Texas Has More Anti-Abortion Tricks Up Its Sleeve After The Supreme Court Loss

The Supreme Court striking down harmful abortion regulations in Texas in June was a huge victory for reproductive rights, but, unfortunately, Texas has more anti-abortion tricks up its sleeve following the historic Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision. The ruling said it wasn’t OK for the state to require abortion clinics have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and the same facility standards as ambulatory surgical centers, so the state started brainstorming other ways to stigmatize abortion and decrease access to the normal medical procedure.

In July, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) proposed a regulation requiring that fetal tissue, from all periods of gestation, be buried or cremated. The rule’s up for review and is expected to go into effect in September. “The Health and Human Services Commission developed new rules to ensure Texas law maintains the highest standards of human dignity,” HHSC spokesman Bryan Black told The Houston Chronicle.

To make matters even worse, the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is planning to release a new version of a lovely booklet called A Woman’s Right to Know that essentially tries to talk women out of having abortions. The booklet was mandated by a 2003 law aimed at giving women adequate information (i.e. adequate anti-abortion propaganda) before they decide to end a pregnancy. As expected, the unofficial, but likely to be printed, version The Texas Tribune obtained is full of myriad inaccuracies.

Supreme Court To Hear Abortion Rights Case
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As most attempts to talk women out of making their own decision about their bodies usually do, A Woman’s Right to Know says “some experts have concluded that the [fetus] is probably able to feel pain” at 20 weeks, which has never been scientifically proven.

It also explains in detail all the potential complications that can occur during an abortion, despite abortion being far safer than giving birth. In fact, a University of California, San Francisco study found that less than one quarter of one percent of abortion procedures result in major complications and the risk of dying is 14 times higher during childbirth than an abortion.

But wait, this already horrid booklet gets worse. It also posits that abortion is linked to breast cancer and says, “Doctors and scientists are actively studying the complex biology of breast cancer to understand whether abortion may affect the risk.” The statement “some studies have found no overall risk” was actually deleted from a previous draft, according to The Daily Beast.

A Woman’s Right to Know also claims having an abortion will negatively  impact women’s ability to have children in the future and that women often regret or feel guilty after ending a pregnancy, although, again, neither of those claims have been proven and are largely disputed.

The fact that so many statements presented as facts in the pamphlet have no scientific merit proves that the goal is not to make sure women have more knowledge in order to make an informed decision, but to make sure they make a certain decision. No one naively believed Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt was the end of the anti-abortion war, but Texas’ persistent efforts to make women rethink their decisions shows how little the state cares about their autonomy.