The War on Women’s Rights Wages On

The Senate continues its attacks on abortion

The Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs unanimously voted on Feb. 27 to send a bill to the full Senate that allows physicians to withhold news about the health of a fetus. SB 25, by Sen. Brandon Creigh­ton, R-Conroe, would prevent parents from being able to sue their doctor if their child is born with a disability. While the anti-choice lobby claims the bill discourages doctors from suggesting abortion to evade lawsuits, pro-choice testifiers argued the legislation interferes with informed decision-making and condones deceiving patients. "It shouldn't be the policy for the state of Texas to excuse doctors from lying to their patients, but that's what this bill does," said Blake Rocap, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas policy adviser, during the hearing.

The following day, the Texas Senate Business and Commerce Committee heard testimony (mostly) against Friendswood GOP Sen. Larry Taylor's SB 20, which bans private abortion insurance coverage under the ACA, without exceptions for rape, incest, or fetal abnormalities. Testifiers established that women aren't likely to purchase the separate, supplemental coverage for abortion that the bill mandates, as abortion – like unexpected emergency surgery – isn't really a planned procedure. Testifiers who work in the abortion funding world explained it would be a "de facto ban" and disproportionately increase barriers to abortion access for poor and minority women. "However we feel about abortion, lawmakers shouldn't be allowed to deny a patient's health coverage just because of how they are insured, and people participating in the health care exchange shouldn't have inferior health care services … including abortion care," said Amanda Williams, executive director of the Lilith Fund. That bill was left pending in committee.

And finally, the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services on Wednesday morning quietly passed a trio of anti-choice bills that had been met with heavy resistance from reproductive health advocates two weeks ago (see "Toxic Masculinity Drops the Hammer," Feb. 23). SB 8 bans the donation of fetal tissue from abortion; SB 415 restricts the most common and safest type of second-trimester abortion procedure (D&E); and SB 258 forces women to bury or cremate their fetus after an abortion or miscarriage. Those bills now move to the full Senate. Stay tuned.

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85th Lege, Brandon Creighton, Amanda Williams, Blake Rocap, Larry Taylor, Repro Rights

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