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No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
SB 1173 is known as the Preborn Nondiscrimination Act. SB 1173 mandates the Health and Human Services commission to develop informational materials and post those materials on the commission's website for perinatal palliative care, which must include a description of the services offered by perinatal palliative care and information about medical assistance benefits that may be available for prenatal, childbirth, and perinatal palliative care.
In addition, the commission shall develop, publish and regularly update a geographically indexed list of all perinatal palliative care providers and programs in the state with contact information for free. Finally the commission shall produce a certificate form for pregnant women to sign confirming that they have received the perinatal palliative care informational materials and a list of care providers.
SB 1173 then requires that Healthcare providers who diagnose a preborn child with a life-threatening disability shall at the time of diagnosis: provide a written copy of the informational materials and list of care providers and programs, the certification form, and obtain the signed perinatal palliative care certification form and place the form in the pregnant woman's medical records.
SB 1173 then removes third-trimester abortion exemptions for aborting fetuses determined not to be viable by a physician's best medical judgement and to prevent the death or substantial risk of serious impairment to the physical or mental health of a woman, or if the fetus has a severe and irreversible abnormality. Physicians must now determine the necessity of an abortion due to a medical emergency. In order to perform abortions during the third trimester of the pregnancy, physicians shall certify in writing to the commission the medical indications supporting this determination.
SB 1173 defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of an individual's major life activities, an assessment referencing an individual's impairment, and a physical disfigurement.
SB 1173 prevents a person from knowingly performing or attempting to perform an abortion or use force or the threat of force to intentionally injure or intimidate a person to perform or attempt to perform an abortion based on the race, ethnicity, sex, or disability of the woman's preborn child. Violation of this represents a Class A misdemeanor. The woman on whom an abortion is performed or attempted may not be prosecuted for violation or conspiracy. A physician who violates this section is guilty of unprofessional conduct for which their license may be suspended or revoked.
SB 1173 allows for civil action to be brought against a person who violates this section by the woman, the father, or the maternal grandparent of the preborn child. They may obtain injunctive relief or damages including actual damages for all psychological, emotional, and physical injuries, court costs, and reasonable attorney's fees; or both injunctive relief and damages. These actions must be filed in the district court in the county where the abortion was performed or attempted no later than the sixth anniversary of that abortion or attempt. These damages are in addition to any other remedy available by law.
SB 1173 also requires that information physicians provide to women seeking an abortions must now reflect this change in law and the availability of perinatal palliative care from the Health and Human Services Commission. Physicians are required to provide information and orally inform the pregnant woman about perinatal palliative care and have her sign the perinatal palliative care certificate at least 24 hours before the abortion or at least 2 hours before if the pregnant woman currently lives 100 miles or more from the nearest abortion provider. After this the physician may only perform the abortion after the woman signs the certification form and it is placed in the woman's medical records.
SB 1173 deals with what we view as a primarily social issue. Texas Action does not make vote recommendations on social issues. For this reason we remain neutral on SB 1173