Despite Supreme Court Ruling Texas Legislators Will Push More Pro-Life Bills to Stop Abortions

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Aug 15, 2016   |   1:32PM   |   Austin, TX

Refusing to give up despite a major setback at the U.S. Supreme Court this summer, Texas lawmakers continue to introduce pro-life measures to protect unborn babies.

At the end of June, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a devastating decision when it struck down a Texas abortion clinic regulation law. The law protected women’s health, saved the lives of thousands of unborn children and closed abortion clinics that could not ensure adequate protection for women. The ruling put more unborn babies’ and women’s lives in jeopardy again, but Texas lawmakers are finding new ways to protect them from the abuses of the abortion industry.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is one of the leaders in the fight to protect unborn babies from abortion. Through his LIFE Initiative, he is working protect unborn babies in Texas through various measures, including by taking tax dollars away from abortion businesses, ensuring that when babies are aborted their bodies are not being sold or disposed of as medical waste, and improving and expanding adoption services, according to the governor’s office.

“Gov. Abbott believes that defending the sanctity and dignity of human life is worthy of immediate action,” Ciara Matthews, the governor’s spokeswoman, told the Houston Chronicle.

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In Texas, state lawmakers introduce laws every two years; but the governor’s office is working on several pro-life initiatives through other routes.

One involves a newly proposed rule from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission that requires that aborted babies’ bodies be treated with dignity by being buried or cremated. Currently, the commission rules allow aborted babies’ bodies to be incinerated or ground and then disposed along with other medical waste. The new rule would raise aborted babies’ bodies above the level of medical waste, and require abortion facilities and hospitals to either cremate or bury them.

The agency’s rules are subject to public comment, but they no not require legislative approval. In Texas, some state agencies have specific rule-making authority granted by the legislature.

Texas leaders also are working on new updates to its informed consent booklet, which abortion facilities must offer to women before they have an abortion. The booklet, A Woman’s Right to Know, provides crucial information about a woman’s rights and pregnancy options, according to Texas Right to Life. It covers topics like the risks associated with elective abortion, facts about fetal development, and alternatives to abortion. It also has a resource directory with information about adoption, maternal assistance programs, pregnancy resource centers and other social service options.

The updates include strong evidence that unborn babies can feel pain by 20 weeks of pregnancy, and the replacement of the words “embryo” and “fetus” with “your baby.”

Both the booklet revisions and the cremation/burial rule are being considered right now in the state. A third initiative is scheduled to go into effect in September. It involves the new Healthy Texas Women program, which ensures that low-income women have access to quality healthcare. The state launched the program after lawmakers voted to stop giving tax dollars to Planned Parenthood in 2011.

Now some of the funds that used to go to the abortion giant are being sent to pro-life organizations that help both women and their babies. The Heidi Group, a pro-life organization run by Carol Everett, is set to receive $1.6 million from the new Healthy Texas Women program to help women in rural areas, the Associated Press reports. The contract begins in September.

Everett, a former abortion business owner and now a strong pro-life advocate, said many women in rural Texas do not have access to quality health care. Through its new state contract, the Heidi Group will help to fill the gap for women and their families in more than 40 counties, she said.

When Texas lawmakers cut off funding to Planned Parenthood, abortion activists claimed that the cuts would reduce women’s access to health care. However, state officials told the AP that the new Healthy Texas Women program will expand access to health care.

According to the AP: “State health officials have said the new program will have roughly three times as many providers as five years ago. It offers contraception, pregnancy testing and counseling, immunizations, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and testing and treatment for ailments such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Those under 18 will need a parent’s permission to qualify.”

Even more pro-life measures are expected in the coming months in Texas. The Houston Chronicle reports pro-lifers are “brainstorming laws to introduce when the Legislature returns next year.”

However, the new initiatives do have abortion activists upset. The newspaper reported that neither abortion businesses in Texas nor the ACLU would say whether they plan to file lawsuits against the pro-life initiatives.