What is HB2?

…and when does it go into effect?

Texas House Bill 2 (HB2), known as Senate Bill 1 (SB1) when it was passing through the first special legislative session, is, according to the bill itself:

relating to the regulation of abortion procedures, providers, and
facilities; providing penalties.

HB2 dramatically changes the way Texas women will be able to access reproductive health care. Here’s how:

October 29, 2013

On this date, the following changes will go into effect:

  • Abortion doctors must have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic. This provision will probably result in the closure of most clinics in Texas, since nearby hospitals do not have any incentive to allow an abortion provider to admit patients.
  • Abortions after 20 weeks post-fertilization are prohibited, except in cases of a severe fetal abnormality. The 20-week ban also does not apply in cases where the post-20-week abortion is necessary to “avert the woman’s death or a serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function, other than a psychological condition,” in which case the abortion shall be performed “in the manner that, in the physician’s reasonable medical judgment, provides the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive.”
  • Abortion-inducing drugs must be used according to FDA regulations (with the exception that dosages can be given according to American Congress of OBGYN Practice Bulletin). FDA regulations require that women visit the doctor in person for each of the two doses of the abortion pill, resulting in two separate doctor’s visits.
  • After taking abortion-inducing drugs, there must be a follow-up appointment within 14 days. This brings the total of pill-related appointments to three. (Of course, the Texas 24-hour waiting period law still requires that women living within 100 miles of their nearest abortion clinic wait 24 hours between her mandatory ultrasound and her actual abortion, meaning four doctor’s appointments for most women seeking the abortion pill.)

January 1, 2014

Section 245 of the Texas Health and Safety Code will be amended to require that all abortion clinics to be ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs). This expensive and unnecessary upgrade will result in the closure of most clinics in the state that are not already ASCs. Existing clinics will not have to comply with this until September 1, 2014.

September 1, 2014

Abortion clinics must comply with the ambulatory surgical center requirements by this date.

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