Texas Pro-Abortion Legislators Say New Abortion Requirements Too Restrictive

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 19, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Texas Pro-Abortion Legislators Say New Abortion Requirements Too Restrictive

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
November 19, 2003

Austin, TX (LifeNews.com) — Pro-abortion members of the state legislature are upset with proposed rules changes that are being considered by the state health department that would require teenage girls to show identification prior to obtaining an abortion and would require abortion facilities to provide women considering abortion with information on fetal development.

A spokesman for the Texas Department of Health said the changes might be adopted in January and that they reflect testimony from all sides.

However, twelve members of the state House and seven members of the state Senate signed a letter asking the department to rescind the proposed changes.

"These rules are like a runaway train," said Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, "but they don’t have to be a train wreck."

Legislators also claimed that San Antonio Rep. Frank Corte and his legislative aide, Kathi Seay are improperly influencing the health department.

A measure authored by Corte and passed by the state legislature last spring requires the Texas Department of Health to produce a brochure for women considering abortions, explaining risks of the procedure and options for carrying the pregnancy full-term.

Similar pro-life laws in other states have helped reduce the number of abortions by as much as one-third.

The brochure also details the development of the unborn child, and the final copy will, as specified by the law, include color photographs of various stages of development. The measure also requires a 24 hour waiting period on abortions.

Pro-life groups are also concerned and want to make certain the brochure doesn’t sacrifice science for convenience.

"There is some mysterious resistance at the Texas Department of Health to crafting a booklet that is objective and medically accurate, especially in acknowledging that the majority of the studies, rather than just some of the studies, have identified an increased risk link between abortion and breast cancer," Elizabeth Graham of Texas Right to Life previously told LifeNews.com.

"The bill specifically calls for this information to be given to women, and the language in the booklet is very ambiguous, potentially undermining this significant factor in a woman’s decision."

Despite the concerns, Texas Right to Life feels the proposed brochure is pretty "balanced" and will help "empower women to make a better choice," hopefully other than abortion.

The pro-abortion legislators also complained about the identification requirement.

Though pro-life groups say it will help ensure that abortion facilities follow the law, the legislators claim it is a burdensome requirement.

It was put in the proposal part of a settlement between the health department and the Texas-based Justice Foundation, a pro-life legal group.

"A photo ID is essential to protect minors from child abuse and to assure compliance with the parental notification law," Justice Foundation director Alan Parker said. "The photo ID requirement is a result of a need to protect children from sexual abuse and to protect parental rights to "know" when their minor daughters seek an abortion."

A woman, represented by The Justice Foundation in a recent case, seeking enforcement of existing law was not informed about her minor daughter’s abortion, which caused the girl severe psychological problems, including depression, suicidal tendencies, and hospitalization.

Pro-abortion groups also oppose the use of the brochure.

About 78,000 abortions are performed each year in Texas.

Other signers of the statement include: Rep. Dawnna Dukes of Austin, Reps. Gabi Canales of Alice and Joaquin Castro, Robert Puente and Mike Villarreal of San Antonio; Sen. Jeff Wentworth of San Antonio, the sole Republican; and Sens. Juan Hinojosa of McAllen and Leticia Van de Putte of San Antonio.

Related web sites:
Right to Know brochure – https://www.tdh.state.tx.us/women/hb15_intro.htm
Texas Right to Life – https://www.texasrighttolife.org