Ever since President Donald Trump's election victory, anti-abortion advocates across the country have felt emboldened to advance legislation that severely limits women's reproductive choices and places restrictions on abortion providers. On March 29, the Texas Senate added to the list of potential harmful legislation when it approved a bill that would require Texas health providers to bury or cremate fetal remains.
Senate Bill 258 would create penalties for health care providers who do not bury or cremate the remains after abortions or miscarriages. A similar bill was supposed to enter into law in December, but in January was blocked by a federal judge for lack of clarity. The bill is being sold by Republican sponsor Sen. Don Huffines of Dallas as a way to provide "dignity to the unborn."
What's pretty unbelievable is that this is not Texas' only bill meant to restrict both women seeking abortions and abortion providers trying to provide a safe experience for their patients.
The Senate also passed Senate Bill 415, which would prohibit "dilation and evacuation" abortions. This is the most common type of second-trimester abortions and involve the abortion provider surgically removing pieces of fetal tissue. The other option for second-trimester abortions involves inducing labor, which many women do not want to do, especially because the alternative does not require hospitalization.
Another bill, Senate Bill 25, would prevent women from suing their doctor if the baby is born with a birth defect. Advocates for the bill argue that it will encourage more doctors to practice medicine in Texas by eliminating the fear of wrongful death lawsuits. However, opponents argue that the bill would allow doctors to withhold certain information that women might consider important in her decision to go through with her pregnancy in the case of serious birth defects.
A fourth bill, Senate Bill 8, would prohibit abortion providers from donating aborted fetal tissue to medical researchers, according to The Texas Tribune.
According to the Houston Chronicle, several Democrats have attempted to combat such legislation by introducing bills in Texas that would eliminate the 24-hour abortion waiting period and provide contraceptive coverage for those under age 18. However, they're not likely to pass.
The fact that there are so many bills making their way through the Texas legislature that either restrict a woman's power when it comes to her reproductive rights or place undue burdens on providers is unacceptable and heartbreaking. It seems like these types of bills are not going away anytime soon, so now is the time to be informed about your local anti-abortion legislation and reach out to your representatives to oppose harmful bills.