Schwertner, the Republican chair of the Texas Senate's Committee on Health and Human Services, spent Wednesday morning introducing and defending a bill that would ban most women from donating fetal tissue from their abortions to science. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, pressed Schwertner, Sen.
"Can you point me to anything in this bill that enhances the pregnant women's health and safety?"
State Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, brought his gavel down on the glass so hard in a February 15, 2017, senate hearing that he shattered the glass on a table. Perry said his bill does not ban the dilation and extraction procedure altogether, but instead requires doctors to terminate the fetus before the surgery is done.
And Senate Bill 258 would require abortion doctors to offer women the option of having fetal remains buried or cremated. Donald Huffines, R-Dallas and Sen.
Some witnesses, who told the panel they opposed all forms of abortions, chastised the Republican members of the Senate committee for not filing bills to outlaw the procedure and praised House legislation filed by state Rep.
"My bill is not about that", said State Sen. "My bill deals with the dignity of the unborn, and that is a profound objective for the state of Texas".
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"There is no cost to the woman unless she makes the elective decision to handle it herself", Huffines said of the proposed requirements.
Wednesday was big day in Austin for both Texas' staunchest advocates against reproductive choice and the organizations that have fought tooth and nail at the Texas Capitol and in the courts against the advance of legislation that seeks to limit abortion to the absolute limit of what is allowed by Roe v.
Opponents argue the bill would make the procedure less safe for women.
The testimony, save for a few key moments, walked the lines that have been drawn over the last decade, as anti-abortion politicians and lobbyists have pushed Texas law and pro-abortion rights groups have tried their hardest to hold their ground.
However, numerous activists who testified said that the proposed restrictions did not go far enough. Tony Tinderholt's House Bill 948, which would stop abortion to "to the fullest extent authorized under federal constitutional law".
Senate Bill 415 would prohibit dismemberment abortions- a type of abortion in which non-suction instruments are used to remove a fetus in pieces.
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In his testimony, Pojman outlined the surprising rift between his group, which presents itself as Texas' moderate bastion of anti-abortion politics, and Texas Right to Life, hoping that the bill will serve as a breach in the wall that Roe v. Wade provides for abortion rights.
Reproductive rights advocates have expressed concern that Texas lawmakers will take bolder steps in the upcoming session to defund abortion providers and dismantle access to abortion, birth control and other sexual health services.
Harrison continued, "If veterinarians ripped apart living dogs or cats to kill them in the same way that a living fetus is ripped apart in the D&E procedure the outcry would be deafening".
SB 8 would also extend the federal ban on partial-birth abortions, a procedure ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003.
After three days of testimony from attorneys for the state and Planned Parenthood, U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks is letting the reproductive health provider stay in Medicaid until February 21.
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