Texas eliminates mob rule on abortion bill

Jul 10, 2013 by

After more than 10 hours of debate, the House voted 98-49 to tentatively approve the abortion regulations in House Bill 2, which would ban abortions at 20 weeks and add regulations to abortion providers and facilities that opponents argue would effectively eliminate access to abortion in Texas. The House must approve the bill again on another calendar day before it will be sent to the Senate.

In closing remarks on HB 2, Republicans emphasized that their goal was to protect women and unborn children, while Democrats expressed concern that the legislation would harm women by decreasing access to safe and legal abortions without offering any alternatives, such as education.

“This is not just happening in Texas, but all across the country in state after state,” said state Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, R-Parker, the bill’s author.

“At five months the baby has developed the sensory receptors that it can feel the pain of that abortion,” she added. “That is what gives us the authority and the right to be here, to do this. This is not about politics. This is heartfelt for every member.”

The engagement from advocates on both sides of the issue showed that the legislative and electoral process is working, said state Rep. Greg Bonnen, R-Friendswood, a physician. While some have called the legislation part of a “war on women,” others, such as him, think it will save human lives, he added.

“Some look at an unborn child and a human fetus and they see tissue, tissue that upon the discretion of the woman can be disposed of,” he said. “Other people look at that fetus and they see another human life. And what a difference that perspective makes.”

State Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, urged lawmakers to realize that no one is “pro-abortion,” and expressed discontent that some supporters of the bill had labeled opponents of the legislation “baby killers.” She said that the question is not when life begins but rather, “It’s a question of decisions that have to be made along the way.”

Howard said that during the regular session, a bipartisan group of lawmakers came together to increase financing for family planning services, which decrease maternal deaths, infant deaths and unplanned pregnancies.

“What we’re talking about here is going backwards,” she said. “It’s embarrassing that we’re doing this.”

State Rep. Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, said before the vote that the Democrats didn’t have a monopoly on “righteous indignation.”

“I shall stand here no longer and be accused of conducting a war on women,” Villalba said, “merely because I choose to protect and support human life. We fight this fight because of innocent human life.”

He held up a sonogram picture of the 13-week-old fetus growing inside of his pregnant wife.

via House Gives Early OK to Abortion Restrictions | The Texas Tribune.

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