The Senate Health & Human Services Committee met on July 15th at 9 a.m. to consider SB 4 (Lucio) relating to abortion complication reporting and the regulation of drug-induced abortion procedures, providers, and facilities. SB 4 was voted out at the end of the hearing.
This report is intended to give you an overview and highlight of the discussions on the various topics taken up. It is not a verbatim transcript of the discussions but is based upon what was audible or understandable to the observer and the desire to get details out as quickly as possible with few errors or omissions.
SB 4 (Lucio) Relating to abortion complication reporting and the regulation of drug-induced abortion procedures, providers, and facilities; creating a criminal offense.
- Lucio – Lays out CS, drafting correction in Section 7
- Abortion inducing drugs are not permitted to be prescribed and provided through the mail, but the federal government has decided not to enforce
- These drugs are only safe because of regulation and physician oversight
- Kolkhorst – Did this bill pass out of the Senate and die in the House in the regular session?
- Lucio – Yes, it got through House committee and died in calendars
- Seliger – To whom or what entity are the complications reported?
- I’m sure there is someone in state or federal government that they will be reported to, don’t know the answer
- Seliger – It seems like a lot of adverse events would go into the surgical notes. Is there any other surgical procedure that things must be reported outside of surgical notes?
- Not that I know of
- Seliger – Is there administration of other pharmaceuticals that you have a long list of things that must be reported?
- Campbell – I don’t know
- Kolkhorst – There is reporting to HHSC
- Seliger – Is it a metabolic disorder that is a result of medication that must be reported?
- Campbell – You can have metabolic disorders before, or due to the use of a drug
- The physician dispensing the drug would know if metabolic disorder were already present
- People would report to the Health and Human Services Commission
- Kolkhorst – The reporting requirement would give a more in-depth look at what reactions are happening
Dr. Geoffrey Erwin, Retired OBGYN – For
- Mifepristone was approved in 2000 and it was required for the woman to see a physician prior to the administration of the drug
- Risk of death increases exponentially with every week beyond 8 weeks
- Ultrasounds can determine gestational age, life-threating ectopic pregnancy
- Blood type should be determined, and this can only happen with an in-person visit
- This regimen is potentially dangerous and was approved with regulation in place, and those are now absent
- Kolkhorst – These drugs are used by human traffickers. Is that correct?
- If you can get misoprostol and mifepristone in the mail, there will be issues with boyfriends being unhappy with girlfriends’ pregnancies, etc.
- Lucio – I don’t believe in abortion, but it is unfortunately the law of the land. We must do everything we can, and we address the mother through this legislation. We don’t want to see two deaths. We’re trying to save the mother by not having drug companies mail these dangerous drugs.
Jessica Colón, Susan B. Anthony List – For
- SB 4 Reinforces Texas’ strong stance against mail-order abortions
- The Biden administration was granted a stay in a federal case because the FDA intends to change chemical abortion health and safety protocols
- RU 486 could be mailed because of the pandemic
- The FDA is now going to make this change permanent
- Kolkhorst – The FDA said that doctors can mail the drugs in April. What is the process?
- I’m not advised
- Kolkhorst – Everything is under the guise of COVID
- Perry – They aren’t removing the rule, they’re just not enforcing it?
- Kolkhorst – How many states do you see moving on this?
- Oklahoma has brought it into law
- In Texas, we have deference to the FDA in current law that can only be removed by legislative action
- Perry – The pills that we are giving to these women, it was not easy. Everyone that I knew personally in this situation ended up going to the hospital. This is not to be taken lightly.
- Campbell – Even outside of the drug itself, looking at increasing sex trafficking, this gives an opportunity for a physician to see someone.
- Hall – This is a federal government failure
- Kolkhorst – I am very concerned about the health and welfare of women
Jennifer Allmon, Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops – For
- Every abortion kills an unborn child, but it is important that we protect women, and that is what this bill seeks to do
- A criminal penalty raises the stakes for doctors who might be willing to skirt the in-person rule
- This bill corrects multiple loopholes
- The abortion industry is trying to make it seem like getting an abortion is as easy as taking an antibiotic
- The original regulations were put in place in the Clinton administration, so they are not political
- Kolkhorst – I am nervous about this approach with compacts. This allows us to criminally go after anyone.
