The State Senate Approved a Massive Anti-Abortion Bill

Mad_Men_resized.jpg
Photo courtesy of Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas
Protesters wearing Mad Men garb protest the ass-backwardness of the new restrictions.
And there it is: Late last night, the Senate approved SB 5, a massive set of abortion restrictions that combine all the worst parts of most every anti-abortion bill filed in the regular session of the legislature. Well, all the worst parts, with one notable exception: The bill's author, Republican Senator Glenn Hegar of Katy, agreed to drop a proposed ban on all abortions after 20 weeks.

The measures that the Senate approved include a requirement that all abortion clinics meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers, one that doctors performing abortions have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility; and a requirement that doctors administering RU-486, the "abortion pill," force their patients to have a sonogram beforehand, take both pills in front of a doctor and see their physician for a follow-up within two weeks.

None of this stuff is recommended by the American Medical Association, or any other credible medical body. In one instance, as the Texas Tribune reported, Hegar rejected an amendment by Senator Leticia Van de Putte, a pharmacist in her day job, that would have removed a requirement that doctors follow the FDA guidelines in administering drug-induced abortions. Why would a pharmacist suggest such a thing? Because the FDA guidelines are outdated, and most doctors, backed by medical associations, now administer much lower levels of the drugs.

"Why would we endanger a women with three times the dose of that drug when that's not the way it's currently used?" Van de Putte asked Hegar, according to the Tribune. "It's more toxic. It's got more side effects, and if this is really about women's health, why would you do that?" (Later, Hegar accepted a more vague amendment by another Republican senator, Bob Deuell to allow the use of "evidence-based protocol" when administering the drugs.)

The short answer to Van de Putte's question, though, is that none of this is about women's health, no matter how strenuously Hegar and his cohorts have argued to the contrary. (As Senator Jose Rodriguez of El Paso argued, according to The Dallas Morning News: "The practical effect will be to shut down the clinics. So doesn't it have the practical effect of limiting access to care for women instead of improving it?") Nor is it about the health of children; as RH Reality Check's Andrea Grimes reported in her live-tweets from the hearing, Hegar & Co. rejected a number of proposed amendments that would have given more money to infant health and child development.

No, this is about outlawing abortion by inches, by hook, crook or bullshit technicality. And predictably badass Fort Worth Senator Wendy Davis, for her part, is pissed.

Davis was one of the strongest critics of the bill throughout last night's debate, questioning, for example, why the new surgical standards wouldn't apply to any other medical procedure besides abortion (like, say, ectopic pregnancies, which are potentially fatal). In response, Senator Jane Nelson of Flower Mound told her, according to the Trib, "What makes this procedure special as opposed to a vasectomy or a plastic surgery is that we're ending a human life."

Davis wrote on her Facebook page this morning that Governor Rick Perry and Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst had supported the measures "due to the pursuit of a narrow, partisan political agenda." She added, "[T]he state of women's health in Texas took a giant step backward last night with the passage of Senate Bill 5. The passage of this bill greatly reduces women's access to critical health services and their ability to manage their own health care while further intruding in the relationship between a woman and her doctor. In the end, Senate majority leaders chose to push through their red meat, partisan political agendas, sacrificing women's options and endangering their health in the process."

Meanwhile, Dewhurst, who'd pushed hard for the new abortion regulations to be part of the special session, was, again according to the Tribune, absent for most of the debate. For much of that time, he was apparently at a restaurant with a "consultant." Meanwhile, fellow abortion foe Attorney General Greg Abbott merrily tweeted about basketball.

The bill, which passed 20-10, continues now to the House, where Hegar has said he hopes the 20-week abortion cutoff will be reinstated. There's a better than excellent chance that the whole bundle of horrible regulations will make it to Perry's desk intact.


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131 comments
everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

I'll defend those criminals right after you defend Gosnell the abortionist serial baby murderer.

coop
coop

Guess it's back to back alley abortions for women. Way to go lawmakers, good job!

Americano
Americano

One thing is certain.  Everyone who supports abortion, was not aborted.

if6were9
if6were9

As long as there aren't any actual women allowed to decide what happens to their bodies.....i'm onboard! Let's keep Texas right-wing crazy(i'm making bumper stickers with this on it as I type).

