What’s Next In Texas?

Did you think Gov. Rick Perry’s signing of the draconian H.B. 2, which makes abortions all but inaccessible in Texas, was the end of all the anti-choice craziness in the Lone Star state? Sadly, think again.

It’s been just two weeks since the Republican governor signed H.B. 2, banning abortions after 20 weeks (which should be found unconstitutional, thanks to Roe v. Wade) and making it almost impossible for low-income women to access abortion services. Because the Texas legislature had to spend the majority of two special sessions trying to pass anti-choice legislation (which was blocked during the regular session), they weren’t able to get to truly important bills, such as one that would fund highways. So Perry has been forced to call a third special session,  and while he has said that he wants it to focus only on transportation bills, there are already a number of anti-choice bills on the docket that could potentially come to a vote.

House Bill 59 (which hasn’t reached committee yet) would ban all abortions after six weeks. It may have captured the most attention (it led to the creation of the hashtag #ThingsThatTakeLongerThanSixWeeks), but even if it passed it would only be enforced if Roe v. Wade were overturned. While the bills will have to be re-introduced in the third session, several lawmakers have pledged to do so. They would include:

  • S.B. 42, filed on Monday, would force women to prove they had completed a class on adoption if they want to get an abortion. There is an exemption for the health of the mother and for minors who can prove they got pregnant as a result of rape. The sponsor, Sen. Eddie Lucio, has pledged to refile it in the third session.
  • H.B. 26, which would force women to prove that they are not being coerced into having an abortion. Due to the bill’s wording, medical providers can still decide for themselves whether a woman is being coerced. The bill did not pass the second special section and would have to be reintroduced in the third session.
  • H.B. 18 and H.B. 27 would make it more difficult for minors to get an abortion without parental consent. The bills would give judges up to five days to decide if the minor should be allowed to have an abortion and force the minor to give her reasons for wanting the abortion and give examples of her maturity. Neither bill has made it past committee and will have to be reintroduced into the third session.
  • H.B. 22 would make it illegal for any organization that provides abortions, such as Planned Parenthood, from giving information on sexuality and family planning to schools’ sexual education classes. The bill has not passed committee yet and would have to be reintroduced in the third session.

On top of all that, Texas Republicans, such as Rep. Giovanni Capriglione, are saying that Sen. Wendy Davis should have to pay the $2.4 million that those special sessions cost the state of Texas because of her filibuster. Davis’s response? It was Rick Perry, not her, who kept calling the legislators to Austin.

Picture of the Texas State House from Flickr user Jason Rosenberg under license from Creative Commons 2.0