- NARAL Pro-Choice Texas
- Texas continues to restrict abortion access.
Despite rampant problems like poverty, a broken school-finance system or Texas' aging infrastructure, our state leaders chose — yet again — to focus on restricting women's access to legal abortions.
To add insult to injury, about two weeks after they wrapped up the 2015 session and went home, a conservative federal appeals court upheld a 2013 law that shut down all but seven of the state's abortion clinics.
This year hasn't been kind to Lone Star State pro-choice advocates.
But for a few hundred pregnant young women who seek permission from a judge each year to get an abortion because of problematic or absent parents, the future will be more difficult.
Pro-life advocates and politicians targeted them this year, passing legislation that will adversely affect this small demographic.
"The changes to the law make it really difficult to impossible for some of the most vulnerable young people to access abortion care," Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, told the San Antonio Current.
Judicial bypass allows young women who are the victims of parental abuse to access abortion care via judicial order. Minors cannot access abortion care without parental permission.
Tina Hester, executive director of Jane's Due Process, a nonprofit organization that ensures legal protection for pregnant minors, said 12 damaging changes were added to the law, including one that calls for a higher level of evidentiary standards not often seen in family law.
"It is hard to get to court. Particularly in an area where you don't have an abortion provider," said Hester.
"You have to get a sonogram and counseling and explain your sex life to an older judge and explain that your dad's a crack addict and all those things," Hester added.
The addicts seem to be these state leaders, particularly the GOP majority, who just won't let go of the issue.
"They couldn't figure out any other way to restrict abortion so they are going after 200 or 300 young women," Hester said.
But that's not the end of it. There's another big change to abortion law.
Now adults seeking an abortion must provide a government ID to prove they're not minors.
If a doctor is confident the woman is not a minor, but for whatever reason she is unable to provide ID, the doctor can perform an abortion — but must report it to the state.
"What are they reporting for?" Busby asked. "If you're a provider, you are already under intense scrutiny. It's denial of abortion affecting those with the least resources."
Despite setbacks, both Busby and Hester said educating the general public about reproductive rights will be the only long-term solution to turn back the tide of Texas' obsession with restricting abortion access to all women in the state.