Texans are still locking horns over abortion rights this week, as state legislators once again looked at a proposed law that would tighten safety measures related to the medical procedure for women.

On July 3, legislators voted 8-3 in favor of House Bill 2, which would mean significant changes in how women- even those who are victims of rape and incest- go about getting abortions.

“The goal of this bill is to increase protection for women and unborn children at facilities across Texas,” said Joe Pojman, executive director of the Texas Alliance for Life, a pro-life nonprofit organization created to advocate for all human life from the conception until death. “It requires licensed abortion facilities to raise their safety standards to that of an ambulatory surgical center- which is a licensed facility that has a much higher standard.”

“It also requires that physicians have hospital privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the place where the abortion is performed so a doctor can care for the woman in the case of a botched abortion or complications,” Pojman told the AFRO.

The bill will also prevent women from having abortions after 20 weeks, or five months of pregnancy, and place tighter standards on the RU-486 abortion pill to ensure it is being used according to FDA protocol.

Pro-choice proponents worry that the tighter standards could shut down a majority of the state’s abortion clinics.

The last attempt to pass the law was shut down by state Sen. Wendy Davis, a Texas Democrat from Fort Worth, who stood and spoke for 10 hours last week about the issue from her pro-choice stance.

Her move, called a filibuster, intentionally went over the deadline by which a vote was to be taken, and kept the pro-life forces at bay. To counter her action, Republican Gov. Rick Perry called another special session to take up the initiative again this week.

The feisty senator praised the thousands that have descended upon Austin to testify at the hearings in a July 1 speech for the “Stand with Texas Women Rally.”

“For years, too many Texas politicians have tried to boost their careers by bullying women who need help with health care,” Davis said, according to transcripts posted to her official senate website.

“They have messed with the way Texas women can get cancer screenings or birth control – or even prenatal care. Those in power have turned down millions and millions of our federal dollars meant to help women here – simply because they wanted to hurt one organization committed to quality healthcare for women,” she said, referencing the State’s action to de-fund Planned Parenthood.

“We have fought for years to convince these politicians that the best way to prevent unintended pregnancies is to give women real control of their lives — by investing in good family planning services and honest, effective, age appropriate sex education for our kids.”

The Texas Senate will vote on the law next week.


Alexis Taylor

AFRO Staff Writer