Texas Governor Greg Abbot recently convened a 30-day special session to push a legislative agenda that failed to pass during regular congressional session. This session received significant national news coverage, in part because it saw Representative Valoree Swanson (R-Spring) introduce a controversial bill that seeks to revoke physician licenses of those who perform abortions in the state.
Physicians would be prohibited from performing virtually every kind of abortion under the proposed legislation. House Bill 86 would include limited exceptions that consider the health of the woman and the fetus. Terminating a pregnancy might be allowed when it would prevent “substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function, other than a psychological condition.” The law would also make an exception when the procedure would save another fetus.
Critics say that the terms written into the law are subjective and that the bill provides no explanation of who would decide when these rules apply. They worry that physicians who make snap decisions to save a patient might later face harsh consequences (including loss of professional license).
The Battle Over the Direction of Texas Abortion Law
Opponents of House Bill 86 argue that the measure is another step in a series of attempts to restrict women’s health initiatives and the scope of physician practice in the state. For instance, in May, the Texas House passed a measure that would outlaw a common second trimester procedure, D&E. Doctors who perform these procedures in the state of Texas would face felony charges. In 2013, the state legislature effectively shut down more than 20 abortion clinics by requiring costly upgrades and enforcing additional regulations upon physicians. This law attracted national scrutiny: the U.S. Supreme Court later found it unconstitutional and dismantled it.
Will It Pass?
House Bill 86 is drawing attention from physician circles and the media at large.
Irrespective of their beliefs about abortion per se, many physicians and other health professionals in Texas are weary of outsiders trying to limit their scope of practices based on limited medical knowledge.
It’s challenging enough just to keep up with the current set of rules and regulations and doubly hard to pay attention to the shifting legal/political environment while running a practice or working at a hospital. If you or a colleague face disciplinary action, you need to act strategically to protect your professional license. Our experienced team can help. We can develop a battle plan to get you a fair outcome.
If you are facing allegations of professional misconduct or disciplinary action, contact us today or call (512) 717-5432 and schedule a case evaluation.
BERTOLINO LLP proudly represents licensed professionals across the entire State of Texas. To best serve our clients we currently have offices in Austin, Houston and San Antonio.