AUSTIN -- A fight to change abortion laws in Texas is heating up at the State Capitol.
One lawmaker wants to repeal a bill that passed in the last session. Since House Bill 15 was enacted, most women seeking an abortion in the State of Texas have been required to have a consultation with an abortion provider that includes an ultrasound followed by a 24-hour waiting period before having the procedure.
A group of researchers from the University of Texas, Ibis Reproductive Health and the University of Alabama at Birmingham have been studying the impact of HB 15. Dr. Daniel Grossman revealed preliminary findings Wednesday morning.
The Texas Policy Evaluation Project is a three-year study. It shows that while most women don't mind the wait, they still think it should be a choice - not a requirement.
This week, State Representative Jessica Farrar (D) Houston is filing a new bill to overturn the 24-hour waiting period.
Rep. Farrar stood alongside Dr. Grossman as he released details of the study.
Dr. Grossman says the group surveyed nearly 320 women in six major cities across Texas including Dallas, Houston, El Paso, Austin, San Antonio and McAllen. All of the participants were seeking an abortion. According to their surveys, 31 percent said that the 24-hour wait had a negative effect. Many had trouble finding time and money to schedule two appointments. About 89 percent added that the wait didn't make a difference in their decision.
Rep. Farrar says the numbers are proof that HB15 isn't effective.
“I think it's just ridiculous that we do things to women to manipulate their minds instead of trusting that they already have made a very difficult decision and the other is we don't put the woman first. Healthcare for women in Texas has been highly politicized. The Legislature needs to step away,” said Rep. Farrar.
Farrar is seeking to change the focus among lawmakers. Instead of finding ways to restrict abortions, she wants lawmakers to find ways to fund family planning services.
“I'm not expecting anything, a miracle to happen, but what I'm hoping to do is lift the level of discussion,” explained Rep. Farrar. “My concern is that if we walk away from what was done in the last session then everyone will think this is okay.”
Farrar says she will file a bill repealing HB 15 this week.