Legislation extending medication abortion restrictions advances in Texas
The Texas House advanced legislation on Monday that aims to restrict access to abortion-inducing medication.
The state House passed Senate Bill 4 in a 83 to 42 vote, with one person abstaining. If it is approved on a third reading, it will be sent to Gov. Greg Abbott’s (R) desk for signature, according to The Dallas Morning News.
The bill calls for preventing physicians or providers from administering abortion-inducing pills to patients who have been pregnant for more than seven weeks.
The law currently allows patients to receive abortion-inducing medication until they reach 10 weeks pregnant, according to The Texas Tribune.
The advancement of the bill came two days before the state’s restrictive “fetal heartbeat” bill goes into effect.
Abbott signed the legislation in May that effectively prohibits virtually all abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Medical emergencies are the only exemptions to the bill.
Abortion providers, however, are now urging the Supreme Court to block the law, which allows citizens to launch legal action against individuals who perform or “aid” abortions after the roughly six-week prohibition is triggered.
The request was filed to Justice Samuel Alito, who oversees emergency matters that stem from Texas.
The bill in Texas is one of a number of abortion restrictions that GOP-dominated state legislatures have passed in recent years to challenge the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, which bars states from banning abortion before fetal viability, which is usually around 24 weeks.
Abortion-inducing pills have reportedly become an increasingly popular method among women, the Tribune reported, citing the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research group that supports abortion rights.
Guttmacher said 60 percent of women choose to take a pill instead of having surgery.