Lege Lines: Bill Would Ban Fetal Disability Abortion
ACLU questions constitutionality of draconian HB 2434
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...