by Steven Ertelt
January 11, 2007
Austin, TX (LifeNews.com) — A Texas lawmaker has filed legislation in the state Senate that would make abortion illegal should the Supreme Court overturn its Roe v. Wade decision allowing unlimited abortions. The measure, known as a trigger law, would go into effect once the landmark case is reversed.
Sen. Dan Patrick, a Houston Republican, is behind the bill, which is similar to proposals lawmakers have put forward in Virginia, Oklahoma and Utah.
"Many of us on the pro-life side and even those on the pro-choice side believe it is a matter of time before Roe vs. Wade is overturned," Patrick told the Dallas Morning News.
"I want to have a law on the books in Texas that clearly says if Roe vs. Wade is overturned, there will be no abortions in Texas," he added.
Patrick has introduced a Senate version of the bill while pro-life Rep. Warren Chisum, a Pampa Republican, has introduced a companion bill in the House.
The legislation would restore Texas’ law against abortions and replace a statute that was invalidated in the Roe v. Wade case that resulted in the voiding of pro-life laws in most states across the country.
Patrick said there is some dispute about whether the Texas law would be able to be enforced if Roe is overturned and he wants to make sure abortions are prohibited should the nation’s high court reverse itself.
"Without a trigger bill, there would be a fight over whether we are a pro-life or a pro-choice state," he told the Dallas newspaper. "Some might view us as a pro-choice state because we have laws for parental notification and parental consent where if you get a parent’s approval, you can have an abortion."
However, abortion advocacy groups will likely strenuously oppose the legislation and the Texas affiliate of NARAL has indicated it would oppose it.
NARAL has a good chance of blocking the bill in the Senate because the chamber has a rule requiring a two-thirds vote before a bill can come up for a debate.
Last June, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco signed a trigger law for that state and Dorinda Bordlee, a long-time pro-life attorney and vice president of the Bioethics Defense Fund, told LifeNews.com other states should follow Louisiana’s lead.
"Our approach to include a post-Roe activation clause, sometimes called a trigger clause, enabled the legislators to speak their hearts without abortion industry lawyer’s breathing down their backs," Bordlee explained.
"It allowed post-abortive women to educate the legislators about how abortion negatively impacted their lives in profound ways," Bordlee added. "Other states that choose to follow Louisiana’s lead will help build a consensus to reverse Roe."
Related web sites:
Bioethics Defense Fund – https://www.BDFund.org