As of October 1, 2011, Texas state law requires all women seeking an abortion to make at least two visits to the abortion facility.
Why do I have to make two visits for an abortion?
In 2011, the Texas Legislature passed a bill that requires women to have an ultrasound at least 24 hours before she has an abortion. Planned Parenthood always puts women's health first. We opposed this unnecessary and intrusive law because there is no medical reason to require that women obtain an ultrasound 24 hours before an abortion is performed. Ultrasounds have been a standard part of abortion services at Planned Parenthood and are performed on every patient before any type of abortion procedure is done. In addition, Planned Parenthood medical standards offered the option to view the sonogram image if the patient chose to do so.
Beginning October 1, 2011, Texas women have to make at least two trips to a health center for an abortion: the first for an ultrasound, and the second for the procedure. We understand that requiring multiple visits makes things more challenging for women during a stressful time, but it is now mandated by Texas state law.
What else is required?
In 2003, the Texas Legislature passed a law requiring physicians to give women seeking abortions state-mandated information about medical risks, adoption alternatives, and developmental stages of the fetus. This information must be provided 24 hours in advance of the abortion procedure, when the woman receives her required ultrasound.
You have the right to access certain information concerning any abortion facility by calling the Texas Department of State Health Services at 1-888-973-0022 (toll free).
The Texas Department of State Health Services is also responsible for any complaints. You may register complaints with the Director, Health Facility Licensing and Compliance Division, Texas Department of State Health Services, 1100 West 49th Street, Austin, TX 78756. A complainant must provide her/his name. All complaints shall be confidential.
The Texas Legislature's mandated "Woman's Right to Know" booklet and resource directory were not produced by Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood believes that the booklet contains some language and claims that are not medically accurate. For example, the following respected, medical organizations have found no medical basis to the claim that there is a link between breast cancer and abortion:
- The National Institutes of Health
- The American Cancer Society
- The American Medical Association
- The World Health Organization
- The American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists
- The National Breast Cancer Coalition
- The National Women's Health Network
- The New England Journal of Medicine
- The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Parental Consent for Abortion in Texas
Texas state law requires that a parent or legal guardian provide written permission for unmarried teens (under the age of 18) to have an abortion. There are a few exceptions:
A teen has the right to go before a judge and receive permission from the judge to have an abortion without her parent's permission in specific circumstances (also known as Judicial Bypass). Call 1-855-314-0799 (toll free) and our staff can give you information about Parental Consent or Judicial Bypass. You can also visit Jane's Due Process website.
Teens who are legally emancipated do not need to have permission from a parent or guardian to obtain an abortion. If a teen is legally emancipated, she will need to provide proof of emancipation.