by Steven Ertelt
December 16, 2004
Austin, TX (LifeNews.com) — Pro-life groups in Texas are looking to further limit abortion during the next session of the Texas state legislature. One group is hoping to improve parental involvement when a teenager girl considers an abortion while others are looking to help women coerced into having one.
Although Texas has a law requiring abortion businesses to inform parents when a teen is contemplating an abortion, one group says it is not effective enough.
Texas Alliance for Life will promote a bill that would require parents to provide consent before their teenage daughters have an abortion.
"Virtually all medical procedures on a minor require a parent’s consent. That is the normal standard of medical care for minors," said Texas Alliance for Life Executive Director Joe Pojman.
"In Texas, parental consent is required for a minor to get her ears pierced, and a school nurse must get parents’ permission to dispense aspirin to their child. Why should a major medical procedure such as abortion be different," Pojman asked.
Pojman’s group is also worried that notification of a teenager’s abortion is not getting to parents and notices are left at wrong phone numbers or mailed to wrong addresses.
"The weakness in the law cheats parents out of their basic rights," he said.
However, Stacey Emick, legislative director for Texas Right to Life, says her group isn’t going to press for parental consent, but will be focusing on other pro-life initiatives.
She told the Longview News Journal newspaper that a review of consent laws in other states has shown that they don’t do any more than parental notification laws to reduce abortions.
Emick said her group participated in a recent coalition meeting of pro-life organizations and the consensus was to pursue other legislative proposals next session.
"From a practical standpoint, we don’t think it would be worth all the work and all of the political capital that would be spent in trying to get it passed," Emick said.
Instead, Texas Right to Life and other pro-life groups intend to close loopholes in an abortion information bill that requires abortion practitioners to give women information about abortion’s risks and alternatives.
Emick told the News Journal that Texas Right to Life will also work to pass a law that punishes people who coerce women into having an abortion and another to require that adults who accompany a teenage girl to an abortion show proof of parenthood.
Leading pro-life lawmaker Rep. Frank Corte, a San Antonio Republican, said it wouldn’t surprise him if someone introduced a bill similar to legislation approved in Michigan.
There, the state legislature, following a court decision overturning a ban on partial-birth abortions, passed the Legal Birth Definition Act, which uses a different description of the gruesome abortion procedure to ban it.
Corte said some members of the legislature may want to take on Roe v. Wade itself with the possibility that the Supreme Court’s membership could change enough to allow a challenge to the landmark decision.
"I haven’t heard of any member wanting to do it, but there are a lot of possibilities out there," Corte told the News Journal. "I’m not sure what kind of success you could have bumping up against Roe v. Wade, not that I’m saying I’m against it."
The issue of abortion is considered a hot topic of debate in a potential 2006 gubernatorial primary between incumbent Governor Rick Perry, who is pro-life, and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who backs abortion but often votes for pro-life legislation.
Should Perry be able to push through additional pro-life legislation, he could improve his already strong relations with the pro-life community.