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Abortion Laws

This guide discusses the developments in laws related to abortion following the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization ruling.

Medical Abortions

Medical abortions are administered using prescription medication rather than surgery.

Texas Law

In the second special session of 2013, the Texas Legislature passed HB 2. This bill added new restrictions to the use of abortion-inducing medication such as "the Mifeprex regimen, misoprostol (Cytotec), and methotrexate." Specifically, this bill added Subchapter D to the Woman's Right to Know Act.

After amendments in 2017 and 2021, this subchapter requires a physician to do the following in order to prescribe such medication:

  • Examine the patient in person;
  • Document the gestational age of the pregnancy in the patient's medical records;
  • Provide a phone number where the patient can obtain help with complications 24 hours a day;
  • Schedule a follow-up appointment within 14 days and make a reasonable effort to get the patient to attend;
  • Satisfy the informed consent procedures required by Subchapter B of the Woman's Right to Know Act; and
  • Report the abortion to the Department of Health and Human Services as required by Health & Safety Code 245.011.

Federal Law

After the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization ruling, United States Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a statement that discussed medications used to induce abortions. He said:

In particular, the FDA has approved the use of the medication Mifepristone. States may not ban Mifepristone based on disagreement with the FDA’s expert judgment about its safety and efficacy.

Attorney General Garland is invoking the concept of "federal pre-emption" and the "Supremacy Clause" of the United States Constitution. This clause states that federal law and the federal Constitution are the "supreme law of the land." It is commonly understood that this means that federal law takes precedence over state laws.

Whether Texas will be able to ban medical abortions will likely need to be decided by the courts.