A Woman’s Right to Know


The following information is an excerpt from the State of Texas publication A Woman’s Right to Know. For more information, please download the full booklet A Woman’s Right to Know.*

You are pregnant and want to know everything you can about the options you have. You have a right to know the truth. This downloadable booklet provides important information about the baby that is growing in your womb and the resources available to you during and after your pregnancy. You need good information in order to make important decisions about your pregnancy and your life. You have the right to make these decisions freely. No one else should make them for you.

No one can force you to have an abortion, not even your parents or the father of your baby. If you are feeling pressure (also called coercion) from someone to have an abortion, you have options. Talk to your doctor, counselor or spiritual adviser about your feelings, and ask for a phone to call 9-1-1 for immediate help.

If you are a victim of human trafficking (that is, if you are forced to provide labor or have sex for money), call the National Human Trafficking Resource Hotline at 888-373-7888.

If you are reading this because you are already considering an abortion, the doctor who agrees to perform the abortion must first perform a sonogram, allow you to see your baby, describe the features that can be seen and have you listen to the heartbeat if it can be heard. The doctor must wait at least 24 hours before performing the abortion so that you can consider all the facts and make this important decision freely. Only you have the right to decide what to do.

You and your doctor should talk openly and privately. You have the right to ask questions and know as much as you can. The best way for you to understand these risks is to share your health history with your doctor and discuss the risk of each option in light of your personal health history and needs.

Some things you should discuss with your doctor include:

  • Your personal health history.
  • How long you have been pregnant.
  • The medical risks of having an abortion.
  • The alternatives to abortion, including adoption.
  • The medical risks of carrying a pregnancy to term.
  • The many public and private agencies that will help new mothers through pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood, including nearby adoption agencies and free sonogram services, which provide pictures of the baby in your womb.
  • Money and other types of support available to new mothers.

Take whatever time you need to read this booklet and talk to other people you trust. You might speak with a family member, a spiritual or professional counselor, a close friend, your spouse, your partner or the father of the baby. You deserve the advice and support of those you trust, and you are strongly urged to ask for their advice and guidance before you make decisions that affect your pregnancy. You will need the support of those closest to you, whatever you decide. The decisions you make about your pregnancy are very important — you have the right to make them based upon your values, your beliefs and your health care needs.

For more information, please download the full booklet A Woman’s Right to Know. You can view additional materials online at www.dshs.texas.gov/maternal-child-health. This website is secure. No one from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) will collect or record any information about you.

If you are under 18 years old, Texas law requires a doctor to notify your parent or guardian before you can have an abortion. In most cases, the parent or guardian must give consent unless a waiver is given. If your rights are not being protected or you notice illegal or unsanitary abortion facility conditions, you may call or email your complaint here: 888-973-0022 or hfc.complaints@dshs.texas.gov.

*This State of Texas document contains information on fetal development, abortion risks, and pregnancy options. All of that information is current, accurate, and referenced to objectively legitimate citations.
Since the publication of this document, legal information about abortion has changed. The following is the updated information regarding abortion in Texas:
As of August 25, 2022, when the Texas Human Life Protection Act went into effect, abortion is a criminal offense in the state of Texas for any person who knowingly preforms, induces, or attempts an abortion with exceptions for the pregnant female on whom the abortion is performed, induced, or attempted and for physicians who in the exercise of reasonable medical judgment determine that the pregnancy aggravates, causes, or gives rise to a risk of death of substantial impairment of a major bodily function if the abortion is not performed or induced and there is no opportunity for the unborn child to survive without creating the same.