Texas State Representative Steve Toth recently introduced HB 2690, which seeks to restrict online access to information regarding abortion and abortion materials. This bill is known as the Women and Child Safety Act, and if passed, it would make it illegal to “provide information on how to obtain an abortion-inducing drug.” It would also restrict the creation of any “website, platform or other interactive computer service[s]” that provides information on medical abortion materials. Not only would it block online platforms, but it would require internet service providers to restrict internet access to such topics.
HB 2690 targets six websites, Aid Access, Hey Jane, Plan C, Choix Health, Just the Pill and Carafem. These sites provide information about medical abortions and how to obtain them. Texas citizens will lose access to these pages and their resources if this bill is passed. These Telehealth sites will completely lose their right to free speech and commerce, while women will lose access to information regarding their health. Similarly to Texas SB 8, HB 2690 encourages citizens to file lawsuits against any “who merely speak about or provide access to certain information.” As free speech is being threatened, so is women’s health — and possibly their lives. Pushing citizens to sue those who speak on reproductive resources will deny women of their rights. Women should be able to speak on these topics and have access to resources, especially regarding their health. Jennifer Pinsof, staff attorney, states, “Regardless of your stance on reproductive rights, this house bill is denying us our First Amendment rights. Anyone who cares about free speech — regardless of how they feel about reproductive care — should contact lawmakers considering such legislation and tell them to oppose this bill and others like it.”