As the legislature debates the merits of several bills that would further restrict access to abortion care in Texas, it’s a good time to pause and reflect on the impact of the restrictions that are already in place. Our research at the Texas Policy Evaluation Project has found that House Bill 15, passed in 2011, has not led women to change their minds about having an abortion. Instead it has created burdens that have disproportionately affected low-income and rural women.
HB15 is often referred to as the “sonogram law,” but the part of the law that is most difficult for women is the requirement to make an extra visit to the clinic at least 24 hours before the abortion to have an ultrasound performed and explained by the same physician who will perform the abortion. At the end of last year, we surveyed 318 women who were seeking abortion services after they had completed their extra mandatory consultation visit in six cities across the state in order to learn more about their perspectives on the law’s requirements.
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Grossman is vice president of research at Ibis Reproductive Health and investigator on the Texas Policy Evaluation Project.