By Eleanor Grano, Community Outreach & Youth Engagement Coordinator at Jane’s Due Process and Paige Alexandria, a volunteer Advocate at Jane’s Due Process
The requirements to get an abortion in the state of Texas are intentionally designed to confuse and discourage people from accessing their reproductive rights. If you are feeling overwhelmed about taking the first step, it can be helpful to learn more about what the state of Texas requires and what resources are available to support you in your decision.
Everyone deserves to be able to access an abortion! If you are feeling discouraged by the process required by the state, the following suggestions can help you feel more empowered as you navigate these burdensome laws.
An overview of abortion laws in Texas and how they will impact you when you make an appointment
The state of Texas bans abortion at 21.6 weeks from your last menstrual period (aka LMP). If you are a minor and past the week limit, you can still call our 24/7 hotline at 866-999-5263 to receive support in discussing your pregnancy options.
Additionally, the law requires that people who are seeking an abortion get an ultrasound prior to their procedure. The law also requires that your ultrasound must be done by the same doctor who will perform your abortion. Finally, you will be mandated by law to wait for a minimum of 24 hours between your ultrasound and your abortion. This is because the state believes people who have decided to get an abortion still need additional time to make a decision that most people are already confident in.
The exception to the mandatory waiting period is if you live more than 100 miles from your nearest abortion clinic. If you live more than 100 miles away, you are required to wait 2 hours after your ultrasound to get an abortion. However, you will still need to speak to the doctor by phone at least 24 hours prior to your appointment to hear the mandated script.
If you are under 18, it’s important to know that you do not need parental consent to get an ultrasound. However, if you cannot involve a parent or legal guardian in your decision to get an abortion, you will need to apply for a judicial bypass. You can begin this process by calling our 24/7 hotline at 866-999-5263.
Find your nearest abortion clinic
The most important step in your decision to get an abortion is to locate your nearest abortion clinic.
If the distance to these clinics is not accessible to you, it can be helpful to schedule your abortion at a clinic in a state that might be closer.
Abortion clinics in New Mexico do not have a limit on how far along a person can get an abortion. They also do not have parental involvement laws or mandatory waiting periods for pregnant people seeking an abortion. If you decide to go to Louisiana, Oklahoma, or Arkansas it can be helpful to research mandatory waiting periods and the requirements for a judicial bypass in those states.
If you are concerned about the costs associated with traveling and are a Texas resident, Fund Texas Choice may be able to help with funding for travel-related needs. This could mean a plane or bus ticket, assistance with gas, or a hotel stay.
Fund Texas Choice has a limited amount of funding per week, and are only open for funding on Thursday at 8am CT. If you need support, fill out this secure form as soon as they are open to have the best chance of receiving assistance! You can also reach them by calling 844-900-8908.
Scheduling your appointment
Every clinic has its own unique policies and procedures. However, there are common questions that you can expect to be asked at every abortion clinic. Knowing the answer to these questions in advance can help you feel more prepared during your call to the clinic.
When you call, you can expect to be asked some general information about yourself (e.g. name, date of birth, a safe contact number). They will also want to know how many weeks you are into your pregnancy. If you do not know the answer to this question, you can calculate how many weeks you are by counting the number of weeks that have passed since your last menstrual cycle (LMP). This pregnancy calculator can help you determine how far along you are.
While every clinic is different, they may also ask what type of abortion you’re wanting. If you don’t know, you can read about the differences between medication and surgical abortion. You can also text our hotline at 866-999-5263! Once the clinic gets this information, they will schedule your first appointment for an ultrasound.
Paying for your abortion
If you are a minor who is going through the judicial bypass process with our organization, our client services manager can help you apply for grants to cover the cost of your abortion and ultrasound. However, if you are not a minor and need financial assistance, the National Network of Abortion Funds can connect you to your nearest local abortion fund and/or practical support fund.
It’s important to know that the state of Texas does not allow private insurance to cover the cost of elective abortion. Also, the Hyde Amendment does not allow public insurance (i.e. Medicaid, Tricare) to cover the cost of an elective abortion either! However, some insurance providers may cover the cost of an ultrasound.
What to bring to the abortion clinic on the day of your appointment?
If you have parental consent for your abortion as required by Texas law, the clinic will want you to have both a photo ID and an original copy of your birth certificate. They will also require that your parent who is providing consent bring a government-issued ID to provide proof of their identity and to confirm that they are the person listed on your birth certificate. If you’re pursuing a judicial bypass, the ID requirements can vary, but the clinic will still require proof of your identity and birthday.
The ultrasound appointment can take 2-4 hours, so it can be helpful to also bring a few things to occupy your time while you wait. Some people bring a friend, a phone charger, books, magazines, coloring books, or stream their favorite tv shows on their devices with headphones. You will be expected to stay in the vicinity of the clinic the entire time during your appointment, so having a few things to keep you busy can help!
If you have concerns about your sexual and reproductive health, our volunteer advocates are available 24/7 at 866-999-5263 and by text 8am-11pm CT to support you. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help accessing contraception, STI testing & treatment, or an abortion in Texas.