Texas is one of two states that leads the nation in adopting anti-abortion restrictions that are not grounded in science, according to a study released Tuesday.
Researchers with the abortion rights group Guttmacher Institute analyzed 10 major types of restrictions that they say have no rigorous scientific basis. Texas and Kansas have most of these restrictions — eight out of the 10 — making them the “worst offenders,” officials with the organization said.
“It’s appalling that Texas is the worst state in the country for using misinformation and outright lies to pass laws that close clinics and make it harder, and in some cases almost impossible, for women to access safe, legal abortion care,” said Kathy Miller, president of the liberal group Texas Freedom Network.
According to the institute, these Texas restrictions aren’t scientifically supported:
• Banning the use of telemedicine to administer abortion medication.
• Allowing only physicians to perform abortions.
• Requiring that women wait at least 24 hours before an abortion.
• Requiring providers inform a woman that having the procedure can have serious mental health consequences and cause infertility and breast cancer.
• Counseling women that fetuses can feel pain at 20 weeks gestation.
The study reports that Texas got points for no longer requiring abortions to be performed in ambulatory surgical centers and abortion doctors to gain admitting privileges in a nearby hospital. The Texas Legislature passed such regulations in 2013 but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that the restrictions placed an unconstitutional burden on women seeking an abortion.
Some of information about fetal pain and health effects of abortions on women are included in the “A Woman’s Right to Know Informational Material” which the state requires a provider to give a woman before an abortion. The pamphlet was updated late last year, toning down some of the language. Still, some Texas physicians have said that the updates only slightly improve the booklet and that some of the information is not backed by science.
According to abortions rights group NARAL Pro-Choice, the Legislature is considering 25 bills to restrict abortions this session. They include measures to require fetal tissue to be buried or cremated, banning abortion clinics from providing fetal tissue for medical research, banning so-called partial birth abortions and banning taxpayer money for abortion providers and their affiliates.