HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Alabama has passed the nation's most strict abortion laws, making performing an abortion a felony in nearly all cases.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed the "heartbeat bill" into law, which would allow women to get abortions only before a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is at about six weeks gestation, often before most pregnancies are detected. There are exceptions for rape and incest, if a police report was filed.
A similar law was passed in Ohio, with no exception for rape or incest.
With many aggressive laws being passed in other states, many people are asking, what are the abortion laws that are currently in place in Texas?
Although not as extreme as these other states, Texas is recognized as having some of the most strict abortion laws in the country.
Here are the basics of Texas abortion legislation:
- Abortion is legal up until 20-22 weeks of gestation, unless the mother's health is at risk, or the fetus is not viable or has severe abnormalities*.
- Texas Senate has recently passed legislation that would remove the exception of an unviable fetus if it is signed into law.
- A woman must make at least two visits to the abortion provider, one separate visit devoted to an ultrasound appointment. There is then a required 24-hour waiting period before the abortion, which can be waived if she lives farther than 100 miles away from the nearest clinic. Both of these appointments must be with the same physician.
- She must be given certain state-mandated written materials, and be shown her ultrasound image and have it described to her.
- If she is seeking abortion-inducing medications, such as RU-486, she must make four visits to a licensed physician.
- Minors seeking abortion must have parental consent. This can be waived through an application for judicial bypass, if it is in the woman's best interest not to tell her parents.
*If Senate Bill 1033 is signed into law, fetuses that are not viable or would suffer severe abnormalities would no longer be an exception to abortions after 20 weeks. Authors of the bill say they want to prevent discrimination in utero, but pro-abortion rights advocates say this would force women to carry to term, even if the fetus is likely to die.
Another bill passed in the Texas Senate is the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, which would elevate the penalty for physicians who do not provide care to infants born alive after an attempted abortion to a third degree felony.
Texas has also attempted to pass an abortion ban that would subject women who get abortions to the death penalty.
In general, abortion is currently legal in Texas up to 20 weeks in accordance with Roe v. Wade, but restrictions in place make it more difficult than in many other states.