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Texas

Restrictions on Low-Income Women's Access to Abortion

Texas prohibits public funding for abortion for women eligible for state medical assistance for general health care unless the procedure is necessary to preserve the life of a woman or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.  1 Tex. Admin. Code § 354.1167; 2006 Texas Medicaid Provider Procedures Manual, § 36.4.18.1, p. 36-43, and B.1 Abortion Certification Statements Form (2006), at http://www.tmhp.com.

An invalid statute provides that a woman eligible for state medical assistance for general health care may not obtain public funds to pay for an abortion unless the procedure is necessary to preserve the woman's life.  Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. § 32.005 (Enacted 1989).  This statute conflicts with federal law prohibiting participating states from excluding abortion from the Medicaid program in cases of life endangerment, rape, or incest.

The Texas Supreme Court held that the state is not obligated to fund all medically necessary abortions.  Bell v. Low-Income Women of Tex., 95 S.W.3d 253 (Tex. 2002).  The court reversed a lower court, which had ruled that statutory provisions prohibiting state funds from paying for abortion, except in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest, are unconstitutional under the equal rights amendment of the Texas Constitution.  Low-Income Women of Tex. v. Bost, 38 S.W.3d 689 (Tex. Ct. App. 2000).


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