Texas law already makes it difficult for women to have abortions. According to the Guttmacher Institute, a woman seeking an abortion must receive counseling that includes information to discourage her from having an abortion. (Then, there's a 24-hour waiting period.) She must also undergo an ultrasound before obtaining an abortion. All of this assumes that our hypothetical woman can even find an abortion provider, as 92% of Texas counties don't have one.
All of this is bad news for Texas women, and not just for those who are seeking abortions, either. While the current bill focuses on abortion, it's just the latest in a series that restricts health care for women. In 2011, the Texas Legislature cut the Department of State Health Services Family Planning program, and 53 women's healthcare clinics have closed since then. The state's Women's Health Program, which serves 130,000 women, lost its federal funding. (Funding has since been restored for 2014, but getting things back up to speed will take time.) And, with this new bill making it harder for abortion providers to stay legal, that means that access to their other healthcare services (including annual exams, mammograms, and contraception) could become scarce.
What's next? Texas Republicans are expected to use their majority power to push the measure through the state Senate before a special session wraps up tomorrow. Meanwhile, Governor Perry is supporting the anti-abortion measures. “We have an obligation to protect unborn children, and to hold those who peddle these abortions to standards that would minimize the death, disease, and pain they cause,” he said earlier this month. Talk about messing with Texas women — and restricting their ability to make whatever choices are right for them.
(The Washington Post)
Photo: Courtesy of Texas Legislature.