Texas Informed Consent/Coerced Abortion Ban (HB 612)
This law was last updated on Mar 22, 2017
HB 612 would amend Texas laws related to coerced abortion and informed consent.
The bill would require a peace officer receiving a report or other information indicating that a person has coerced or forced or attempted to coerce or force a pregnant minor to have or seek an abortion to file a police report and to notify the Department of Family and Protective Services.
The bill would also require a physician giving notice under Texas’s parental notice law (Family Code § 33.002) to inform the parent or guardian that it is considered child abuse for a parent or guardian to coerce a minor into getting an abortion.
The bill would amend current child abuse law in Texas to include “coercing or forcing a child to have or seek an abortion” when defining abuse.
The bill would also require 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 physician. If the woman indicates on the coerced abortion form or communicates to the physician that she is being coerced to have an abortion or the physician is otherwise made aware that the woman has indicated that she is being coerced to have 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 physician may not perform the abortion until 72 hours have elapsed and the woman provides her voluntary and informed consent and local law enforcement has completed the investigation and report.
The bill goes on to describe the actions local law enforcement and the Department of Family and Protective Services would be required to perform in the event a physician reports a possible coerced abortion.
The language of the bill 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.”
The bill also would require abortion providers to posts signs stating that coerced abortion is against the law.
A person found to have coerced a pregnant patient into seeking or obtaining an abortion would be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
The bill would amend Texas’ informed consent law (Health and Safety Code § 171.015), adding topics to the required informational materials that must be provided to a woman in order to satisfy informed consent requirements. The new information includes: a list of crisis pregnancy centers and maternity homes, a list of assistance programs for victims of domestic violence, contact information for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, a list of social workers and counselors, and nonprofit organizations that provide aid to women being forced to seek an abortion.