New Texas abortion bills left pending in committee

A truck challenging abortion sits outside the Waco Planned Parenthood. Three new bills on abortion in Texas were left pending and have not been rescheduled. Photo credit: Jessica Hubble

By Rylee Seavers | Staff Writer

The Texas Legislature heard testimony on three new bills regarding abortion on Feb. 15. The bills were left pending in committee – a form of delayed action, according to the House Research Organization – and have not yet been rescheduled for public hearing, according the the Texas Legislature website.

If passed, the new bills would provide regulations on the disposal of any fetal tissue resulting from an abortion, prohibit dismemberment and partial-birth abortions and only allow authorized facilities to donate fetal tissue to accredited universities for research purposes.

One of the bills, SB 8, would prohibit partial-birth abortion and would result in a state felony for anyone who violates this section, unless the mother’s life is in danger, but would not allow a woman on whom a partial-birth abortion was performed to be prosecuted.

Under federal law, partial-birth abortion is already prohibited, except in a case where the life of the mother is in danger. The supremacy clause of the Constitution says the laws of the United States will be the “supreme law of the land,” taking precedence over state laws, which brings into question why state legislative action is being considered in relation to partial-birth abortion.

“We see a lot of abuse, in that regard, on [a] number of laws. Immigration, for one, folks have opted not to enforce the law. It’s just another step forward in trying to clarify the law and make sure to protect unborn children and mothers,” said Texas Representative Charles Anderson.

SB 8 would allow the donation of fetal tissue to accredited universities with the consent of the woman. It would also criminalize soliciting monetary compensation in exchange for having an abortion with the intention of donating the tissue or giving consent to the donation of fetal tissue.

“When it’s an intended killing of a pre-born baby, I personally [do not] think that for any reason that baby should be further desecrated,” said John Pisciotta, director of Pro-Life Waco.

Another pending bill, SB 415 would prohibit the practice of dismemberment abortion but would not allow a woman on whom a dismemberment abortion was performed to be prosecuted.

“It is clear that efforts to further restrict access to abortion are politically motivated and have nothing to do with the health and safety of Texas women,” Kelly Hart, senior director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, wrote in an email to the Lariat.

Hart also wrote that thousands of women are already going without care due to policies aimed at blocking access to preventative care at Planned Parenthood.