Texas Democrats to Filibuster Bill Banning Abortions After 20 Weeks

State   Steven Ertelt   Jun 25, 2013   |   9:45AM    Austin, TX

After the Texas House of Representatives passed the omnibus pro-life bill yesterday to ban abortions after 20-weeks of pregnancy, Democrats in the state Senate are planning to filibuster the measure today.

The House approved the bill early Monday morning after 8 hours of debate by a vote of 97-33 with 5 Democrats voting in favor of the bill and one Republican voting against.

According to Texas Right to Life, Senate Bill 5 would affirm the state’s interest in protecting the lives of preborn children who feel pain by banning abortion at 20 weeks post-fertilization.

Senate Bill 5 also requires all abortion clinics to meet the same health and safety regulations as an ambulatory surgical center, requires a doctor providing abortions to secure admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, and lastly, requires a doctor to personally administer the abortion-inducing drugs to the patient.

But Democrats oppose the bill claiming it would put many abortion facilities that can’t comply with the basic health and safety laws out of business. Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, is set to filibuster for 13 hours today.

Hundreds of pro-abortion activists have flooded the Texas capitol to register their opposition. Democratic lawmaker Jessica Farrar, chairwoman of the House pro-abortion caucus, told protesters after the vote, “It really mattered what you did,” making a filibuster possible.

SB 5 must pass through one last procedural move in the State Senate where two Democrat senators have made known their intention to filibuster. SB 5 must reach the desk of Pro-Life champ Governor Perry by midnight on Tuesday, the last day of the Special Session, in order to become law.

Legislature rules prohibit the Senate from taking up a bill for 24 hours after it leaves the House so Davis will have to talk until the 30-day special legislative session ends at midnight Tuesday.

Governor Rick Perry called for the special session partly in response to a late-term abortion practitioner in Houston who is killing babies born alive.

“The horrors of the national late-term abortion industry are continuing to come to light, one atrocity at a time. Sadly, some of those same atrocities happen in our own state. In Texas, we value all life, and we’ve worked to cultivate a culture that supports the birth of every child,” Gov. Perry said.

Perry added, “We have an obligation to protect unborn children, and to hold those who peddle these abortions to standards that would minimize the death, disease and pain they cause.”

Perry is referring to Douglas Karpen, a Houston abortion practitioner who is being considered the second Kermit Gosnell for killing babies born alive after abortion. A video expose’ of Douglas Karpen has three former abortion clinic employees of abortion practitioner Douglas Karpen exposing horrific practices that took place at his abortion clinic.

That a second Kermit Gosnell would be operating in Texas is so revolting that Lt. Governor David Dewhurst is demanding an investigation. Local officials responded and “Harris County authorities and the Texas Department of State Health Services are investigating, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle.

A collaboration of pro-life organizations, including Texas Alliance for Life, support measures to increase protection for unborn babies and tighten safety standards for abortion facilities.

“We are grateful to Gov. Rick Perry for adding protection of mothers and unborn babies to the issues considered in the special session,” said Joe Pojman, Executive Director of Texas Alliance for Life. “We believe that the recent allegations against Houston abortion physician Douglas Karpen, along with conviction of Kermit Gosnell, highlight the urgent need for pro-life legislation to be passed quickly. We cannot allow these atrocities to continue for two more years when we have the opportunity to address them right now.”

In the video, the former abortion workers brought forward evidence of illegal late-term abortions in the form of photos taken on their cell phones at the Karpen’s clinic on Schumacher Lane in Houston.

The photos were scandalous. They depicted two babies aborted well beyond the legal limit of 24 weeks in Texas. Their necks had been cut.

“The photos show babies that are huge, with gashes in their necks, indicating that these babies were likely born alive, then killed, just as Kermit Gosnell did at his ‘House of Horrors’ clinic in Philadelphia,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “In fact, there are numerous similarities between Karpen and the Gosnell case, including the disregarding of complaints by the authorities that allowed both men to continue their illegal operations.”

The video interview of the three informants verified the worst.

“When he did an abortion, especially an over 20 week abortion, most of the time the fetus would come completely out before he cut the spinal cord or he introduced one of the instruments into the soft spot of the fetus, in order to kill the fetus,” said Deborah Edge, who worked as a surgical assistant for Karpen for about 15 years until leaving in March, 2011.

“I thought, well, it’s an abortion you know, that’s what he does, but I wasn’t aware that it was illegal…Most of the time we would see him where the fetus would come completely out and of course, the fetus would still be alive,” Edge continued.

How often did this happen?

“I think every morning I saw several, on several occasions,” she said. “If we had 20-something patients, of course ten, or twelve, or fifteen patients would be large procedures, and out of those large procedures, I’m pretty sure that I was seeing at least three or four fetuses that were completely delivered in some way or another,” said Edge, acknowledging that these babies would be alive.

She described how some babies would emerge too soon and would be alive, moving, and breathing. She also told of how Karpen would sometimes deliver the babies feet first with the toes wiggling until he stabbed them with a surgical implement. At the moment the toes would suddenly splay out before going limp. Sometimes he would kill the babies by “twisting the head off the neck,” according to Edge.

During the interview the former abortion clinic employee says: “the fetus would come completely out and of course, the fetus would still be alive” and the abortion clinic employee added “I’m talking about the whole floor dirty. I’m talking about me drenched in blood.”

One abortion clinic employee is quoted as saying, “I thought, well, it’s an abortion you know, that’s what he does, but I wasn’t aware that it was illegal. Most of the time we would see him where the fetus would come completely out and of course, the fetus would still be alive.”

“He does a lot of huge abortions. A lot of the times, we would bring the big fetus that were over age, we would re-open the bag and just look at it and be like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s so big,” the abortion clinic staffer adds. “Sometimes he couldn’t get the fetus out. He would yank pieces – piece by piece – when they were oversize. And I’m talking about the whole floor dirty. I’m talking about me drenched in blood.”