On Saturday, the Texas House approved in a 93-45 vote to ban the most common procedure used in second-trimester abortions. This comes less than a year after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the state’s most restrictive abortion laws.
Texas conservatives have moved to outlaw dilation and evacuation (D&E) procedures, which they refer to as “dismemberment abortion,” despite it being preferred by most medical professionals because of its low risk of complications. By banning D&Es, “doctors will be forced, by ill-advised, unscientifically motivated policy, to provide lesser care to patients,” according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Doctors who don’t comply with the legislation, if it is passed into law, could face felony charges.
The D&E provisions are part of a larger a bill that also includes forcing women who’ve had abortions to cremate or bury fetal remains—this is despite a federal judge blocking that exact same state rule last year. The bill also prohibits the sale of fetal tissue, which is also already federally illegal but plays into conservatives’ uproar over the “tissue-harvesting” Planned Parenthood videos that were found in court to be heavily edited and filmed without consent; the anti-abortion activists behind the recordings have been charged with 15 felonies.
“Why don’t we just stop passing unconstitutional laws for a change?” Chris Turner (D-Grand Prairie) asked during Friday’s session.
During the debate, Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) broke down in tears. “We can sit here self-righteously and decide that we always know best for every person, but we do not. We do not,” she said. “Because we want women who are in desperate situations to be able to make the choice for their own bodies and their own families, and to do it in a safe way.”
The Texas Senate is expected to pass the proposal.
H/T New York Times