Documents released to RH Reality Check show that the Texas Department of State Health Services ignored the input of hundreds of Texans asking it to reconsider or revise new abortion reporting requirements, and instead bent to the will of one anti-choice lawmaker and a handful of his colleagues.
Texas will begin gathering new and more invasive information about abortion-seeking people and abortion-providing doctors in 2013, thanks to new reporting requirements enacted by the Department of Health and Human Services, developed at the request of an anti-choice Tea Party lawmaker.
Newly released documents show Texas Health and Human Services Commissioner Tom Seuhs instructed his staff to try to create new abortion reporting requirements that would please one anti-choice legislator–and also “not be offensive to women.”
The Texas Department of State Health Services Council met this week to push forward the potential adoption of new abortion reporting requirements drafted at the best of one rogue, anti-choice legislator, but the opposition from pro-choice Texans is finally gaining steam.
How did one Texas legislator get the state Department of Health Services to enact requirements on abortion care that failed to pass even the Texas legislature? Documents show the answer is simple: he just asked. Yet despite inquiries, the DSHS can not justify many of the requirements and seems not to have thought them through.
The Texas Department of Health is putting in place vague new abortion requirements, despite repeated failure of a law to mandate them. And even DSHS itself can’t articulate what the reporting requirements mean or why they are necessary.
Passionately anti-choice Texas House Representative Bill Zedler couldn’t get the legislation he wanted approved in last year’s lawmaking session–he’d like to know as much as possible about women seeking, and doctors performing, abortions–so instead of pursuing the consent of his peers in the legislature, he got the Texas Department of State Health Services to do it for him. So much for democracy.