Texas House Passes Bill Ostensibly Eliminating Abortion

The Texas House of Representatives predictably but regrettably passed HB2 98-49 Tuesday night. The bill effectively eliminates abortion in the state (or, at least, makes it really, really, really hard to happen). Here's what HB2 would do if passed into law.

  1. The bill would ban abortion at 20 weeks post-fertilization and recognize that the state has a compelling interest to protect fetuses from pain. The bill's author, Rep. Jodie Laubenberg (R) (you know, the one who thought that rape kits aborted fetuses?), said “My goal in this bill is to stop abortion at five months based on the pain [felt by unborn fetuses]." And yet, this claim that has been made time and time again by pro-life politicians has in no way been proven. But who needs science, am I right?
  2. It would require doctors performing abortions to have hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles of the facility— which would shut down 37 of the state's 42 abortion clinics.
  3. HB2 would also require doctors to administer the abortion-inducing drug RU-486 in person, rather than allow the woman to take it at home. RU-486 is, you know, designed to be taken at home. So, this is definitely a measure authored out of concern for the health of the woman.
  4. Lastly, the bill would require abortions — including drug-induced ones — to be performed in ambulatory surgical centers.

The House tabled 22 amendments to the bill, including one that would have allowed rape victims and women whose lives are in danger to access safe and legal abortion. Another tabled amendment would have required evidence-based sexual education in public schools and exempted minors who did not receive proper sexual education from the 20-week abortion ban. Because abstinence-only sex-ed coupled with a lack of access to safe and legal abortions makes total sense.

Another tabled measure that would have made the provisions in HB2 contingent upon a repeal of the death penalty in the state pointed out the extraordinary hypocrisy of the legislation. Last month, the ever pro-life state executed its five-hundredth prisoner since the death penalty was reinstated in 1982.

The bill now heads to the Texas state Senate, where it will likely be passed into law. Stay tuned for more news on that front as early as Thursday.