Texas lawmakers have pushed a series of anti-abortion bills, including one that could ban the procedure within the next four years.
According to the Texas Tribune, the bills passed in the House Committee last Thursday include the Texas Heartbeat Act (HB 1515), which would prohibit abortions at six weeks, without exceptions of rape or incest. The legislation also contends that Texas never rescinded its pre-Roe v. Wade statutes that restricted almost all abortions in the state.
Additionally, doctors could face fines of up to $100,000 for each violation.
Another bill, authored by Representative Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler), would restrict later-term abortions presently permitted after 20 weeks in the case of severe fetal abnormalities. But experts and advocates warn that women would be forced to carry unviable pregnancies to term.
According to a draft of the bill, women would be provided information about perinatal palliative care or support services to reduce the suffering of the woman, "her preborn child, and her family, from diagnosis of [a] preborn child's life-threatening disability through the delivery and possible death of the child."
Schaefer, however, explained that there have been cases of incorrect diagnosis and that medical providers told him that under those circumstances, women would find abortions more traumatic than a natural death.
"If the baby is sick, or there's a diagnosis that they think the baby is sick due to a genetic disorder" or another abnormality, that "doesn't give the doctor the right to kill the baby, just as if the person was alive on the outside of the womb," Schaefer said.
One woman supporting the bill testified that she had an abortion at 14 weeks after learning her baby had a "condition that is not compatible with life," such as organs formed outside her abdomen and her heart only having one ventricle.
"I grieve this diagnosis every day," the woman said. But "this meant that two weeks ago, on what would have been my due date, I did not have to go through the agony of meeting our sweet baby girl and immediately having to say goodbye.
"I cannot imagine why any person would knowingly force the birth of a baby who would only know pain. … As a parent, it is my worst nightmare," she asserted.
Additional legislation passed on Thursday included a bill authored by the committee's chair, state Rep. Stephanie Klick, that would bar pill-induced abortions at seven weeks.
Meanwhile, another bill, an omnibus abortion package, would outlaw nearly all abortions in Texas by 2025, or even sooner. People would also be prevented from getting abortions at around 18 weeks instead of 20 weeks, which could go into effect later this year.
The bills now head to the statehouse for debate, while versions passed by the Senate are currently pending. Both chambers would have to approve the legislation for it to become law.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/September15
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.