Perry fights opposition to pass abortion bill



After Rep. Wendy Davis’ 13-hour filibuster at the June 25 Texas ­­Senate meeting stopped Texas Senate Bill 5 from being passed, Gov. Rick Perry called a second special session that began July 1. Now the state is watching anxiously to see what similar bill is coming next.

Texas senate representative Davis, a Democrat from Fort Worth, was a teen mother and attended community college before transferring to Texas Christian University and graduating first in her class. Davis continued on to Harvard Law School, where she graduated with honors.

“The actions intended by our state leaders on this particular bill hurt Texans; there is no doubt about that,” said Davis when beginning her filibuster.

Davis is in strong opposition of the abortion bill that would have left Texas with six out of 44 abortion facilities because of the standards the bill intends to implement. SB 5 intended to outlaw abortions after 20 weeks from conception and ensure the correct usage of drug-induced abortions.

“SB 5 establishes a separate and independent compelling interest in protecting the lives of unborn children from the state at which the medical evidence indicates they are capable of feeling pain,” according to the Senate Research Center’s bill analysis of SB 5, filed June 12, of the ban on abortions after 20 weeks.

The bill analysis also notes that SB 5 laid out requirements for drug-induced abortions for doctors and patients.

“The purpose of SB 5 is to protect the health and welfare of women considering a drug-induced abortion. It ensures that physicians providing drug-induced abortions are only doing so in the way in which the FDA tested and approved the abortion-inducing drug.”

However, the biggest change SB 5 plans to implement comes when considering abortion facilities.

“In 1992, the Supreme Court ruled in Casey v. Planned Parenthood that states have the right to regulate abortion clinics. In 1997, Texas enforced increased regulations; however, today, 38 licensed abortion facilities still operate at a second, lower standard for the most common surgical procedure in Texas performed solely on women. Six Texas abortion facilities meet the standard as ambulatory surgical facilities,” according to the bill analysis.

By changing all abortion clinics to follow the guidelines of ambulatory surgical centers, Texas women who choose abortion will be provided with the highest standard of care, according to the bill analysis.

“Texas allows no other procedure to opt out of the accepted standard of care,” according to the bill analysis.

Perry’s second special session will extend for 30 days in order to discuss several topics, including the SB 5 bill.

“The Texas Legislature is poised to finish its history-making work this year by passing legislation to protect the unborn and women’s health, invest in our transportation infrastructure and ensure our justice system is fair but firm,” said Perry’s office in an official statement July 1.

“As we open the second special session, we must remember the people of Texas hired us to do our job, and that’s what we must do.”

According to Malkia Hutchinson, program coordinator for the UH Women’s Resource Center, should SB 5 pass, Houston can expect to feel the repercussions.

“For women in Houston, we’d be left with two out of our 12 clinics, should this pass, for nearly 980,000 women in the city,” Hutchinson said.

“It is also worth mentioning that although they may not come directly to Houston, Oklahoma women have been coming to Texas for abortions for years — especially after the tightening of their own states’ abortion requirements.”

Hutchinson also says UH students, as well as young people of Texas, will be affected.

“A lot of what these clinics provide is preventive health services that our young people need. Contraception use is the best way to avoid unwanted pregnancy. Our rates of teen pregnancy and unplanned pregnancy will not go down with this legislation. This does nothing to address that,” Hutchison said.

“This only makes abortions harder to obtain. History has shown, and current statistics as well, that outlawing abortion does not decrease abortion rates. They only drive women to seek abortion services by more clandestine means.”

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