Mary Silla
Mary Silla

@ Timothy, the hypocritical contradictory part has to do with so many people claiming to be pro-life, but also supporting the death penalty. A big part of the anti-choices side is that every life is valuable and precious. granted i think comparing a fetus to a convicted murder is silly but again one can't really claim to be "pro-life" and support the death penalty now can they. pro-lifer also like to argue that abortion is playing god, and who are we to decide who lives and dies...well i am sure you see where I am going with this. Then there is the whole shoot anything that moves, be it man or beast mentality that is so prevalent in Texas. Don't like abortions, then don't have one. It's the hypocrisy of the far right complaining about losing their "rights" while trying to rip the rights away from others. My body is my business and I don't need the state of Texas or Church interfering with that. I don't run into churches during prayer service and tell people not to pray. It's their right I respect that. If someone else is doing something that does not harm you or alter your life what does it matter?

Mary Silla
Mary Silla

Gee and I thought the Northeast was a region, not a state. Well, actually several regions if you really want to be particular. Sorry old timer but us "yankees" are taking over your state. We are opinionated, and not afraid to speak our minds. I'm no demure southern belle content to spend my life barefoot and pregnant.

Matt Kellogg
Matt Kellogg

Susan, Timothy does not care about your daughter's life, which she is free to live. He cares about her potential child's life.

scottie1620
scottie1620

Once again the Fascist GOP proves that its mantra about keeping government small and out of our private lives is just a lie. In fact, the GOP does more to interfere with personal responsibility and personal privacy than any group since Hitler. I don't see why the GOP does not just adopt the Hitler philosophy as the official party philosophy. The swastika should be the emblem of the GOP.

Julie Parker Perigard
Julie Parker Perigard

Susan could you please copy and paste the text from the constitution that specifically (or even loosely for that matter) states that abortion is a protected right. I seem to have missed that part. Or maybe there's some other constitution I don't know about. I certainly wouldn't want to infringe upon the constitutional rights of the well over 90% of women (and their sperm donor) who have abortion due only to being too lazy/irresponsible to use birth control.

Susan Durham
Susan Durham

Timothy, bullshit. You have no right to assert power over my daughter to decide how or whether she gets an abortion or does anything else with her life. Abortion is a constitutionally-protected right. The Supreme Court has spoken, reiterated, told, detailed and railed about it. YOU are the ones who should join the rest of the human race.

Susan Durham
Susan Durham

So, in 2013, our lives, and those of our kids, are still in the hands of fat, old white men.

Masquerading Marauder
Masquerading Marauder

poor women! now they will be forced to abort in back alleys with wire hangers!

Masquerading Marauder
Masquerading Marauder

damn politicians, pandering to their constituents... oh wait, thats their job.

parisrec
parisrec

Most unwanted pregnancies are avoidable. When I was growing up etc. during the 60's, getting a girl pregnant was about the worst thing imaginable. Nowadays, we see massive numbers of single mothers. Our culture has deteriorated beyond anything I could have imagined. We need some kind of pushback--as I think we have a cultural problem here. As for abortion--I was born of a teen mother and a father who went to Korea as a penitence for getting a girl " in trouble." I would not be alive today if abortion was readily available. So I believe that abortion should involve some very serious reflection and should hopefully not become something that one has to repeat. It is killing someone-there's no way around that. But, in view of what happened to my biological dad, the consequences of his actions and his subsequent death in combat, I still believe that abortion should be legal. 

Apocalypse
Apocalypse

So are we going to force every medical procedure to be a certain distance from a hospital. Seems like all the LapBand Surgery centers and Laser Eye centers deserve the same restrictions as they are strip-mall Surgery centers essentially, and share the same risks. And when is someone going to develop a medical procedure to implant a time-release medication in boys from the age of 18 to 30 that prevent them from fathering children. C'mon Science!

animas
animas

As usual the big picture has been missed .  It would be nice to think that the con artists in the Texas  legislature really cared about human life but the number of anual fatalities from natural gas leaks and industrial accidents says otherwise.  This is a sure fire revenue generator for the state.  The probability is that most -est 99% -of abortion providers have adequate to good facilities--otherwise the malpractice statistics would be elevated, but now abortion providers  are subject to more comprehensive  state mandated fees, regulatory costs and revenue generating inspections.  Also the pesky folks at Planned Parenthood will be excluded from Medicaid funding which also, cynically, saves the state some bucks--in the short run.  I hate to see you folks get all emotional about this, when it really is, basically, all about the money.

