Texas conservatives have big plans to pass new anti-abortion laws in 2013, thanks to a large Republican majority in the state legislature.
According to the Austin American-Statesman
, lawmakers expect to pass bills to declare that a fetus can feel pain in the 20th week, make further cuts of about $2 million in funding for Planned Parenthood, regulate the use of abortion-inducing drugs, and to impose stricter state inspections of abortion clinics.
“We’re looking at a big pro-life majority in the House and in the Senate, so we ought to expect some big pro-life accomplishments,” Republican Rep. Bryan Hughes, a leading abortion opponent in the legislature, told the American-Statesman.
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He added, “I think the people back home are sending a message by continuing to send strong pro-life majorities to the legislature, and that’s what emboldens us.”
In addition, Gov. Rick Perry supports the efforts and is working “diligently to protect unborn life in Texas,” according to a spokesman.
One of the most controversial proposals, aimed at outlawing abortions at 20 weeks when supporters of the measure say the fetus feels pain, is drawing opposition from abortion rights activists, who contend that long-established studies indicate the fetus cannot feel pain until the 24th to 30th week of pregnancy, if not later.
Sarah Wheat with Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas declined to comment on any of the specific GOP proposals. But she told the newspaper she wasn't surprised that Republicans are still trying to dismantle abortion rights and go after her organization.
“We’ve seen politicians more intimately involved in women’s medical decisions, and how health care is provided, than ever,” Wheat said. “The legislature basically shredded the safety net for women last session. Every community in Texas has been touched, and we’ve seen heartbreaking results, including women having fewer options for cancer screening and birth control.”
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