Texas House Eliminates Abortion Ban Exceptions for Fetal Abnormalities
The Texas House of Representatives voted Thursday to remove exceptions to the abortion ban that would allow abortions after 20 weeks in cases of severe fetal abnormalities.
When the abortion ban was passed in 2013, exceptions were included that would allow a pregnant woman to have an abortion past the 20-week mark if fetal abnormalities were detected, if the abortion would save her life, or prevent serious impairment to her physical or mental health. An new amendment to the ban presented by Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler, would require women to carry the fetus to term, even if the fetus was sure to die shortly after birth.
Opposition came from both sides of the political spectrum, with fellow Republican Rep. J.D. Sheffield, a family physician, calling the measure unethical,
Why should the heavy hand of government come into that most heart-rending decision?
Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, was not only critical of the amendment, but the overall process after Schaefer refused to discuss the matter with her, saying it was a new level of misogyny in the House this year. Rep. Stuart Spitzer, R-Kaufman, gave his support to Schaefer's measure, recounting the story of a woman who chose to deliver her baby after being told it wouldn't survive,
She was able to hold her child. I want parents to be able to have that child and have that experience, not destroy it and chop it up.
After the amendment passed by a majority vote, House Democrats raised procedural objections that could have eliminated the entire bill, forcing the bill sponsor, Rep. Four Price, R-Amarillo, to request the bill be sent back to a committee.
Only 0.5% of abortions in the state of Texas are past the 20-week point.