AUSTIN (AP) — Texas medical groups object to a proposed rule for the state Women’s Health Program that would ban abortion counseling, calling it a “gag order” on doctors.

The Dallas Morning News reported Tuesday that the Texas Medical Association and other groups complain the proposed rule is so burdensome that doctors won’t want to participate in the program, regardless of whether they oppose abortion.

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The rule bans doctors in the program from providing abortion counseling and extends to other doctors in their practice and patients who are not in the women’s health program. Texas Medical Association President Dr. Michael Speer says it violates doctors’ free speech rights.

A spokeswoman for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission said officials will carefully review the objections raised by the TMA.

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