Texas Committee Passes Bill to Ban Abortions at 20 Weeks

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 3, 2013   |   9:41AM   |   Austin, TX

The House State Affairs Committee last night passed a pro-life bill to ban abortions in the state after 20 weeks of pregnancy and hold abortion facilities accountable for obeying health and safety laws.

The last attempt to pass the bill was halted in the state Senate with a pro-abortion filibuster but state Sen. Wendy Davis says she will not filibuster the bill a second time.

The bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks and hold abortion clinics accountable by making them meet basic health and safety standards that have closed facilities in other states that are unable to comply. The bill 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.

The hearing saw the halls packed with over 2,100 people wanting to testify on the bill — with most of them pro-life and supporting it. The final count on the bill was 3,543 who registered a position with the Texas government computer system — 2,181 supporting the bill and 1,335 against it.

“In terms of witnesses, the system has never seen overload like this,” said Rep. Helen Giddings, the vice chairwoman of the House State Affairs Committee.

The state House is expected to debate the bill on July 9 after the Texas legislature returns from its Independence Day recess.

Texas Governor Rick Perry issued a call for a special session of the Texas legislature to pass the bill that a pro-abortion mob prevented the legislature from passing last week.

“I am calling the Legislature back into session because too much important work remains undone for the people of Texas. Through their duly elected representatives, the citizens of our state have made crystal clear their priorities for our great state,” Perry said. “Texans value life and want to protect women and the unborn. Texans want a transportation system that keeps them moving. Texans want a court system that is fair and just. We will not allow the breakdown of decorum and decency to prevent us from doing what the people of this state hired us to do.”

The Texas Tribune has more information on how the hearing went: https://www.texastribune.org/2013/07/03/brief-top-texas-news-july-3-2013/

Over the objections of Democrats who said opponents of the bill crowded outside the committee room outnumbered the supporters, roughly the same number of witnesses from each side were allowed to testify. Supporters said the legislation would protect unborn children and women’s health, while opponents said it would drastically restrict access to a legal procedure.

“This is not about protecting women and our health, but about closing down clinics,” said one witness, who condemned Perry for using the “language of sexual violence” when he recently told a National Right to Life convention that the “louder [opponents of the bill] scream, the more we know we are getting something done.”

Said another witness who testified while holding a baby in her arms: “I speak on behalf of the children who will be missed, because they were murdered prior to be being born.”



After public testimony was closed at midnight, state Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, criticized Republicans for ending the hearing after having heard from fewer than 100 witnesses.

“The time clock has not run out on this special session, and I do believe the people who come here do have a right to have their voices heard,” Turner told the committee.

The bill, which Republicans have enough votes to pass, now moves to the full House.

Texas Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst addressed the National Right to Life Convention in Dallas, Texas, on Saturday, affirming his commitment to passing protective legislation for mothers and their unborn children in the upcoming second special legislative session.

“I am not discouraged. We will pass this bill out of the legislature,” he said.

The filibuster was not the only impediment to passage of the bill — a noisy group of abortion advocates made it impossible for members of the Senate to conduct business and that may happen again — making it so Dewhurst will need to step up and regain control of the chamber so the bill can be debated and a vote taken.

Texas legislators on Monday filed a new bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks and hold abortion facilities accountable for breaking health and safety laws after a pro-abortion mob derailed the previous bill.

Abortion advocates protested at the state capitol but pro-lifers drowned them out with signing of Amazing Grace. The paid protesters opposing the late-term abortion ban in Texas are also  doing more than rallying outside the legislature against the pro-life bill. They’re threatening pro-life state legislators and their staffers.

Call and email YOUR Representative and Senator starting on Monday with a simple message, “Please speak, stand, and vote FOR HB 2.  My support will be significantly determined by the vote on this bill.” Visit this link to confirm your correct Representative and Senator: https://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/Home.aspx