State Rep. Jodie Laubenberg Files Pro-Life Favorite "Pre-Born Pain" Bill

Vagina demagogues.jpg
Back in December, Governor Rick Perry announced with much pomp and circumstance that he would support the passage of a "fetal pain" bill this session in the Legislature. "Fetal pain" is one of the pet legislative projects of pro-life group Texas Right to Life this year; it's a total ban on abortions after 20 weeks, using the argument, as TRL director Elizabeth Graham puts it, that fetuses are capable of feeling "torturous pain at 20 weeks post-fertilization."

In fact, the best science indicates that fetuses don't feel pain before the third trimester at the earliest, according to a 2005 review of the evidence in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Not ones to let piddling things like science get in the way of their politico-religious agenda, the TRL has finally found a legislator to sponsor the bill. This morning, state Representative Jodie Laubenberg of Murphy filed what she's titled the "Preborn Pain Act."

Laubenberg's bill states that "substantial medical evidence recognizes that an unborn child is capable of experiencing pain by not later than 20 weeks after fertilization." Furthermore, it adds, "the state has a compelling state interest in protecting the lives of unborn children from the stage at which substantial medical evidence indicates that these children are capable of feeling pain."

There also appears to be language in her bill that could pave the way for a total abortion ban. The fetal pain provision, the bill states, "is intended to be separate from and independent of the compelling state interest in protecting the lives of unborn children from the stage of viability, and neither state interest is intended to replace the other."

What's more, the bill doesn't require that a woman definitely be 20 weeks pregnant. The procedure could be banned even if "the probable post-fertilization age of the unborn
child has not been determined but could reasonably be 20 or more weeks," the bill states. (The full text is available here. )

The bill very magnanimously adds that a woman who had a now-banned later term abortion wouldn't be prosecuted. It also states that in any potential court cases arising from an illegal procedure, the identity of the woman who's had the abortion "would not be subject to public disclosure." Unless, of course, a court finds that revealing her identity "is essential to the administration of justice and there is no reasonable alternative to disclosure."

There's plenty of tricky language in here, designed to get some parts of the bill passed, even if others are declared unconstitutional or unenforceable in court. The last section of the bill reads, in part:

[I]f any provision, section, subsection, sentence,
clause, phrase, or word of this Act or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is found to be unconstitutional, the provision, section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or word is hereby declared to be severable and the balance of this Act remains effective notwithstanding such unconstitutionality.

It's worth noting that, according to the Guttmacher Insitute, around 88 percent of abortions in the United States happen in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Fifty-eight percent of women who have abortions say they'd like to have had them earlier, and 60 percent say the delay was caused by the time it takes to raise money and or make the arrangements necessary to get the procedure done. Other times, women have later-term abortions after they discover that their fetus has a devastating illness or abnormality. (The Texas Observer ran a heartbreaking piece by Carolyn Jones last year on her own late-term abortion, after she and her husband learned that their baby's brain, spine and legs would never develop normally.)

In other words, as ever, the "Preborn Pain Act" targets poor and rural women, as well as those who discover, too late, that their pregnancies aren't viable, or will lead to a lifetime of suffering for their baby. This is the face of "compassionate" women's healthcare in Texas.

My Voice Nation Help
26 comments
holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Should the wife by law inform the husband before she gets an abortion? 

rbtxcat75
rbtxcat75

So, this law basically arguing off of the “overwhelming evidence” that a fetus cannot feel pain?  Completely ignoring the fact that the fetus is a LIVING PERSON!!  In the “reproductive rights” argument, this is a pretty sad one.  You talk about educating those women that are in need but instead you are just trying to give them poor excuses to get an abortion.  How about fighting for true options and not more excuses?

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

There's nothing "tricky" about the language you cited.  It's a standard severance clause, and it's included in pretty much any competently crafted bill.  When it isn't included (i.e. ACA/Obamacare) it causes real problems when part of the law is struck down.

