Senate Research CenterH.B. 15
By: Corte (Williams)
State Affairs


H.B. 15 regulates abortion and abortion providers.  It requires abortions
performed at or after the 16th week of pregnancy to be performed in a
licensed hospital or ambulatory surgical center; requires certain
information and materials, including full-color representation of
gestating fetuses and information about pregnancy and adoption agencies
and available services to be supplied and/or offered to a woman seeking an
abortion; requires a 24-hour wait after receiving the information before
the abortion can occur; and creates an offense for a physician who
intentionally violates this subchapter.  H.B. 15 also lowers the number of
abortions that can be performed in a facility without the facility being
licensed as an abortion provider. 


Rulemaking authority is expressly granted to the Texas Department of
Health in SECTION  1 (Section 171.014, Health and Safety Code) of this


SECTION 1.  Amends Subtitle H, Title 2, Health and Safety Code, by adding
Chapter 171, as follows: 



Sec. 171.001.  SHORT TITLE.  Authorizes this chapter to be called the
Woman's Right to Know Act. 

Sec. 171.002.  DEFINITION.  Defines "abortion."

Sec. 171.003.  PHYSICIAN TO PERFORM.  Provides that an abortion may be
performed only  by a physician licensed to practice medicine in this

Sec. 171.004.  ABORTION OF FETUS AGE 16 WEEKS OR MORE.  Provides that an
abortion of a fetus age 16 weeks or more may be performed only at an
ambulatory surgical center or hospital licensed to perform the abortion. 

Sec. 171.005.  DEPARTMENT TO ENFORCE.  Requires the Texas Department of
Health (TDH) to enforce this chapter. 

[Reserves Sections 171.006-171.010 for expansion.]


Sec. 171.011.  INFORMED CONSENT REQUIRED.  Prohibits a person from
performing an abortion without the voluntary and informed consent of the
woman on whom the abortion is  to be performed. 

Sec. 171.012.  VOLUNTARY AND INFORMED CONSENT.  (a)  Sets forth the
parameters of voluntary and informed consent for abortion. 

(b)  Requires the information required to be provided under Subsections
(a)(1) and (2) to be provided orally by telephone or in person, and at
least 24 hours prior to the time the abortion is to be performed. 

(c)  Requires the physician or the physician's agent, when providing the
information under Subsection (a)(2)(D), to provide the woman with the
address of the Internet website on which the printed materials described
by Section 171.014 may be viewed as required by Section 171.014(e). 

(d)  Requires the information provided to the woman under Subsection
(a)(2)(B) to include, based on information available from the Office of
the Attorney General and the United States Department of Health and Human
Services Office of Child Support Enforcement for the three-year period
preceding the publication of the information, information regarding the
statistical likelihood of collecting child support. 

(e)  Provides that TDH is not required to republish informational
materials described by Subsection (a)(2)(B) because of a change in
information described by Subsection (d) unless the statistical information
in the materials changes by five percent or more. 

Sec. 171.013.  DISTRIBUTION OF STATE MATERIALS.  (a)  Requires the
physician or physician's agent, if the woman chooses to view the materials
described by Section 171.014, to furnish copies of the materials to her at
least 24 hours before the abortion is to be performed. Authorizes the
physician or agent to furnish the materials to the woman by mail if the
materials are mailed, restricted delivery to addressee, at least 72 hours
before the abortion is to be performed. 

(b)  Provides that a physician or agent is not required to furnish copies
of the materials if the woman provides the physician with a written
statement that she chooses to view the materials on the Internet website
sponsored by TDH. 

(c)  Authorizes the physician and agent to disassociate themselves from
the materials and to choose to comment on the materials or refrain from

Sec. 171.014.  INFORMATIONAL MATERIALS.  (a)  Requires TDH to publish
informational materials that include certain elements. 

(b)  Requires the materials to be published in a certain manner.

(c)  Requires the materials to be available at no cost from TDH on
request.  Requires TDH to provide appropriate quantities of the materials
to any person. 

(d)  Requires TDH to annually review the materials to determine if changes
to the contents of the materials are necessary.  Requires TDH to adopt
rules necessary for considering and making changes to the materials. 

