If you’re familiar with Jane’s Due Process, you already know the obstacles pregnant teens face when seeking legal help and accessing abortion care. If they don’t have supportive parents – or if they don’t have parents, period – they instead must seek a judicial bypass and get permission from a judge. Often, teens will call an abortion clinic and, when they say they can’t bring a parent with them, learn for the first time of the judicial bypass option. This special session, Texas legislators want clinics to stop telling teens about their constitutional rights.

HB 215, which is set for a House vote tomorrow, will force doctors to report unnecessary details about every minor who has an abortion. Here’s what is wrong with the proposed legislation.

  • Duplicative – The state already collects information on how many judicial bypasses are granted annually. This data is published by the Texas Supreme Court’s Office of Court Administration.
  • Dangerous – The extra and unnecessary reporting could expose the identify of the minor, her physician, and the judge who heard her bypass. This information would be kept in her medical record and seen by state health department inspectors. Clinics already have to comply with burdensome reporting requirements – taking up staff and doctors’ valuable time.

As is typical of anti-abortion legislation, the bill is vague and poorly written, making it unclear how doctors and clinics can comply.

If a minor obtained parental consent, the doctor would need to report whether the parent came to the clinic or signed the notarized forms elsewhere — placing additional scrutiny on minors whose parents are hospitalized, disabled, or just unable to miss a day of work to accompany their teen to the clinic. Clinics also would have to report if their personnel told minors about the option of judicial bypass and whether they provided any assistance to teens interested in a bypass.

We don’t understand why the state needs this data from clinics – or what they would do with it. The intent of this legislation is to intimidate clinics so they stop telling teens about their constitutional rights.

Tomorrow, the House will vote on this bill. Contact your state representative today and let them know that you think clinics telling teens about their constitutional rights is the right thing to do. If you’re in Austin, come by the House Gallery in the Capitol and wear your orange to support JDP and the rest of the Trust Respect Access coalition.

No matter what, we will not be intimidated, and we will not back down. You can always support teens’ right to an abortion by donating to Jane’s Due Process.