Lege Lines: Bill Would Ban Fetal Disability Abortion

ACLU questions constitutionality of draconian HB 2434

Rep. Matt Schaefer
Rep. Matt Schaefer (Photo by John Anderson)

A bill laid out in a recent committee hearing would not allow pregnant women with severe fetal disabilities, including those that could result in infant death shortly after birth, to obtain an abortion after 20 weeks. HB 2434 by Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler, would remove the current "severe fetal abnormality" exception in the state's 20-week ban. It would also make it illegal to choose abortion based on the sex, race, or disability of a fetus, including "physical disfigurement, scoliosis, dwarfism, Down syndrome, albinism, amelia, or any other type of physical, mental, or intellectual abnormality or disease." The draconian bill was met with pushback by American Civil Liberties Union attorney Anjali Salvador, who called the legislation both unconstitutional and inhumane during a State Affairs Committee meeting last week.

SCOTUS precedent prevents states from banning abortions based on a woman's reasons for obtaining the procedure. The ACLU has filed suit in Kentucky over a similar disability ban bill, and costly litigation is also taking place in Indiana and Ohio. "These decisions are deeply and profoundly personal, and that's exactly why they should be left with each woman in consultation with her health care provider," said Salvador. "This is not about abortion, it's about women making the best choices for their health and their families." The bill was left pending in committee. When asked by State Affairs Committee Member Rep. Richard Peña Raymond, D-Laredo, if he could point to any evidence that race or gender-based abortions are occurring, Schaefer waffled before eventually failing to come up with a shred of proof. "You have not verified that this actually happens in Texas," said Raymond...

For more, check out our War on Women's Health page.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More by Mary Tuma
SCOTUS Protects Abortion Rights, Upholds Texas Precedent
SCOTUS Protects Abortion Rights, Upholds Texas Precedent
Roberts concurs with majority to strike down Louisiana measure

June 29, 2020

Pro-Choice Groups Strike Back at Malicious Abortion Foe
Pro-Choice Groups Strike Back at Malicious Abortion Foe
Leader of small-town ban effort slapped with defamation suit

June 11, 2020


abortion rights, House Bill 2434, Matt Schaefer, Richard Peña Raymond, Anjali Salvador, ACLU, American Civil Liberties Union

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle