Texas Bill Regarding Perinatal Palliative Care and Selective Abortion (SB 1033)
This law was last updated on May 13, 2019
SB 1033 would require perinatal palliative care information for certain pregnant patients seeking an abortion; prohibit certain selective abortions; and eliminate the fetal abnormality exception for abortions after 20 weeks.
Perinatal Palliative Care
The bill would require the health department to develop perinatal palliative care informational materials and post the materials on the department’s Internet website. The materials must include:
- a description of the health care and other services available through perinatal palliative care; and
- information about medical assistance benefits that may be available for prenatal care, childbirth, and perinatal palliative care.
The department would be required to develop and regularly update a geographically indexed list of all perinatal hospice care providers and programs in the state. The list may contain out-of-state providers that provide care to Texas residents.
Perinatal Informed Consent
The bill would require the department to develop a form on which a pregnant individual certifies they have received the perinatal palliative care informational materials and list of the perinatal palliative care providers and programs.
The bill would require a health-care provider who diagnoses a pregnant individual’s fetus as having a life-threatening disability to, at the time of the diagnosis:
- provide the pregnant individual with a written copy of:
- the perinatal palliative care informational materials and list of the perinatal palliative care providers and programs; and
- the perinatal palliative care certification form; and
- obtain the pregnant individual’s signed certification form and place in their records.
A health-care provider would not be required to provide such information if they can verify the pregnant individual’s medical record contains a signed perinatal palliative care certification.
If a pregnant individual chooses to have an abortion instead of continuing the pregnancy in perinatal palliative care, the physician may perform the abortion only after:
- the pregnant individual signs the certification form; and
- the physician places the signed certification form pregnant individual ’s medical records.
Post-Viability During Third Trimester Abortion
Current Texas law prohibits a person from intentionally or knowingly performing an abortion on an individual who is pregnant with a viable fetus during the third trimester of the pregnancy unless the physician determines:
- the fetus is not a viable fetus and the pregnancy is not in the third trimester;
- the abortion is necessary to prevent the death or a substantial risk of serious impairment to the physical or mental health of the pregnant individual; or
- the fetus has a severe and irreversible abnormality, identified by reliable diagnostic procedures.
The bill would remove these exceptions and instead prohibit all third-trimester abortions unless there is a medical emergency that threatens the life of the pregnant patient.
Current state law prohibits abortion after 20 weeks.
The bill would remove the severe fetal abnormality exception for abortions after 20 weeks and instead prohibit abortion after 20 weeks unless there is a medical emergency that threatens the life of the pregnant patient.
Selective Abortion Ban
The bill would prohibit a person from knowingly performing or attempting to perform an abortion on a pregnant individual based on the race, ethnicity, sex, or probability of having—or diagnosis of—a disability of the pregnant person’s fetus.
Additionally, the bill would prohibit a person from using force or the threat of force to intentionally injure or intimidate a person in order to coerce the performance or attempted performance of such an abortion.
A person who violates this provision would be committing a Class A misdemeanor.
An individual on whom an abortion is performed or attempted in violation of this provision may not be prosecuted.
A physician who violates this provision would also be engaging in unprofessional conduct for which the physician’s license may be suspended or revoked.
The bill provides for civil action to be brought against a person who violates this provision by:
- the individual on whom an abortion was performed or attempted;
- the father of the fetus, unless the pregnancy resulted from the father’s criminal conduct; or
- the maternal grandparents of the fetus if the pregnant individual is a minor.
If passed, informed consent requirements (information the physician is required to inform the pregnant individual prior to an abortion) would need to include the state law prohibiting abortion of a fetus solely on the basis of race, ethnicity, sex, or probability of having or diagnosis of a disability.
The bill would remove “fetus has a severe fetal abnormality” from the listed exceptions for when a pregnant individual may choose not to receive a verbal explanation of the results of sonogram images required under Texas law.
The bill would also remove “fetus has a severe fetal abnormality” from the listed medical emergency exemptions.
Informed consent requirements may be waived if the physician determines the fetus has a life-threatening disability.
Companion bill to HB 2434.
Similar to SB 1427, which failed to pass in 2017.
2/22/19 – Introduced.
5/7/19 – Passed Senate by a 20-11 vote.