AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas House on Monday tentatively passed Senate Bill 4, which would ban access to abortion-inducing pills for patients more than seven weeks pregnant.
The bill’s passage in the House comes just two days before another bill passed in the 87th Legislature, the so-called “Heartbeat Bill,” goes into effect, one of the strictest abortion laws in the country. Activists have asked the Supreme Court to block that law in a recent filing.
Senate Bill 4 is the same version of the bill passed by the Texas Senate, with Democrats failing to attach amendments to the bill after numerous attempts. That means the bill will head straight to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk if it receives final approval.
It would prevent Texas doctors and providers from giving abortion-inducing medication to patients more than seven weeks pregnant. The pills are currently allowed to be given to patients up to 10 weeks pregnant.
FDA guidelines advise the abortion-inducing medication is safe to use up to 70 days, or 10 weeks.
According to reproductive health research institute Guttmacher Institute, around 60% of women who are aware of their pregnancy early enough opt to use the pill method over surgery if they have an abortion.
“I'm really tired of every single session having to come here and debate one more obstacle to a woman having a right to choose what happens to her own body and her own destiny,” Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) told the Legislature.
Senate Bill 4 would also ban the abortion-inducing pills from being mailed in Texas, a practice that was allowed temporarily last April due to the pandemic and limited in-person doctor visits.
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