This is breaking news. Testimony was taken well into the evening Tuesday, so the vote came fairly late. The unofficial total is 94 yeas, 51 nays, 1 present not voting. Good for Texas!
This is the bill that got Wendy Davis and her pink tennis shoes notoriety at the close of the first special session, when she filibustered to prevent the vote. (Bill text here.)
The bill will still face a Senate vote before becoming law; the Senate has a companion bill, SB1, with hearings scheduled for July 11. I think it is very likely to pass. This bill is the main reason for holding this second special session.
The bill’s main purpose is to ban late-term abortions beyond 20 weeks gestation—the point at which evidence shows the fetus feels pain. Exceptions are made in critical health situations. The 20-month point is already well beyond limitations for abortions in most European countries. It is difficult to envision a situation in which a woman, knowing she is pregnant and not wanting to be, cannot act before five months gestation. So the bill is seen as not causing an undue burden.
Another purpose of the bill is an effort to avoid the lack of regulation that allowed for the filth and horror seen in the Gosnell case. Pro-abortionists claimed that case should not represent their purposes, because lack of regulation was the problem. So this bill requires that abortion clinics abide by the same standards as other ambulatory surgery centers, such as those that do Lasik eye surgery or colonoscopies. Opponents of the bill claimed this was an unfair burden, because it would require 37 of 42 abortion clinics in Texas to upgrade or close. Let me repeat that another way: currently 88% of Texas abortion clinics cannot meet the minimum standards of safety and health required of all other types of clinics—yet the opposition wants to keep the standard lower “for the sake of women’s health.” Right.
People who clamor for the “right” to behave in uncivilized ways will show their savagery in the process.
That was true at the end of the first legislative session, when their “free speech” was actually a raucous mob preventing civil society from functioning. Rallies have shown them hollering “hail Satan,” and hurling profanities at churches in particular and anyone who disagrees with them. They offer up death threats to the Lieutenant Governor and threats against family members of pro-life legislators.
Their visual aid during Tuesday hearings was to carry coat hangers and claim the law would force women into using such devices on themselves—but of course without any logical connection between the actual law and the “need” to use a coat hanger on oneself. Choosing to stab an unborn infant with a coat hanger isn’t what horrifies them; it is that infanticide isn’t made more convenient for the woman choosing to kill the infant. That is savagery.
Their best argument about the “unborn pain” part of the law is, “not all science agrees.” They are not concerned with the infant’s pain. Nor can they give a decent reason for a woman—without medical need but only personal life choice of whether to be pregnant after engaging in behavior that led to pregnancy—to require the option of offing the child at will a full five months into the child's growth. She suddenly gets concerned about stretch marks? I’m not sure.
For reasons they don’t comprehend, uncivilized demands don’t persuade well in Texas.