The Texas Senate gave initial approval Thursday of a bill to ensure women are fully informed of their options prior to having an abortion.
KVUE reports state Senate Bill 2243 passed 21-10 with bipartisan support. It would require that women be provided with free, unbiased, third-party counseling prior to having an abortion. The counselors also would be required to screen women for domestic violence, sex trafficking and coercion.
“This bill is built to provide that kind of a support so that no woman has to ask – ‘What if I had known?’” said state Sen. Angela Paxton, the sponsor, according to the Texas Tribune. “She can make a decision that’s best for her. It’s built on reality, not on fear, and not on the unknown.”
Her bill would put the Texas Health and Human Services Commission in charge of creating and implementing the counseling.
If passed, the legislation would “provide the woman with medically accurate information, assessment and offer of support services including housing, employment, resume development, child care, medical care, adoption services, health benefit plan coverage, education on available state and local resources for socioeconomic needs, and screening for human trafficking and domestic violence,” according to an analysis of the bill.
Paxton estimated that the program will cost about $2 million a year, but the funds from the state alternatives to abortion program can be used to cover the cost.
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While Texas already has informed consent requirements, Paxton said her bill would bridge the gap by making sure women know what assistance is available to her.
Informed consent laws help ensure that the abortion industry does not rush women through the process with little information or time to think before making a life-changing, life-destroying decision to abort her unborn baby. They make sure women have access to information about the risks of abortion, the development of her unborn baby and the alternatives available to her.
However, state abortion activists already are attacking the legislation, claiming it could be an additional burden on women seeking abortions.
Emily Martin, of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, told the local news that the bill “would force Texans seeking abortion care into biased, coercive, unregulated nonmedical services with the ultimate goal of shaming a woman out of her decision to have an abortion from anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers.”
The state Senate must give final approval of the bill before it can go to the state House for consideration.