Omnibus bill would ban abortion at 20 weeks, severely restrict medication abortion, and impose physical plant requirements that could shut down all but five abortion providers in the state
(PRESS RELEASE) The Texas Legislature’s special session—originally scheduled to focus on redistricting and highway funding—is now considering a host of anti-choice measures at the direction of Governor Rick Perry. The omnibus bill, which is being heard in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee today, would ban abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy regardless of women’s circumstances, severely restrict non-surgical medication abortion by imposing unnecessary and outdated medical regimens, and require every woman’s health clinic offering abortion services to essentially become small hospitals to remain open—a measure that could close nearly every abortion clinic in the state. Said Nancy Northup, president and CEO at the Center for Reproductive Rights: “The impact of this massive attack on women’s constitutional rights would have devastating consequences for millions of Texans, especially poor and rural women. “This law would force nearly all the state’s abortion providers to essentially tear down their offices and rebuild from the ground up or close their doors entirely, which could leave only five clinics to serve more than 13 million women living in Texas. “Governor Perry appears hell-bent on making Texas one of the harshest places to live for the half of the population that happens to be women. If the state legislature wants to maintain the dignity that hostile politicians seek to deny the women of Texas, it must stop this clearly unconstitutional and callous bill in its tracks.” The current Texas legislative special session ends June 25. The Center for Reproductive Rights is leading a number of legal challenges to similar anti-abortion bills in other states. In Arizona, the Center’s litigation against an extreme 20-week abortion ban resulted in a federal court decision that permanently struck down the law. Similarly, medication abortion restrictions in Oklahoma and North Dakota have been blocked from being enforced, and measures to constrain abortion providers and clinics through onerous licensing and admitting privileges requirements have been blocked in Mississippi and Kansas after the Center filed lawsuits.