March 22, 2024

AUSTIN, TX — The following statement will be given today by Texas Alliance for Life’s Communication Director, Amy O’Donnell, at the meeting of the Texas Medical Board. The board will consider promulgating guidance to physicians treating women with pregnancies that risk the loss of a woman’s life or a major bodily function. The statement by Ms. O’Donnell emphasizes that Texas’ abortion laws have a medical-necessity exception to allow physicians to perform abortions in such rare and tragic cases. During the first 16 months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, doctors performed 71 abortions under the medical-necessity exception, according to data from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, with no liability for the physicians.

Ms. O’Donnell will be available for comment outside the board’s hearing. Her statement follows:

I am here today to advocate for the Board to set forth rules explaining to physicians the meaning of the medical necessity section of the Human Life Protection Act, the law to protect unborn babies from abortion the Legislature passed in 2021 during the 87th Regular Session. We are grateful the Board has taken this up for consideration today.

It’s important to note as you consider this important issue that Texas abortion laws are saving unborn babies’ and pregnant women’s lives.

Induced abortions performed in Texas are required to be reported to the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, and the numbers are recorded on a monthly basis in the Induced Termination of Pregnancy reports, also known as ITOP. The latest information from the reports, which we have summarized on the attached sheet, shows two relevant trends.

First, the law is saving unborn babies’ lives. Reported elective abortions plummeted from thousands per month to zero after Dobbs reversed Roe.

Second, the law is saving pregnant women’s lives. During the first 16 months after Dobbs — from July of 2022 through October 2023, the latest month of available data — doctors performed 71 abortions, all in hospitals, that fell under the medical-necessity exception of the law (Sec. 170A.002, Health and Safety Code), to save pregnant women’s lives or prevent the risk of loss of a major bodily function. We believe that fertility is a major bodily function.

No doctor has been prosecuted by a district attorney, sanctioned by this Board, or sued by the attorney general. No pregnant woman has lost her life for lack of an exception, even with more than 360,000 births in Texas each year.

This shows that the exception in the law allows doctors to perform abortions to save pregnant women’s lives in rare and tragic cases when medically necessary.

We hope that the rules you propose will explain that to any physicians who do not already understand the law.

For Media Inquiries or Comments Contact:
Amy O’Donnell, Director of Communications
512.477.1244 (o)                                # # #