JustSaying
JustSaying

I think the backwards ass way that our state is governed has finally pushed our dear Anna over the edge. I picture her leaving Texas for New York much like the Freelings left their house at the end of Poltergiest.

Julie Parker Perigard
Julie Parker Perigard

So the three things that passed: 1) make abortion facilities safer. 2) make hospital admissions faster and easier in case something goes wrong, which it sometimes does. 3) ru486 taken in doctors presence (again a safety thing) and follow up appointment and sonogram which I would naturally assume is to accurately pinpoint the baby's gestational age since ru486 is only considered "safe" during first 9 weeks. Even planned p'hood follows #3. I looked at their website. So regardless of whether you are pro-life or anti-life, all these things have everything to do with mama's safety. Isn't that what you all want? For this form of birth control to be legal and SAFE. Or do you prefer the Kermit method?

Ken Williams
Ken Williams

Sorry, Mary, the Northeast has that distinction.

Timothy Hankins
Timothy Hankins

You do realize that being against abortion doesn't always have anything to do with religion, right? That some of us think that it is wrong for reasons that have nothing to do with any religious ideology? Also, if you look at the way most Texans vote it shows that the majority are against abortion. Right now more people in Texas vote for those who openly say they are against abortion. There for the separation of church and state is not an issue in this situation. Texas isn't just Austin and DFW. It's not all Right vs Left, Christian vs Atheist. Most of Texas is somewhere in between and right now most of the state is against abortion. It's not hypocritical, contradictory, or having a double standard just because people disagree with you.

MisterMean
MisterMean

@Julie Parker Perigard Perhaps you could cut and paste that part of the Bible that outlaws abortion?   While you are at it how about those parts that condone infanticide?   The more I read about this the more I feel that it is time to tax religious institutions.   I will be checking back Julie for your references from the Bible-bet I will have to wait a long time.

MisterMean
MisterMean

@Masquerading Marauder Yep that is what will happen.   Not surprising that the GOP the rape party and party of death has a hard on about this.  Bet that will make those anti choice zealots feel that they are going to heaven (on the misfortunes of others).

StupidHippies
StupidHippies

@Apocalypse Boys 18-30?

I think that time release device is called prison.

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

@JustSaying More like crying as hysterically as a Miss America contestant and stockpiling pints of Blue Bell in the back of the car. Goddamn that stuff is fucking delicious. Seriously considered staying just for that.  

MisterMean
MisterMean

@Julie Parker Perigard  I guess you have not heard about Dewhurst's tweeter remark that this has nothing to do with making abortions safer.  Not surprised any one who thought that he was concerned with women' health is either blind, a fool or a religious zealot.   The whole thing is to restrict a woman's right to choose to control her own reproductive health.

MisterMean
MisterMean

@Timothy Hankins Most polls I have seen indicate that voters feel that woman (not white old farts) should be allowed to make their own reproductive decisions.   Is it not odd that a the party (filled with highly vocal minority) that is CONSTANTLY moaning about individual rights to kill anything they see with their AR-15s and that pesky "Guberment" are so on board to sticking their noses where it does not belong in a woman's private decisions.  

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@Anna_Merlan @JustSaying Will definitely miss you Anna.  Hope you meet with success and fortune on your next endeavor (or at least someplace that will treat happy hour like lunch and comp it on an expense report).  I've enjoyed your articles, your particular take on things, and even our disagreements were pleasant.  Good luck and all that shit.

JackJett
JackJett

@Anna_Merlan @JustSaying Wait  ...wait...wait..I am missing part of a story and am in a bit of a panic......My fingers are typing as fast as they can..

ANNA......are you leaving?  Or think you are....Because the answer is NO...NO and NO freaking way.  I have been at this blog since the days of Bible Girl and you have been everything this blog has needed to keep alternative media alive and kicking in Dallas. ....Please tell me I am misreading something and ......it is because I haven't had my coffee.

While Eric is a great Libtard.....YOU, my gal and the only Libtardette in Dallas.  Who will take the crown?


