Texas Informed Consent/Coerced Abortion Ban (HB 68)
This law was last updated on Oct 14, 2013
HB 68 would have required a physician performing an abortion to (1) verbally inform the woman that a person cannot coerce or force her to have or seek an abortion and that the physician cannot perform the abortion unless the woman provides her voluntary and informed consent; and (2) provide the woman on whom the abortion is to be performed with a “coerced abortion form.”
The bill states that a doctor may not perform an abortion on a woman unless the woman has received a “coerced abortion form” from the doctor, and may not perform the abortion until 48 hours have elapsed and the woman has provided her voluntary and informed consent. If the woman indicates on the coerced abortion form or communicates to the physician that she is being coerced to have or seek an abortion or the physician is otherwise made aware that the woman has indicated that she is being coerced to have or seek an abortion, the physician must make a report to law enforcement and provide a referral to a domestic violence shelter or assistance program that does not perform abortions or provide referrals for abortions.
The language of the law is vague since a physician could be “made aware” that the woman has indicated that she is being coerced to have an abortion even if the woman does not communicate coercion to the physician or indicate coercion on the “coercion abortion form.”
HB 68 would also have required abortion providers to posts signs stating that coerced abortion is against the law.
According to a report from the Guttmacher Institute, the number of instances in which a woman may have been coerced into terminating a pregnancy is much fewer than those reported by anti-choice groups like the Elliot Institute, which reported that 64 percent of women felt pressured by others to to have an abortion. One study found that the proportion of women citing influence from partners or parents as their most important reason for terminating their pregnancy was less than 1 percent.
HB 68 was introduced during the first special legislative session called by Gov. Rick Perry in 2013 but failed to pass out of committee. Identical bills were introduced in the regular session (HB 3247) and the second special session (HB 26) but failed to pass out of committee.