by Steven Ertelt
May 16, 2007
Austin, TX (LifeNews.com) — The Texas state legislature is advancing two bills that would help limit the number of abortions done in the state. The first measure it will consider is a bill the state Senate approved to 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.
The idea behind the bill is to learn more about why women have abortions so those reasons can be addressed.
Sen. Florence Shapiro, a Plano Republican, is behind the measure (SB 785), which also collects data on abortion complications and judicial bypass case rulings.
The Senate amended the bill on the floor to require the judicial bypass reporting by state rather than by county — a concession to abortion advocates who don’t want judges who grant the abortion waivers identified.
Yet, the House State Affairs committee reverted the bill to its original language.
The second bill the state House will consider also received Senate approval and its Sen. Dan Patrick’s SB 920 that would require abortion practitioners to do an ultrasound on a woman seeking an abortion and give her the option to see it beforehand.
When women seeking abortions see ultrasounds in pregnancy centers they almost always decide against having one.
Both bills could see amendments by pro-abortion legislators seeking to water them down and Rep. Ellen Cohen, a Houston Democrat, plans to offer an amendment that would withdraw information in the materials given to women that mentions the link between abortion and breast cancer.
Rep. Mike Villarreal, a pro-abortion San Antonio Democrat, also plans amendments to weaken the bill.
There are more than 74,000 abortions in Texas annually and legislators are hoping the bills will help reduce that figure.
Laurie Felker Jones, spokeswoman for NARAL’s Texas affiliate, told the Dallas Morning News that her group opposes the bill.
"Most Texans don’t need an exhaustive study and a laundry list of questions for patients to know why women are seeking abortions in Texas. It’s because they’re accidentally pregnant," she said.
However, one leading pro-life organization is asking lawmakers to support it.
"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.
Under the bill abortion practitioners must also determine whether or not the woman considering the abortion has been coerced by a husband, boyfriend or someone else and must give her information on women’s shelters if appropriate.
Other information must be reported by the state but the abortion practitioner from a survey given to women that they can voluntarily complete.
The bill would also collect information about the number of times judicial bypasses are granted for teenagers who want an abortion but don’t want to tell their parents about it beforehand.
The Texas Supreme Court would compile statistics for a report on that.
Related web sites:
Texas Right to Life – https://www.texasrighttolife.org