by Steven Ertelt
April 5, 2007
Austin, TX (LifeNews.com) — The head of the Texas House State Affairs Committee used his prerogative as the committee chairman to kill five of the ten bills related to abortion that are pending with the panel. However, four of the five bills he’s decided not to allow votes on are sponsored by abortion advocates.
Of the bills the committee considered earlier this week, six would strengthen pro-life laws while four others would weaken them.
Rep. Dave Swinford, a Republican who heads the committee, said some of the bills would likely be unconstitutional and go further than the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade would allow.
"We are about as far as we can go under the federal guidelines of Roe v. Wade," Swinford said, according to the Amarillo Globe-News.
"These bills would move past what federal law would allow," Swinford added. "So, we have to deal with reality."
House Bills 122, 301, 306, 1760 and 3077 are the ones that will die with HB 122 the only one of the bunch that has the backing of pro-life groups. Tow of the measures would force hospitals to tell women who are victims of rape or incest that they have the option of having an abortion.
Of the measures that remain in the committee, HB 175, sponsored by GOP Rep. Warren Chisum, would make abortion illegal in the state of Texas if the nation’s high court ever reverses its Roe decision.
He said the bill is important to make sure abortion is illegal because a judge could rule otherwise once the Supreme Court overturns its decision.
"If Roe is reversed, then we will have a statute that addresses abortion in this state," Chisum said.
"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," Swinford previously said about the bill.
Another bill that remains is a measure seeking to collect information on why women have abortions so those reasons can be addressed.
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.