by Andrea Moury
While most Americans were asleep last night, legislators in the Texas Senate were working diligently to add more pro-life legislation to their books, displaying their strong commitment to curbing abortions in the Lone Star State.
Senate Bill 4 passed the Texas Senate by a 21-10 vote shortly before 2 a.m. earlier today. Sponsored by state Senator Charles Schwertner, the legislation prohibits local and state government agencies from contracting with abortion providers and their affiliates. It also expands the current state and federal bans on using taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions by prohibiting any financial contracts with clinics affiliated with abortion providers even if they do not perform abortions themselves. This specifically targets Planned Parenthood.
This morning, after a long night of debate, state senators kept the momentum going by passing Senate Bill 8, which removes coverage of elective abortion from private insurance, state employee health insurance, and plans subsidized by the Affordable Care Act.
Earlier in the week, the Texas Senate had previously approved Senate Bills 10 and 73 which require physicians to report certain details when complications occur during abortions and to report whether minors seeking abortions obtained parental consent or received a judicial bypass.
The Texas Senate is making good progress by passing these pro-life bills just a week into Governor Greg Abbott’s 30-day special session. Following behind, the Texas House is beginning hearings on the bills this week.
Recently, Texas has been one of the most active states when it comes to passing legislation aimed at curbing abortions. Back in June, the state passed Senate Bill 8, banning the most common abortion procedure used for second-trimester babies and requiring abortion providers to either bury or cremate fetal remains. This law is set to go into effect on September 1.
Gov. Abbott is also leading the way with an unconventional method of defunding Planned Parenthood. He has submitted a waiver to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) seeking federal funding for his state’s family planning program which was forced by the Obama administration to operate solely on state funds due to the fact that it excludes clinics that perform or promote abortion from participation. Sometime within the next nine days, the CMS will decide whether it will approve this and open up the floodgates for other states to do likewise.
In response to the pro-life legislators’ actions, Texas Right to Life released a statement this morning praising them for passing all of the pro-life bills on the agenda for Gov. Abbott’s special session so promptly:
Texas Right to Life applauds the Texas Senate for the leadership shown on prioritizing Pro-Life measures. We hope to see the House follow in the footsteps of the Senate and quickly pass the strongest version of the Pro-Life bills on the call for this Special Session of the 85th Texas Legislature.
Pro-lifers are hoping the Texas House will heed this message and quickly send the bill to Governor Abbott’s desk. With his signature, unborn Texans will receive needed additional protection against abortionists.
Photo credit: Nicolas Henderson via Flickr, CC BY 2.0