After battling the state in court to protect women's health in Texas, on October 31st a panel of three Federal judges allowed unconstitutional abortion restrictions to take effect. The restrictions clearly violate Texas women's constitutional rights and drastically reduce access to safe and legal abortion statewide.
What does this mean for you? The restrictions have forced us for now to stop offering medication abortion while we determine our next steps. We are still providing surgical abortion for women who need to end a pregnancy.
This fight is far from over. Women in Texas should have access to the highest quality health care, no matter where they live. That is why we will continue to fight to protect women's access to health care across the state.
As of October 1st, 2011, state law now requires all women seeking an abortion to have at least 2 visits to the abortion facility.
Why do I have to make two visits for an abortion?
In the summer of 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 womenís health first and we fought against this law because there is no medical reason for requiring women to come 24 hours in advance. Ultrasounds have been a standard part of abortion services and are always performed on every patient before any type of procedure is done.
Beginning October 1, 2011 women have to make at least 2 trips for an abortion Ė the first being for an ultrasound. This is required for the abortion pill and for in-clinic abortions. We understand that requiring multiple visits makes things more inconvenient for women during a stressful time in their lives. We are trying our very best to work with women to help them through these changes.
Additional State Laws
In addition to the 2011 law requiring an ultrasound at least 24 hours prior to an abortion, the state passed a law titled "Women's Right To Know Act" that requires 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 during the first visit when the woman receives her required ultrasound.
The "Women's Right To Know" information is currently available on the Texas Department of State Health Services website at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/wrtk/default.shtm or can be picked up at any Planned Parenthood clinic.
PPCfC- Houston is a licensed ambulatory surgical center and performs in clinic abortions up to 19.6 weeks.
The Texas Department of State Health Services is also responsible for any complaints. You can write Director, Health Facility Licensing and Compliance Division, Texas Department of State Health Services, 1100 West 49th Street, Austin, TX 78756 or call 1-888-973-0022. Complainants MUST provide his/her name.
Do teens need their parentís permission to get an abortion?
Yes. In Texas and Louisiana, state law requires that the parent or legal guardian provide written permission for unmarried teens (under the age of 18) to have an abortion. There are a few exceptions:
1) The teen can go before a judge and receive permission from the judge to have an abortion without the parentís permission
(also known as Judicial Bypass). Call 1-800-831-6538 and our staff can give you information about Parental Consent or Judicial Bypass. Or visit Jane's Due Process page.
2) Teens who are legally emancipated do not need to have permission from a parent or guardian or
3) If there is a medical emergency and the pregnant teen needs an abortion, the parent does not have to give permission.