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Texas' Abortion Overhaul

Robert Franklin

Posted on May 18, 2019 20:26

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With so much emphasis on Ohio, Georgia, and Alabama, it's interesting that there isn't much coverage, by comparison, on Texas' efforts to upend abortion in the state.

A story, in my view, that has been underreported during the last few weeks of excessively strict changes to various states' abortion laws is Texas. While Ohio, Georgia, and, most recently, Alabama have dominated news cycles and social media feeds with their own excessively severe changes to state abortion laws, the biennial Texas legislature is heading toward the end of its session throwing its own 10-gallon hat into the fold. They are joining other states' efforts to pass legislation so vile, it will be sued all the way up to the Supreme Court.

While Ohioan, Georgian, and Alabaman women have spent the last several weeks coming to the realization that white men in their respective state governments have now assumed operational control of their reproductive systems, women in the state of Texas have been unaware, to some degree, of what their state legislature is trying to pull off before the end of the session.

At the beginning of May, the Texas Senate passed Senate Bill 1033, which severely restricts abortions performed in the state. Historically, abortion services in Texas stop at 20 weeks, which is about par for the course until recently, and exemptions are given to women whose fetuses were not viable or had "severe and irreversible" abnormalities. The bill passed by the Texas Senate removed the abnormalities clause and included severe criminal penalties for doctors who performed abortions on women in the state. S.B. 1033 is currently being reviewed in the Texas House, where I am willing to take a bet that it passes.

Another bill proposed more recently in the Texas House would have opened up the possibility of prosecuting women who receive abortion services under state homicide statutes, which opens up the possibility of sending women who received abortions to death row. Thankfully, this legislation died, but it's distressing enough knowing the legislature had to talk about that possibility at all.

Senate Bill 1033 would be Texas' contribution to the growing pile of legislation that will likely see several state governments sued by welfare groups, activists, and whomever else may be compelled. It will likely find itself sitting on the desks of nine federal judges who will be tasked with not only considering the constitutionality of the laws, but also likely deciding the fate of Roe v. Wade.

The optics of these laws are terrible. After all, Ohio's came out alongside a national news story about a preteen Ohioan who was impregnated as a result of rape (she cannot receive an abortion under Ohio's new statues).

Georgia's law includes provisions that allow for the arrest and prosecution of Georgian women who leave the state to receive abortions.

Alabama's law includes severe penalties for doctors who perform them and has been reported alongside the well-known fact that Alabama's quality of life, especially in matters of public health, is abysmal.

Texas considered whether or not women who receive abortions should be subject to the death penalty.

But these optics are the whole point.

Robert Franklin

Posted on May 18, 2019 20:26

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Source: NYT

Views on abortion were different before Roe v. Wade.

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