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Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP)

Texas imposes extra restrictions on abortion providers, despite the fact that all health-care providers already must comply with a variety of federal and state regulations governing health, safety, building and fire codes, and zoning requirements.  

Restrictions on Where Abortion Services May Be Provided

Texas places medically unnecessary restrictions on where abortion services may be provided.    

Providers, including private physicians, who perform more than 50 terminations per year must become licensed as abortion facilities. Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. § 245.002 (Enacted 1989), Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. § 245.004 (Enacted 1989; Last Amended 2003).  Additionally, an abortion facility is forced to have the same minimum standards as an ambulatory surgical center or mini-hospital.  H. 2b, 2013 Leg., 3d Spec. Sess., 2013.

Abortion facilities must comply with dozens of administrative and professional-qualification requirements. 25 Tex. Admin. Code § 139.1- 139.60.  For instance, abortion providers must have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility, and that provides obstetrical or gynecological health care services.  H. 2b, 2013 Leg., 3d Spec. Sess., 2013.  Nothing in the regulations requires hospitals to grant such privileges.  25 Tex. Admin. Code § 139.56.  Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. § 245.017 (Enacted 1997).

The admitting privilege law was initially blocked in federal district court as an unconstitutional restriction on a woman's ability to access abortion care. Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas v. Abbott, 2013 WL 5781583 (W.D.Tex. Oct 28, 2013).

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, however, reversed that finding after the Texas Attorney General's office filed an emergency appeal to have the lower court's decision reviewed. As a result, the law is currently in effect without restriction, pending a full trial.  Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas v. Abbott, 2013 WL 5857853 (5th Cir. (Tex.) Oct 31, 2013).

A court upheld the constitutionality of the vast majority of these TRAP regulations. Women's Med. Ctr. of N.W. Houston v. Bell, 248 F.3d 411 (5th Cir. 2001).

Restrictions on Who May Provide Abortion Services

Texas prohibits certain qualified health-care professionals from providing abortion care.

Only a physician licensed by the state may provide abortion care. Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. § 245.010(b) (Enacted 1985; Last Amended 2003).

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