Last updated: Sept. 14, 2021
Even though abortion is a constitutional right, the state of Texas has unlawfully banned abortions after approximately six weeks of gestation. While we continue to fight this law in the courts, for the moment, obtaining an abortion after six weeks of pregnancy will likely not be available for Texans.
If you are in Texas and need abortion care, visit the following websites for logistical and/or financial support:
Earlier this year, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law Senate Bill 8, which took effect on Sept. 1, 2021. The law outlaws abortion around six weeks of gestation, even in cases of rape and incest.
The ACLU of Texas and partners are currently in the process of legally challenging this unconstitutional law. In an effort to keep Texans informed of their right to abortion care, we will update this information as the lawsuit moves through the courts. Please check back regularly.
This content is intended to serve as general information; it is not legal advice nor intended as legal advice.
Is abortion legal in Texas?
Yes. You have a constitutionally protected right to decide whether and when to become a parent, including the right to terminate a pregnancy. While Texas cannot prohibit abortions outright, the state can impose some restrictions. Restrictions on abortions in Texas generally make it more difficult or expensive.
How far into pregnancy can I have an abortion?
Under SB 8, the state of Texas bans abortions after approximately six weeks of gestation, unless you have a medical emergency. The law does not provide exceptions for cases that involve rape or incest.
Is it illegal for me as a Texan, or anyone helping me, to get an abortion after six weeks in another state or country?
No. First, remember that SB 8 does not allow lawsuits directly against people who receive abortions. Second, while it is not possible to guarantee that people attempting to enforce SB 8 will not bring a lawsuit against Texans who refer or provide assistance to patients seeking abortion care out of state, SB 8 does not apply to out-of-state abortions. Therefore, assisting someone to access out-of-state abortion care would not be considered aiding and abetting in violation of SB 8.
Is it considered “aiding and abetting” under Texas law if I donate to a Texas abortion fund?
Donating money is a protected First Amendment activity. While it is not possible to guarantee that people attempting to enforce SB 8 will not bring a lawsuit against Texans who donate to a Texas-based abortion fund, the risk of liability is very low.
How many visits will I have to make to an abortion provider?
Texas law requires you to make at least two trips to the abortion provider. The state requires you to undergo a sonogram and receive state-mandated paperwork about medical risks, adoption alternatives, and developmental stages of the fetus. (Some of the information in this paperwork is false.) The state also requires you to wait 24 hours after receiving the sonogram and state-mandated paperwork before having your abortion. This 24-hour waiting period can be waived if you live 100 miles or more from the nearest abortion provider.
Do I have to see the same doctor for all visits?
Yes. Texas law mandates that the doctor who performs your sonogram must be the same doctor who performs your abortion. The state also requires you to schedule any follow-up appointments with the same doctor. This means that you cannot get your sonogram from one health care provider and then go to a different doctor for the actual procedure.
Do I have to view the sonogram images?
Texas law requires the doctor performing your sonogram to display the images, make any fetal cardiac activity audible, and verbally explain the results of the sonogram. However, you may choose to not view the sonogram images or hear the audio, and there are exceptions to receiving a verbal explanation of the sonogram results. Talk to your doctor if this is a concern.
Where in Texas can I get an abortion?
Because of regulations like those enacted as part of House Bill 2 in 2013, there has been a dramatic drop in the number of abortion providers in Texas. The following cities have one or more abortion providers: Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, El Paso, Houston, McAllen, Waco, and San Antonio. For a full list of abortion providers in Texas, go to: www.needabortion.org.
What are my options for an abortion procedure?
Your doctor will conduct the abortion either by giving you a pill to take or by performing a procedure in the doctor’s office. Both options are effective and safe forms of terminating a pregnancy. Your choice depends on a number of factors including your preference, how far along you are in your pregnancy, and available options at your abortion provider. Talk to your doctor about which option is best for you.
Can I get an abortion in Texas if I’m under 18 years old?
Yes. If you are under 18, Texas law generally requires you to get the consent of your parent or legal guardian. If you are legally emancipated, you do not need the consent of a parent or legal guardian.
What if I don’t have consent for an abortion from my parent or legal guardian?
A minor under 18 can get an abortion without the consent of their parent or legal guardian by filing an application for judicial bypass. Judicial bypass is a judge’s permission for you to have an abortion without your parent or guardian’s consent. The process is entirely confidential. If the judge finds that you are mature enough to decide for yourself or that telling your parents would not be in your best interest or could lead to abuse, they will give you a court order that you can take to your doctor. If you think you might need a judicial bypass, there are lawyers who can help. Jane’s Due Process assists minors with the judicial bypass process, including providing legal representation. You can reach them by phone at 1-866-999-5263 or online at: janesdueprocess.org.
How much does an abortion cost?
The cost of an abortion varies depending on several factors, including how far along you are in your pregnancy and which abortion provider and method you choose. The cost in the first trimester is between $300 and $800 for a medication abortion and between $300 and $1,500 for a procedure abortion. Hospitals generally charge more. If you need an abortion but you can’t afford one, there are many clinics and non-profits that will help you pay for it. Go to abortionfunds.org for more information.
Is abortion covered by my health insurance plan?
No, unless you purchase separate abortion insurance. Starting December 1, 2017, Texas law forbids insurers from covering abortion as part of your overall health insurance plan, unless you need an abortion to save you from death or serious physical injury. Military insurance and Medicaid only cover abortion in cases of rape, incest, or life-threatening conditions.
Is abortion safe?
Yes, abortion is an extremely safe and common procedure. At current rates, about one in four Americans who can reproduce have had an abortion by the age of 45. Abortions happen without any major complications in more than 99.975% of cases. That means an abortion is about as safe as a colonoscopy.
Will having an abortion put me at an increased risk for breast cancer?
No. Although Texas requires your doctor to read you a statement suggesting that there is an increased risk of breast cancer after an abortion, it’s just not true. Cancer experts and reproductive health experts agree that there is no such risk. For example, the American Cancer Society has concluded that no scientific research studies demonstrate a causal relationship between abortion and breast cancer.
Will I still be able to get pregnant again if I have an abortion?
Yes. Abortion hasn’t been shown to cause complications in subsequent pregnancies, and there is no scientific evidence that abortion is linked to infertility.
Is it true that Texas has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the U.S.?
Yes. Texas’ abortion laws are some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. Both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical Association oppose some of Texas’ abortion laws because excessive restrictions on abortion care jeopardize patients' health. As a result of these laws, there are not enough abortion clinics to adequately serve people in the nation’s second-most-populous state. About 900,000 people who are able to reproduce in Texas live more than 150 miles from an abortion clinic.
Weren’t these laws struck down by the Supreme Court?
The Supreme Court struck down two of Texas’ anti-abortion laws in 2016: a law requiring doctors who provide abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, and a law requiring abortion clinics to make themselves into ambulatory surgical centers, which are basically mini-hospitals. The court ruled that these laws had nothing to do with health or safety, and they only served to block access to abortion.
The court’s ruling concerned only those two laws. What’s worse, before the Supreme Court could make its decision, the damage was already done. The unconstitutional laws forced many clinics to close, and Texas is left with just a few clinics to serve millions of people of reproductive age.
To learn what other laws regulate abortion in Texas, click here.