Texas lawmakers are working to make sure abortion clinics do not hide botched abortions from the public.
On Thursday, the Texas House gave initial approval to House Bill 13, which will require abortion facilities and health clinics to report any abortion-related complications within three days to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, the Chronicle reports. The commission would compile an annual report each year with data about the complications.
The bill passed in a 97-46 vote, and a second procedural vote is required before it can move forward. It is one of a number of pro-life bills that Texas lawmakers passed this month during a special session called by pro-life Gov. Greg Abbott.
House Bill 13 requires facilities to report complications such as maternal death, uterine perforation, infection or a baby born alive after the abortion.
Bill sponsor state Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, R-Southlake, said the purpose of the bill is information.
Here’s more from the American-Statesman:
The intent of the bill “is to make…available data for research and…quite frankly, for women who want to know what the actual real complication rate is for these procedures,” said Capriglione. “Everybody wants to make educated decisions.”
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Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, as well as other Democrats said that the bill doesn’t do anything to improve the health of women and discourages providers from performing the procedure.
“It is purely a political requirement and overburdening, overregulation, overreach of the state into the private practice of medical providers,” Howard said.
State law already requires abortion faclities to report on each abortion performed, including complications.
Capriglione said current reporting requirements might not be capturing accurate data because Texas reports a smaller percentage — less than one percent — of complications of all abortions. He said other states have rates as high as 5 percent.
Opponents of the bill claimed it is not needed because abortions are safer than many other routine medical procedures. But one of the reasons they can claim that is because there is so little data on abortion complications.
The Centers for Disease Control, for example, publishes an annual report of abortion data, but states are not required to participate. Some states give the CDC limited data on abortions, while others provide nothing at all.
As Texas Right to Life explains on its blog:
According to the Guttmacher Institute, an anti-Life research organization formerly affiliated with Planned Parenthood, 27 states require reporting to state agencies when complications arise during abortions. Only 13 states require reporting on whether pregnant minors received adequate parental or judicial authorization to undergo an abortion. An abortion is an invasive and violent surgical procedure that always results in the death of a preborn child, but can also result in life-threatening complications for the mother because abortion mills are notorious for violating basic health and safety standards. For these reasons, Texas has a vested interest in keeping accurate records of complications that arise from elective abortions in our state.
More than 400 women have died along with their unborn babies in abortions since Roe v. Wade in 1973. Many believe the number is much higher, but the data is insufficient.
More data would help provide a clearer picture about abortion for women and the general public. While women are allowed legally to abort their unborn babies, they at least should make a fully informed choice. But time after time, abortion activists fight against informed consent laws – laws that help ensure women receive the information that they deserve before making an irreversible decision about their baby’s life.