(e)  Requires TDH to develop and maintain an Internet website to display
the information required to be published under this section.  Requires
TDH, in developing and maintaining the website, to the extent reasonably
practicable, to safeguard the website against alterations by anyone other
than TDH and to monitor the website each day to prevent and correct
tampering.  Requires TDH to ensure that the website does  not collect or
maintain information regarding access to the website. 

(f)  Requires TDH to use, in addition to any other organization or entity,
the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists as the resource in
developing information required to be provided under this subchapter and
in maintaining TDH's Internet website. 

Requires the materials to include either geographically indexed materials
designed to inform the woman of public and private agencies and services
available to assist a woman through pregnancy, childbirth, and the child's
dependency, including certain elements, or a toll-free, 24hour telephone
number that may be called to obtain an oral list and description of
agencies that are located near the caller and of the services offered by
the agencies. 

(a)  Requires the informational materials to include materials designed to
inform the woman of the probable anatomical and physiological
characteristics of the unborn child at twoweek gestational increments from
the time when a woman can be known to be pregnant to full term, including
any relevant information on the possibility of the unborn child's

(b)  Requires the materials to include color pictures representing the
development of the child at two-week gestational increments.  Requires the
pictures to contain the dimensions of the unborn child and to be

(c)  Requires the materials under this section to be objective and
nonjudgmental and be designed to convey only accurate scientific
information about the unborn child at the various gestational ages. 

Sec. 171.017.  PERIODS RUN CONCURRENTLY.  Provides that if the woman is an
unemancipated minor subject to Chapter 33 (Notice of Abortion), Family
Code, the 24-hour periods established under Sections 171.012(b) and
171.013(a) may run concurrently with the period during which actual or
constructive notice is provided under Section 33.002 (Parental Notice),
Family Code. 

Sec. 171.018.  OFFENSE.  Provides that a physician who intentionally
performs an abortion on a woman in violation of this subchapter commits an
offense.  Provides that an offense under this section is a misdemeanor
punishable by a fine not to exceed $10,000.  Defines "intentionally." 

SECTION 2.  Amends Section 245.004, Health and Safety Code, as follows:

(a)  Provides that the office of a physician licensed under Subtitle B,
Title 3, Occupations Code, that is used substantially for the purpose of
performing abortions, rather than used for the purpose of performing more
than 300 abortions in any 12-month period, is not exempted from the
licensing requirement under this chapter.  Provides that an ambulatory
surgical center licensed under Chapter 243 is exempted from the licensing
requirement under this chapter. 

(b)  Provides that for purposes of this section, a facility is used
substantially for the purpose of performing abortions if the facility: is
a provider for performing at least 10 abortions during any month or at
least 100 abortions in a year; operates less than 20 days in a month and
the facility, in any month, is a provider for performing a number of
abortion procedures that would be equivalent to at least 10 procedures in
a month if the facility were operating at least 20 days in a month; holds
itself out to the public as an abortion provider by advertising by any
public means, including advertising placed in a newspaper, telephone
director, magazine, or electronic medium, that the facility performs
abortions; or applies for an abortion facility license. 
(c)  Provides that for purposes of this section, an abortion facility is
operating if the facility is open for any period of time during a day and
has on site at the facility or on call a physician available to perform

Deletes the existing text of Subsection (b), regarding the computation of
the number of abortions performed in the office of a physician. 

SECTION 3.  Amends Section 245.007, Health and Safety Code, to require the
Texas Board of Health to set fees imposed by this chapter in amounts
reasonable and necessary to defray the cost of administering this chapter
and Chapter 171. 

SECTION 4.  Amends Section 245.010(a), Health and Safety Code, to require
the rules to contain provisions requiring compliance with the requirements
of Subchapter B, Chapter 171. 

SECTION  5.  Requires TDH to prepare the informational materials required
by Section 171.014, Health and Safety Code, as added by this Act, and have
the materials available for distribution as required by Chapter 171,
Health and Safety Code, as added by this Act, not later than December 1,

SECTION  6.  Provides that if any provision of this Act or its application
to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not
affect other provisions or applications of the Act that can be given
effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end,
provides that the provisions of this Act are severable. 

SECTION  7.  Effective date:  September 1, 2003.
  Makes application of this Act to an abortion prospective to January 1,