As the 84th Legislative session in Texas ended on Monday, multiple bills that successfully made it out of both House and Senate chambers are on their way to the desk of Governor Abbott. Surprisingly, as the Texas Tribune reported, this session — supposedly marked by a more conservative leadership base — passed fewer abortion bills than the preceding 83rd Legislature in 2013.
To partially make up for the lack of bills protecting life, the state’s budget for the upcoming biennium cut the $1.2 million taxpayer funding that was being channeled to Planned Parenthood through a joint state-federal cancer screening program. The reduction was seen as a significant step in the right direction for pro-lifers.
When Planned Parenthood released its facts and figures for the 2013-2014 year, Breitbart’s Dr. Susan Berry noted that the organization performed 327, 653 abortions in 2013, up from 327,166 performed in 2012.
Over the Memorial Day Weekend, abortion matters were discussed at large, with the conversation largely guided by Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R- Bedford.
Stickland attempted to add an amendment to Senate Bill 200, a bill on the reformation of The Department of State Health Services. The proposed amendment would have prevented abortions from happening once the gestation period passed 20 weeks, regardless of severe fetus abnormalities. Stickland eventually withdrew the amendment after the chair of House State Affairs, Rep. Byron Cook, R- Corsicana, convinced him that SB 575 – a bill that would prohibit insurance providers in Texas from covering abortions – would be voted out of the committee.
SB 575 eventually died in the House after it stalled in the State Affairs committee.
The intent of the bill, in cases involving pregnant minors seeking a judicial bypass, is to protect the minor while also protecting parental rights.
Judicial bypass procedures are the legal process by which pregnant minors can seek court approval for an abortion, in cases where asking their parents for permission could endanger them.
H.B. 3994 tightens the procedures that minors must complete, and is the first major pro-life legislation to pass in this legislative session.