Texas Health Department Adopts Right to Know Rules on Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 18, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Texas Health Department Adopts Right to Know Rules on Abortion

by Maria Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
January 18, 2004

Austin, TX (LifeNews.com) — The abortion industry in Texas must now play by new rules — the result of the Lone Star state’s new informed consent abortion law. The state health department has now adopted rules in connection with the law, which is designed to ensure that women know the facts before they obtain abortions.

Under the department’s rules, women must also show proof of age and identity before abortions can be performed. The parents of a teen considering an abortion must be told by an abortion facility that their daughter is thinking of having one.

Allan Parker of the pro-life Texas Justice Foundation told the Houston Chronicle, "An ID is crucial to protect minors from child abuse and to assure compliance with the parental notification law."

Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion operation, opposed the identity notification requirement.

According to published news reports, the rules garnered some 2,300 public comments — a record for the Texas Department of Health.

The law requires a 24-hour waiting period for abortions. Under the measure, women must also be offered materials about fetal development and the medical risks associated with abortion.

Similar laws in other states have been credited with lowering abortion rates.

But while women must be offered materials, they are not required to read the literature. Women must also initial a form noting that they have been offered the material.

Pro-abortion forces claim the law attempts to intimidate women in an effort to halt abortions. But pro-life leaders say the measure is simply an attempt to ensure that women can make an informed decision about abortion.

The materials include information about evidence of a link between abortion and breast cancer, evidence that is disputed by pro-abortion forces. The vast majority of medical studies, however, corroborate such a link. 

Witness Myra Myers testified that women should read the informational materials and that physicians who fail to provide the information should be charged with malpractice.

"Truth sets us free," Myers said. "Ignorance doesn’t make us innocent." Myers said she still regrets the abortion she had 29 years ago.

The rules cover abortions performed at licensed abortion centers only. Health department officials say some 78,000 abortions are performed in Texas every year.