Texas is one of the most difficult states in which to get an abortion. It is one of seven states that requires an ultrasound prior to abortion, according to Time.
Now, Representative Bill Zedler, Republican from Arlington is trying to introduce new reporting requirements put into place through the rule-making authority of the state's health services agencies, according to the Austin Chronicle. The introduction of these reporting rules has been attempted in four previous sessions of the Texas Legislature. Zedler is trying an "end-run" around the legislative process to require more information from those seeking an abortion and those providing them.
The new provisions would require a woman seeking an abortion to report on her highest level of education, the age of the father at the time of the abortion, method of contraception, source of referral for the abortion, method of payment, and the specific reason she is seeking abortion. This will be on top of the other requirements already in place in Texas.
One of the newest requirements that has already become law is the ultrasound requirement. This means that a woman must have an appointment to see an ultrasound image of her fetus and hear a description of the fetus' anatomy.
While this potential change could lower the amount of abortions in Texas if it is passed, it is also likely to be challenged in court as an undue burden on women seeking an abortion. While the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld reporting laws in the past, once a certain threshold is met, it is likely that reporting will become the same as consent laws that have consistently been overturned.
It will be interesting to see whether Rep. Bill Zedler's abortion reporting requirements will succeed in its end-run around the legislative process and whether they will make it more difficult for women in Texas to obtain an abortion.
- Find a Houston Family Attorney (FindLaw)
- TX Senate Passes SB 16, Sonograms May Be Required Before Abortion (Houston Family Law Blog)
- Pro-Choice Group Challenges Texas Sonogram Law (Houston Family Law Blog)