Yesterday the Texas Senate approved a bill to ban mail-order abortion and create safety protocols for chemical abortions using the RU 486 abortion pill, the most common method of abortions in Texas. The bill, SB 4 authored by Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D-Brownsville), passed decisively on a 19-10 vote. Under the leadership of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, this is the third time the Senate has passed this bill, including during the regular session last spring and during each of the two special sessions this summer. Rep. Stephanie Klick (R-Ft. Worth) has authored HB 6, the companion bill in the House. Pro-life Gov. Greg Abbott included the issue of chemical abortion safety protocols on the agenda of both special sessions.
“We strongly support the chemical abortion safety protocols in SB 4, and we applaud the Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and the members of the Senate who supported it,” said Texas Alliance for Life’s executive director Joe Pojman, Ph.D. “Texas needs this bill to assure that chemical abortions are performed under the supervision of a physician and with adequate safety protocols.”
The need for this bill is demonstrated by the fact that chemical abortions result a 20% complication rate for women, four-time higher than surgical abortions, according to a highly credible study published by the ACOG. Complications include incomplete abortion resulting in baby body parts or placenta remaining in the uterus, future miscarriage, and stillbirth from unmanaged Rh factor, and hemorrhaging and death from undiagnosed ectopic pregnancy.
Ever since the Obama-Biden administration relaxed the RU-486 safety protocols in 2016, the numbers of chemical abortion abortions have rapidly increased in Texas — from 5,000 in 2014 to 28,000 in 2020, nearly a six-fold increase. Chemical abortions now account for 53% of all abortions in Texas, according to from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.
“Now the Biden-Harris Administration is threatening to remove the FDA’s current in-person dispensing requirement. The physician visit is critically important for protecting the health and safety of woman at abortion facilities,” said Pojman. “Even worse, activist organizations and academic institutions are promoting mail-order abortions, without any direct supervision of a physician, putting women’s very lives at risk. For example, at the University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs brazenly advocates for ‘self-managed abortions’ while several online organization will mail abortion pills on demand.”
SB 4 clarifies that only physicians may dispense the abortion-causing drugs, and the bill creates felony penalties for anyone who mails these dangerous drugs.
The House is expected to easily pass SB 4 or HB 7 once a quorum is established.