Update: As of today, new specific rules regulating Texas abortion facilities are available for public comment.
The rules were drafted in response to House Bill 2, the abortion-restricting Texas law that Gov. Rick Perry signed in July. As the department that regulates abortion clinics in Texas, the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) wrote the specific rules after interpreting the Legislature’s intent.
- You can view the rules here.
Anyone may comment on the proposals during a 30-day period that begins today. Comments may be submitted three ways:
Via mail: Allison Hughes, Health Facilities Rules Coordinator
Health Care Quality Section, Division of Regulatory Services
Department of State Health Services
P.O. Box 149347
Mail Code 2822
Austin, TX 78714-9347
Via phone: (512) 834-6775
Via email: email@example.com; please specify "Comments on abortion facility licensing rules" in the subject line.
Original Story (Aug. 28): Texas is moving forward with implementation of the law that increases restrictions on abortion. Members of the public had a chance to testify on the rules of putting the restrictions in place.
That's because when a measure like House Bill 2 becomes law, the Texas Department of State Health Services writes rules, in this case, to guide facilities on how they can legally provide abortions under the new law.
On Wednesday, the State Health Services Council heard feedback on the rules from the public. Some came wearing orange, a color that's become associated with opposition to this law.
Others came to offer supportive comments. People like Brian McAuliffe of San Marcos.
"So I’m out there on the sidewalks, talking to women, trying to let them know about some of the alternatives," McAuliffe said. "I’ve seen the women come out. They really should not have been released at that time. And I know one of the rules is about the condition on release."
Sarah Wheat of Planned Parenthood said all the rules are harmful.
"One of our concerns is that this bill in fact did nothing and does nothing to protect women’s health and safety. So we’re going to be following what the state health department does closely and hope that they take that into consideration," Wheat said.
On Thursday, the Council will vote on whether to move the rules forward, as they are. If they’re approved, the rules will be published in the Texas register for more public comment over a 30-day period. When that will take place has not been determined. But the rules must be in place by January 1, 2014.