MaxNoDifference
MaxNoDifference

Is there anybody in the Texas legislature from southern Collin county that isn't a knuckle-dragger when it comes to reproductive rights?

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

@holmantx Okay, I'll bite: no. Of course not. Spousal notification was ruled unconstitutional in 1992 as part of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, with near-unanimous consent from the Supreme Court. "Women do not lose their constitutionally protected liberty when they marry," as Sandra Day O'Connor put it. 

Bremarks
Bremarks

@rbtxcat75 "Completely ignoring the fact that the fetus is a LIVING PERSON!!"  I hate to state the obvious, but you are a living person.  Meaning a living, breathing, talking, walking person.  You could not do that if you were in utero. A fetus cannot feel pain as a LIVING PERSON does.  It's a neurological fact. For a simple explanation, as simplicity seems appropriate for your level of sophistication,   http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/cait48/2012/mar/10/the-myth-of-fetal-pain/

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

@rbtxcat75 A fetus is a fetus. And the Supreme Court says that an abortion is a true option. Deal with it.

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

@everlastingphelps I don't recall seeing it in much of the recent anti-abortion legislation, though. They must be getting smarter. Well, not smarter. More "competent."

observist
observist

@Anna_Merlan@holmantx Near-unanimous consent?  The decision was written by a plurality, not a majority.  You need a venn diagram to figure this out:

O'Connor, Souter, Kennedy - uphold Roe, keep parental consent, waiting period, informed consent, reject spousal consent

Stevens, Blackmun - uphold Roe, reject all other limitations

Scalia, Rhenquist, Thomas, White - overturn Roe, keep all other limitations

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_Parenthood_v._Casey

 If this same came up today, the conservatives would probably overturn Roe v Wade.

rbtxcat75
rbtxcat75

@Bremarks @rbtxcat75The way my “simple” mind comprehends this is that the Fetal Pain piece is simply a distraction from the reality of the situation.  The fetus is a living human being.  I know what a concept.  That a person develops from a fetus.  You and I did!  That’s simple 6th grade science class.  Your argument is that the fetus doesn't feel pain; therefore, it’s ok to kill it.  Apparently that is good enough for you (and the author of this article).  The argument should be ways to protect this fetus and not a justification of eliminating it.  Unfortunately this simple concept might be too big for your complicated brain to handle. 

 

Daniel
Daniel

@Scruffygeist

A fetus is only a fetus, but a good cigar is a smoke.

rbtxcat75
rbtxcat75

@Scruffygeist @rbtxcat75You are right, it’s an “option”.But the problem with the pro-choice movement is that it’s not about giving other options outside of abortion.It’s about justifying the existence of abortion as the only option.So instead of legislating on the basis that we need more support for women in these situations, it’s about justifying a reason to kill a human being

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@observist @holmantxThe new divorce law statute provides an opportunity for men who did not have DNA tests done prior to the entry of child support orders to now request that the testing be performed.  If the tests indicate the man is not the father of the child, the prior child support orders will be set aside and he will be free from any future obligation for payments.


observist
observist

@holmantx @observist The question of genetic paternity is completely different from spousal consent and/or notification for abortions.  

I know there are cases where the spouse is held financially responsible for some other guy's kid, even when the wife and the other guy know the paternity.  Basically, if a guy thinks it's his kid and agrees to pay support for even a short period before he finds out it's not his kid, he's still on the hook for support until the kid is 18.

holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

@observist You had it right the first time.

No doubt you are aware of the surveys that support the notion women are attracted to one type of male for procreation and another for co-habitation and fathering.

Should the alpha male be held financially responsible?

Can the husband sue the father for child support after a DNA test proves it is not his but the stud who is a brutish, domineering boor?

observist
observist

Actually I gave you credit for making sense when none was due.  You're asking "should husbands be legally held responsible as the father if they aren't [informed the wife is getting an abortion]."

observist
observist

@rbtxcat75 @Scruffygeist  You're projecting evil intent onto people who don't share your opinion.  It's no different than a pro-choice person suggesting you want women to be involuntary breeding vessels.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...