In a new attempt from men trying to tell women what to do with their bodies, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and other Texas conservatives promised they would prioritize anti-abortion laws during this legislature, and they sure are getting to work on it. A panel of state senators recently approved seven new bills regarding abortion, they’re now at the chamber awaiting consideration.
The bills include several restrictions that would prevent women from gaining access to abortion and propose a number of unreasonable measures.
SB 8, called the heartbeat bill, bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. Most women don’t even know they’re pregnant before a heartbeat can be detected. The bill does consider exceptions for medical emergencies, but not when rape or incest has occurred.
“We as a state, as a society, as a government have a duty, the highest duty, to protect an innocent human life,” said State Sen. Bryan Hughes, author of SB 8 and the chair of the State Affairs Committee.
Needless to say, Bill SB 8 is considered controversial and even unconstitutional, according to Elisabeth Smith, chief counsel for state advocacy and policy at the Center for Reproductive Rights, “Regardless of how you try to dress up an unconstitutional bill, it is still unconstitutional.”
The rest of the unreasonable bills propose to bar later-term abortions in case of severe fetal abnormalities and could even force women to carry unviable pregnancies till the end of the term, according to experts on the matter.
The bills were approved by the Senate State Affairs Committee, composed of six Republicans and three democrats. The hearing took place last Tuesday night and lasted well after midnight. A number of attendees were allowed to give their in-person testimony, with a large majority in favor of the extreme measures. Virtual testimony was not allowed, even though several pro-choice groups expressed their concern on social media. By the end, the committee voted 7-2 in favor of all restrictions.
Drucilla Tigner, a policy and advocacy strategist for the ACLU of Texas, criticize the newly approved measures and said they’re aimed towards completely banning abortion in Texas. She described the committee’s reasoning as extreme and “out of touch with what most Texans believe.”