3.22.24 – Texas Tribune

“Texas Medical Board Proposes New Guidance for Abortion Medical Exceptions”

by Neelam Bohra

Excerpts from this article:

Texas board offers new abortion exception guidance | The Texas Tribune

The Texas Medical Board proposed a general definition for emergency medical exceptions to the state’s otherwise strict abortion ban at its meeting Friday, disappointing some advocates who were seeking a specific list of conditions that would qualify.

The board’s proposed rule defined “medical emergency” as “a life threatening condition aggravated by, caused by or arising from a pregnancy that is certified by a physician places the woman in danger of death or a serious impairment or a major bodily function unless an abortion is performed.”

…The board listed several ways a doctor could document why an abortion was necessary, including what placed the woman in danger of death and how they determined that was the risk, using things like “diagnostic imaging test results, medical literature, second opinions and or medical ethics committees that were used or consulted and the what alternative treatments were attempted and failed or rolled out.”

The board said they could not reference rape or incest, as they were “out of the board’s jurisdiction,” as the Texas Legislature did not cite that as an exemption for a legal abortion in the law.

It also defined “reasonable medical judgment” as “medical judgment made by a reasonably prudent physician knowledgeable about a case and the treatment possibilities for the medical conditions. Involved.”

For at least 30 days, there will be space for public comment before the board puts a final rule into place. The board most likely will address the rule again in June, said Dr. Sherif Zaafran, president of the Texas Medical Board. Zaafran said Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office was consulted and weighed in when making the rule.

The Texas Supreme Court was
 the first to ask the Medical Board to issue guidance for doctors navigating the state’s abortion laws in December…

The board’s 16 current members, appointed by the governor, normally examine complaints against physicians…