Texas Governor Signs Law To Tighten Restrictions On Use Of Abortion Drugs

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

Texas Governor Greg Abbott delivers his promise of making the state a truly pro-life one when he signed into law new restrictions on the use of abortion drugs on Friday last week.

The Christian Post reported that Texas' Senate Bill 4 has tightened the state's screws on abortion just weeks following the Texas Heartbeat Act, which bans the procedure on pregnancies beginning six weeks as soon as a fetal heartbeat has been detected.

Senate Bill 4 is said to prohibit medical professionals from prescribing pregnant women an abortion-inducing drug without adhering first to the requirements for abortions on informed consent. SB4's signing comes two weeks after South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem released Executive Order 2021-12 banning telemedicine abortion in the state.

In particular, Senate Bill 4 focuses on complications resulting from abortion and regulates, as well as, creates a criminal offense on drug-induced abortion facilities, providers, and procedures. It specifically pinpoints the use of Mifeprex or Mifepristone as abortion-inducing drugs that cause "significant medical complications" on the "health and welfare of every woman," which the state aims to protect. Violators of the bill face "a state jail felony."

"The use of Mifeprex or mifepristone presents significant medical complications including, but not limited to, uterine hemorrhage, viral infections, abdominal pain, cramping, vomiting, headache, fatigue, and pelvic inflammatory disease," the Texas legislature reasoned in enacting the bill.

"The failure rate and risk of complications increases with advancing gestational age," they stressed.

SB4, authored by Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr. with 14 other senators, was filed on August 6 and passed the Senate with a 6-2 vote on August 31. It was signed by the House of Representatives the day after and sent to the governor the very same day. The bill is accompanied by House Bill 6, which gives similar provisions and restrictions on abortion drugs.

In July, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick praised Abbott and Lucio for strengthening the state's position on critical issues regarding life through Senate Bill 4, which he said puts women "at risk" to abusive individuals.

"Since I was first elected to the Texas Senate, protecting life has been one of my top priorities, and I'm grateful that Gov. Greg Abbott included this critical issue on the special session call. When abortion-inducing drugs are available by mail, Texas women are put at risk from human traffickers and abusive spouses or significant others. By banning abortion-inducing drugs' availability by mail, Senate Bill 4 strengthens Texas' position that we are a pro-life state," Patrick said.

"I thank Sen. (Eddie) Lucio for his ardent commitment to protecting life in Texas," he added.

Texas Alliance for Life Executive Editor Joe Pojman similarly commended the bill and expressed strong support for its "chemical abortion safety protocols." Pojman highlighted the state's need for the bill since it assures "that chemical abortions are performed under the supervision of a physician and with adequate safety protocols."

Meanwhile, NARAL Pro-Choice America Acting President Adrienne Kimmell called the attention of SB4's authors for allegedly "launching their attacks on abortion access from every angle imaginable." Kimmell tagged the law an obstruction to the "fundamental freedom."

"These efforts to undermine access to care come just a few weeks after Texas' SB 8-the harshest and most extreme ban on abortion in the country-went into effect in the middle of the night. Anti-choice politicians have made their intentions abundantly clear, and they will stop at nothing to strip away reproductive freedom," Kimmell said.