by Steven Ertelt
April 3, 2007
Austin, TX (LifeNews.com) — Lawmakers in the Texas legislature discussed ten different bills on Monday that address abortions. They ranged from a measure that would ban abortions if Roe v. Wade is overturned to one seeking to collect information on why women have abortions so those reasons can be addressed.
Of the bills the committee considered, six would strengthen pro-life laws while four others would weaken them.
The abortion information bill would allow the state to collect information associated with abortions such as insurance payments used to pay for it or the women’s reasons for having one.
There are more than 74,000 abortions in Texas annually and legislators are hoping the bills will help reduce that figure.
"In order for pregnancy resource centers and maternal health groups to better direct their outreach effort, it starts with better data collection," Elizabeth Graham, of the Texas Right to Life, said.
"How can we address the problems if we don’t know how big the problem is? This is a life-altering surgery. This is not knee surgery … and we should do everything we can to reduce the causes for these types of surgeries, when they’re elective," Graham added.
But Laurie Felker Jones, spokeswoman for NARAL’s Texas affiliate, told the Dallas Morning News that the bills are burdensome.
"Abortion care is already the most regulated medical procedure there is – and one of the most safe and common procedures," she claimed.
One of the most talked about bills was a measure called a trigger law that would have the state prohibit abortions should the Supreme Court overturn its landmark abortion decision.
"I don’t think it’s very likely that they’re going to overturn Roe vs. Wade, but if they do, I think Texas should have some kind of position – something in place until we could meet in legislative session," Republican Rep. David Swinford said about the bill.
Jones countered that the bill would just promote illegal abortions.
The newspaper indicated that the hearing drew hundreds of pro-life advocates while just dozens of pro-abortion activists showed up.
The committee did not take action on any of the bills on Monday but is expected to do so in the coming weeks.
Other bills included a measure to make it so women who are considering abortions when their unborn child has sever physical deformities don’t have to get the information under the state’s informed consent law and one to increase reporting requirements when doctors treat women who are victims of botched abortions.
Another measure allows the Department of State Health services to inspect unlicensed abortion facilities to assure compliance with minimum health standards already in place for licensed abortion facilities.