warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Texas Abortion Bill Moves To The Senate

Elizabeth Cutbirth |
July 11, 2013 | 7:21 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

Protesters against the abortion bill in Texas (Flickr/ Creative Commons)
Protesters against the abortion bill in Texas (Flickr/ Creative Commons)
On Wednesday, the Texas abortion bill passed in the house and has now moved to the Senate where it will be voted on Friday afternoon in a second attempt to make the legislation a law. 

“Overall this bill is going to make abortions more difficult, more expensive and arguably more dangerous," University of Texas student Porscha Pressler said. "More difficult, of course, because of the additional 'red tape' and more expensive because the bill is going to require women to travel further and to, therefore, spend more time to achieve the same thing.” 

The new legislation has regulations that include banning abortions after 20 weeks, mandating abortion clinics to become ambulatory surgical centers, tightening usage guidelines for the medical abortion pills and enforcing doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic where they provide services.

  SEE ALSO: Protestor Removed From Texas Abortion Bill Hearing

Critics of the measure are saying that it will shut down most abortion clinics in Texas denying access to many in rural communities. If this happens, critics say that this will force women into corners and seek dangerous back-alley abortions as alternatives.

“This bill also creates inequality. Women with resources and relatively more wealth can always afford to travel and to have an abortion. They can get to the few clinics that would remain if this bill were passed" Said Pressler, who was one of the 5,000 people who marched on the Capitol to protest the bill.

Pressler also worked for Sarah Weddington, the Texan lawyer who argued for legalized abortion before the high court in the landmark case, Roe v. Wade.

Supporters of the legislation have said that it will improve the health care women receive because it will place more stringent conditions on abortions.

However, many believe this legislation to be unconstitutional and argue that it conflicts with the 1973 Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade. ThinkProgress reported that 80% of Texans do not want their lawmakers considering this bill in a special session, and 63% of Texans think the state already has enough anti-abortion laws as is.

“I agree with Sarah Weddington when she says that abortions will happen, regardless of whether they are legal or not. They will just be less safe," Pressler said. "I want women to be safe--in Texas or not. I think that this bill, if passed, will put a lot of uninformed, young, less wealthy females in danger because they are going to try to take things into their own hands."

    SEE ALSO: The Abortion Debate: When Does Life Begin?

"While I am not a promoter of getting an abortion if one just doesn't feel like having a child, I do believe that citizens everywhere, not only in Texas, should make that choice," she added.

Lou Diamond Rosenfeld, who works at the Houston Women’s Clinic said, “if legislation becomes a law it will affect poor women and those who lack transportation. The new restrictions for the medical abortion pill RU 436 will require women to physically come to the clinic to take the pill. This will not hurt affluent women, but it will hurt women without access to transportation."

Rosenfeld said she often receives phone calls where women are crying on the phone because they have an appointment at the clinic but they do not have a ride because their relative, or boyfriend cannot drive them.

Although the bill's restriction to ban abortions after 20 weeks has been controversial, Rosenfeld said this part of the legislation is not what will have the greatest repercussions, as omen who seek abortions after 20 weeks are unusual cases.

"It's only about one percent of the population who seek abortions," said Rosenfeld. "These are women who have had prenatal care, they have insurance but the fetus has an abnormality. These are sad cases, and if the bill is enacted, they will have to go out of state to conduct the abortion,”

The most worrisome aspect of the Texas abortion bill is that if passed, only five or six of the 42 existing abortion clinics meet the bill's requirements to perform these surgeries, said NPR News, meaning most of them may be forced to close.

“ It will affect abortion clinics in rural areas. It will make it more difficult for people living in these places to seek care if the clinics are shut down there." said Rosenfeld.

Reach Staff Reporter Elizabeth Cutbirth here.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.