Today is the day, folks.
By 12pm, we should have an answer from Judge Yeakel on whether or not we have an injunction for one or both of the provisions of House Bill 2 that we sued the state over. Click here for a review on those provisions.
There are two provisions that aren’t included in Planned Parenthood v Abbott, and one of them goes into effect tomorrow regardless of the judge’s ruling: the 20 Week Ban on Abortion in Texas. We thought we would give you a description on precisely what that means for a woman seeking abortion care in Texas who’s past the 20 week mark in gestational age.
The 20 Week Ban is two-pronged due to a hidden provision within it that requires us to provide the name of a hospital within 30 miles of our clinics to all of our patients. This is in case the patient ends up having serious complications after she receives our care even though, contrary to what our opponents in this case consistently maintain, abortion is one of the safest procedures in medicine. The reality is that there is less than a 1% complication rate with abortions; we have been enabled to complete these procedures in regular clinic settings because there are no incisions and the risk of infection is minimal.
The 20 Week Ban does affect us greatly as we spent the last week changing all of our reporting forms and training all of our staff so that we could be compliant with this law, but the wording of the law is strange. The ban’s language says that it is “restricting elective abortions at or later than 20 weeks post-fertilization”, which means that we will be able to provide services to women who are 21 weeks and 6 days since her last menstrual period or 19 weeks and 6 days gestational age.
There are also two exceptions to this regulation:
· “severe fetal indication”
· “To avert the woman’s death or a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function”
Unfortunately, the state did not provide exceptions for rape or incest.
We have always been proponents of encouraging women to be at the center of their own healthcare decisions. When they are potentially faced with a situation in which a pregnancy may have to be terminated past the 21.6 LMP marker, it’s unfortunate that they will not be afforded the option to do so. This creates an unnecessary barrier. Remember that reducing access and creating barriers for abortion doesn’t eliminate the need; women will still need to terminate a pregnancy for one personal reason or another.
At Whole Woman’s Health we take pride in our service model in which we consistently and continuously provide exemplary service to all women, no matter their circumstances. We serve a diverse group of populations within our communities, and even though HB2 happened to us, we will not stop being that voice for women in addition to providing compassionate, safe abortion care.
We have notified all of our staff that we won’t stop fighting HB2, and that this 20 week ban won’t stop Whole Woman’s Health from providing the stellar service that we have been committed to providing our Texas Communities for the past 10 years. Therefore, we began preparation early on by educating our patients on what the law means and how to apply it to their current situations. Some women would contact us not knowing what the legal status on abortion is, with some even thinking that abortion is completely illegal in Texas. It is our responsibility to make sure that all women in Texas know that abortion is still legal, and Whole Woman’s Health will continue to provide these services to those women while still complying with some laws and fighting other ones.