Yesterday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill placing significant restrictions on abortion providers in his state, and simultaneously called for a special session which will provide an opportunity for further pro-life gains.
We reported on the bill last week, shortly after it passed the Texas legislature:
On Friday, Texas senators passed several new abortion limits, including a ban on dilation and evacuation — or “dismemberment abortions”, the most common abortion procedure used for second-trimester babies. The bill, Senate Bill 8, which has previously passed the House by a vote of 96-47, also requires that fetal remains be either buried or cremated.
These bills represent the most stringent abortion regulations the Texas legislature has passed since 2013. That year, it passed House Bill 2, requiring facilities where abortions are performed to meet certain standards applicable to all surgical centers, including admitting privileges at local hospitals. In the June 2016 case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the Supreme Court struck down large portions of that bill, disregarding the fact that the standards safeguarded women’s health and claiming that they imposed an “undue burden” on women seeking abortions.
Pro-life Texas policymakers do not seem discouraged by the ruling, though, and with Abbott’s signature, their new law is set to take effect on September 1.
Texas joins Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, West Virginia, and Arkansas, all states which have passed such bans in the past year. Legislators in Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and South Dakota, as well the US Congress, have also introduced similar bans in 2017.
Even the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute recognizes that restricting this most common method of killing second-trimester babies is “a significant step forward in [anti-abortion policymakers’] campaign to eliminate abortion access in the United States.”
Governor Abbott did not stop at just passing Senate Bill 8, however. He also announced that he is calling a special session of the Texas Legislature beginning on July 18 which will address further pro-life legislation. Of the twenty items on the agenda of the special session, three pertain to abortion:
- Prohibiting the use of taxpayer dollars to subsidize health care providers that perform abortions
- Resurrecting Senate Bill 20 which would require women to pay a separate premium if they want their health care plan to pay for an elective abortion
- Increasing requirements to report complications which occur during abortions
Texas Right to Life released a statement yesterday pledging that their legislative team “will continue Pro-Life leadership and a full-time presence during the 30-day special session of the 85th legislature.” They praised Governor Abbott’s special session which has “the opportunity to add significant gains to the victories won in the regular session.”
Photo credit: Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0