Appeals court upholds parental consent for birth control; Texas Medical Board to clarify abortion exceptions

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the state’s parental consent requirement for teens seeking birth control at Title X clinics, while the Texas Medical Board plans to provide clarity on medical exceptions to the state’s abortion ban.

By Wells DunbarMarch 15, 2024 12:15 pm,

A U.S. appeals court has upheld a Texas law mandating parental consent for teenagers seeking birth control at federally funded clinics.

“The federal program looks at free contraception for everyone,” Texas Tribune senior managing editor Ayan Mittra explains. “And so the justices on the court, in making this ruling affirming this lower court’s ruling about requiring parental consent to obtain contraception, they basically said that this ruling in this decision really doesn’t conflict with the federal program because the federal program focuses on encouraging family participation.”

Another crucial update in reproductive health involves the Texas Medical Board’s plan to provide additional guidance on medical exceptions to the state’s stringent abortion restrictions.

After the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision at the U.S. Supreme Court took away the constitutional right to abortion, focus has sharpened on exemptions to the ban, Mittra notes.

“One of the things that’s in Texas law is an exception for abortions when it comes to life-threatening medical conditions,” he said. “And so what’s resulted from that is that there’s been confusion about what actually qualifies as that.”

The board is slated to discuss exemptions on March 22.

For more from the week in Texas politics, listen to our interview in the audio player above.