk of death or the fetus has a severe medical problem.
  • Doctors administering medication abortion must follow a state-mandated protocol.
  • All abortion facilities must meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers, even if a facility provides abortion only by administering pills to swallow.

2017 – Second-trimester abortions, restrictions on insurance coverage

  • Texas banned the most-used procedure for second-trimester abortions, forcing doctors to either use experimental procedures or stop providing second-trimester abortions altogether. Abortion rights advocates challenged this law as an undue burden on the right to abortion, and a court agreed and stopped the law from going into effect.
  • Texas bans insurers from including coverage for abortion in a comprehensive health insurance plan, requiring people to purchase separate coverage for abortion care.

2019 – Stricter rules on government partnerships, assistance

  • Criminal penalties for abortion providers who do not provide medical treatment to a fetus if born after an abortion. This scenario is virtually impossible because all abortions are banned after 20 weeks and a fetus is not viable until 24 weeks.
  • Government entities prevented from entering partnerships or providing assistance to clinics that are affiliated with abortion providers, even if they do not provide abortion themselves. This cuts off vital support to communities who rely on these low-cost clinics for basic health care like birth control, gynecological exams, cancer screenings, diabetes testing and much more.

2021 – Texas Heartbeat Law

  • Bans abortion as early as six weeks in pregnancy, when an embryo’s cardiac activity is detected — before many people know they are pregnant.
  • Also authorizes private individuals to file civil lawsuits to “enforce” the abortion ban. This allows anyone to sue the health care provider and seek a court order that would block the patient’s abortion and prevent the provider from performing any abortion after approximately six weeks in pregnancy.

This story originally appeared in the Texas Tribune. To read this article in its original format, click here.


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