MushMouth1
MushMouth1

@Anna_Merlan @JustSaying Try that Blackberry Cobbler ice cream. Good stuff. Safe travels Anna, you will be missed here. Keep us updated on Twitter.

JustSaying
JustSaying

@Anna_Merlan  The beauty of Blue Bell is that they constantly add new flavors. Last time I was in the mood for ice cream those mad bastards had started selling a red velvet cake ice cream. For a moment, I knew what it was like to be the fat kid.

MisterMean
MisterMean

A further poll indicates that 70 percent of Americans favor the right of a woman to control her reproductive health. 

MisterMean
MisterMean

@everlastingphelps I appreciate  your assistance in helping your cousin.   And also admire your intent on continuing that helping toward others.   I agree that some use abortion as a matter of convenience or if they do not like the sex of a child or some other such nonsense; but, in the final analysis a woman must be given that choice-not you or me.   We read of many who have children who are not fit parents.  Every week I hear of some atrocity that is committed to a toddler.

 As far as chattel property that concept is found in the Bible's old testament.too.  So is infanticide.

Regards and good luck in your support of your family

MM

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@MisterMean @everlastingphelps No, my root post was about how people who express that we can have NO sensible limitations on abortion (a right invented by judicial fiat in the 1970s) want to effectively BAN a right guaranteed in the BILL OF RIGHTS.  You have completely missed my point.

Personally, I've helped raise a cousin of mine born to a teenage mother, and I married into a family with an extensive history of adopting south American children, with the full expectation that I will be joining that tradition shortly.  

But, I suppose you would rather those children (my nieces and nephews) had been aborted, instead.  As long as it was the "choice" of someone who already showed that they have a horrible decision making process (by getting pregnant unintentionally), of course.  Not the fetus' choice.  They are chattel property to be destroyed at will.

MisterMean
MisterMean

@everlastingphelps your root post is about Gosnell-how did you link him to fire arms?   Then you go on to rightly express concern regarding what appears to be a daily occurrence in the news of children shooting each other (one was in the news today) then you go on to blame swimming pools for more deaths.   On the latter point of guns and children -when parents love their children more than their guns then we will get a handle on THAT problem.   

 I find it odd that those who express that we can have NO sensible limitations on the 2nd amendment (reasonable back ground checks and limits on ammo clips above 30 rounds) decry intrusive government then out of the other corner of their mouths spout about how we need "guberment" to stick it's noise in a woman's private reproductive health.

So in closing I recall in the past posts I have asked YOU how have you made a difference in the life of a child (that is not your own) after they have been born to a family that you would have Rick Perry, Greg Abbott and David Dewhurst have stuck their nose in about their private reproductive choice?

RTGolden1
RTGolden1 topcommenter

@Anna_Merlan @RTGolden1 I'd get all teary-eyed, but they'd revoke my GREENTEETH (c) Card and I'd miss out on all the splendid benefits.

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

@JackJett Jack, you're going to have be enough of a libtard for both of us now. Keep the libtard alive. 

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@Anna_Merlan @MushMouth1 @JustSaying 

Leaving? WTF?

Truly disappointed to see you go, Anna, for all of the reasons everyone else pointed out, here.

Good luck, and don't be a stranger around here. The virtual world is pretty small, after all.

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

 @observist I'm not big on restraining orders. It'd be more like a baseball bat to the boombox. But thank you. I've loved being here and I've loved hanging out with you guys. 

observist
observist topcommenter

@Anna_Merlan @MushMouth1 @JustSaying  Sorry you're leaving.  You've done a great job of covering women's issues (and others' issues) without being a shrieking man-hater like your predecessor, and a superlative job of participating in the comments without getting drawn into the mud all while maintaining a sense of humor.  If I were young and single, I would play Peter Gabriel on a boombox outside your window and, chagrined, obey the subsequent restraining order.

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

@animas Thanks, man. I would have jumped right in to argue with you, but shit is a little hectic over here. You know how I love arguing. Pains me not to have the time. 

animas
animas

I am truly sorry  to see you go. You actually have talent and  a well developed  sense of humor. I know that you will do fine.  BTW I am sorry about being so hard on you earlier but  I thought that you would be around to hold your ground (again).

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