Texas House Forces Vote, Approves New Abortion Restrictions

| by
article imagearticle image

Texas Republicans used their majority to approve a measure granting some of the toughest abortion restrictions in the country.

The Texas Legislature voted to ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, require doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and limit abortions to surgical centers. If it becomes law, SB 5 would shut down 37 out of 42 abortion clinics in the state.

"If this passes, abortion would be virtually banned in the state of Texas, and many women could be forced to resort to dangerous and unsafe measures," said Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

Debate about the bill continued for 15 hours until Republicans passed a motion to stop accepting amendments and force a vote.

"We are willing to have an attack on women in order to have someone's political agenda achieved," said Rep. Sylvester Turner in opposition to the debate being stopped. "It may be in the dark of night now ... but the sun will shine on each and every one of us, and we will be held accountable."

Rep. Jody Laubenberg sponsored the bill. When another representative called for an exemption for women who were victims of rape and incest, Laubenberg explained why it was unnecessary.

"In the emergency room they have what's called rape kits where a woman can get cleaned out," Laubenberg said. "The woman had five months to make that decision, at this point we are looking at a baby that is very far along in its development."

After that remark, Laubenberg did not speak again until her closing argument.

"At five months, we are talking about a human being, unless you think it's still a clump of mass ... and we have to protect that baby’s rights," she said. "Too often the back alley clinic today is the abortion clinic because of lax standards."

The bill passed 97-33, Fox News reported. Democrats in the Senate said they would try to filibuster the bill if it came to them on Tuesday, which now seems very likely.

Sources: Fox News, The Washington Post