The Source: Is The State's 'Woman's Right to Know' Pamphlet A 'Propaganda Piece?'
For years, critics have alleged that Texas' state-mandated booklet for pregnant women is ideologically motivated and medically inaccurate. Despite having received nearly 13,000 comments after a call for public input in 2016, the Department of State Health Services’ released a revised version on December 7 that many say is worse than before.
The first edition of “A Woman’s Right to Know Information Material” was created by a 2003 abortion informed consent law. Doctors and healthcare providers are required to provide the booklet to pregnant patients.
“We very carefully reviewed the booklet for accuracy and took to heart the feedback we received over the summer,” DSHS Chief Press Officer Carrie Williams said in an email. “Our focus was on making sure the booklet is helpful, user friendly and medically accurate, and we carefully studied the medical and scientific research available to us along the way. In the end, it's about making sure pregnant women have the information they need to make decisions that are right for them.”
Rep. Donna Howard, who also serves as vice chair of the Texas House Women’s Health Caucus, calls the booklet a “propaganda piece." From the supposed connection between abortion and breast cancer to assumptions of post-abortion psychological trauma and listing non-medical providers as abortion resources, information contained in the booklet has caused medical professionals to have significant concerns about its accuracy and objectivity.
After the revised version was released in December, anti-abortion advocacy organization Texas Right to Life posted online that several of their requested changes had been included in the updated booklet and thanked DSHS for “resisting the ideologically motivated demands of the pro-abortion lobby.”
Williams says DSHS reviewed information from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other governmental health and medical resources while developing the booklet.
- Rep. Donna Howard, District 48 (pre-recorded interview)
- Dr. Kimberly Carter, president of Texas Association of Obstetricians & Gynecologists
- Professor Cynthia Daniels, leads the Informed Consent project at Rutgers University
- Blake Rocap, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas legislative counsel
- Kellie Gretschel, executive director of San Antonio Coalition for Life