- These bills needed to pass together. This requires in-person and prohibits out-of-state doctors from doing telemedicine on abortion cases in Texas. The criminal penalty allows us to actually go after them.
- Lucio – I am appalled by the possible actions coming out of U.S. Congressional hearings, on taxpayer dollars being used for abortion services. I urge you to take this message to the cardinal and others that will address their position on what Congress is doing on a federal level.
Denise Siebert, Self – For
- Shares experience as a woman who regrets her abortion
- Woman should meet with doctor before having an abortion
- Women may be forced or coerced into having an abortion
- FDA says “Do not buy this on the internet”
- This is about safety and women’s health, not the abortion industry
Rebecca Parma, Texas Right to Life – For
- FDA first approved these drugs in 2000, and since then over 1,000 women have been hospitalized and one has died
- COVID pandemic enforcement of the in-person requirement was suspended
- FDA is looking to further loosen restrictions in November
- There are circumstances under which women should not use these drugs
- SB 4 specifies that these drugs can only be used 49 days into the pregnancy, back to 2000 standards
- Perry – Will the increased criminal penalty be helpful if we have an unfavorable DA?
- We recommend adding civil liability and AG control in the bill.
Jonathan Saenz, Texas Values – For
- We support this legislation, even though innocent human life begins at conception
- We recognize the value of this common-sense legislation
- The Biden Administration and the ACLU will be extremely aggressive
- They should be with a doctor
- Campbell – If we take the physical exam away, we lose the possibility that the physician-patient interaction will prevent the death of a baby
Rachel Schroder, Students for Life Action – For
- Politically motivated changes to safety standards, anyone can order abortion pills
- Chemical abortion becomes more dangerous in the second trimester, but many women misstate their last menstrual cycle
- Kolkhorst – What percentage accounts for chemical abortions?
- 53%, I believe
- Lucio – I pray that we have young men and women of faith lead this country
- I appreciate you making this issue a non-partisan issue
Dr. Joe Pojman, Executive Director of Texas Aligns for Life – For
- 20% of chemical abortions result in complications
- Chemical abortions are increasing in Texas, now the most common method of abortion according to HHSC data
- Lucio – We know how many abortions have taken place since Roe v. Wade, and it’s over 60 million. How many mothers have lost their lives in that process?
- Pojman – Nationally, reporting is very poor, but dozens of women have lost their lives
Theresa Maska, Students for Life Action – For
- When chemical abortion pills are sent through the mail, safety is thrown out
- Women choosing chemical abortion need in-person care
- Ultrasounds are necessary
Kyleen Wright, Texans for Life Coalition – For
- A political decision has opened the door to unrestrained telemedicine abortion
- Texas law is not adequate right now to deter out-of-state doctors
- England suspended safety protocol and a leaked email showed the escalating risks
- There are police investigations into late-term abortions, including a murder investigation into an infant that was believed to be born alive
- Kolkhorst – Abortions from 2004 to 2016 have declined while we have seen chemical abortions double; This is something that the abortion industry has been pushing to circumvent state laws to protect vulnerable women
- Perry – We have a reporting bill that will highlight how many of those procedures are actually going on
Jacqulyn Dudasko, Director of Education Policy for Texans for Life Coalition – For
- Mifepristone can now be dispensed over telemedicine and mail, putting vulnerable women at risk
- Women need to be in hospitals under the care of physicians
Madeleine Roberts, Texas Students for Life Action – For
- Doctors asked my mother to consider terminating her pregnancy with me
- Colleges are the abortion industry’s target
- Planned Parenthood does telemedicine in all 50 states
- Young people support requiring in-person purchase of abortion drugs
Witnesses registered but not testifying – 7 for, 21 against
CSSB 4 voted out (5-0)