The Texas Abortion Debate: Senate Version | KERA News

The Texas Abortion Debate: Senate Version

Jul 8, 2013

More than 1700 people lined up this morning to speak before the Senate Health and Human Services committee on a bill that would add new abortion restrictions in Texas.

Senator Bob Deuell, Republican from Greenville, began remarks by placing two pairs of baby shoes next to his microphone, saying he intended to speak for those who cannot testify before the committee.

“These are the unborn children who have been aborted, and perhaps the children that were never conceived because of infertility as a direct result of substandard clinics," Deuell told a packed senate hearing room.

One of the new regulations would require abortions to be performed in an ambulatory surgical clinic.

Amy Miller is CEO of Whole Women’s Health. She told the committee that abortion clinics in Texas have a 40-year record of safety.      

“The current regulatory system is more than adequate to ensure women’s health. Abortion facilities in Texas are licensed, inspected and highly regulated.”

The Texas House has scheduled a floor debate on its version of the abortion package tomorrow. The House and Senate bills are virtually identical. The new restrictions would also ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, and require doctors that perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles.

The abortion restrictions are a priority of Governor Rick Perry and part of the legislature's call to special session.  The bill failed in the final moments of the first special session after a filibuster by Senator Wendy  Davis, and a loud 15 minute protest from that prevented senators from taking the vote to approve the bill before the midnight deadline for adjournment.   The Governor quickly called a second special session to take up the issue.