While internal politics managed to keep the full House from seeing abortion-related bills during the regular legislative session, the issue is back at high-speed. On Tuesday, Governor Perry added, “Legislation relating to the regulation of abortion procedures, providers, and facilities,” to the Special Session call. Only the Governor can call the Legislature back after they adjourned Memorial Day sine die, and once back, the Legislature is permitted to work only on those tasks assigned by the Governor. Beginning with redistricting, the current special session now involves transportation funding, juvenile justice, and abortion.
The vehicles to watch are Senate Bill 5 authored by Senator Glenn Hegar of Katy, and House Bill 60 authored by Rep. Jodie Laubenberg of Parker. Both bills require abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of where the doctor performs abortions, ensures abortion clinics are up to the standards of other ambulatory surgical centers, guarantees the abortion pill (RU-486) is dispensed according to FDA guidelines, and prohibits abortions at the time when science establishes an unborn child feels pain (at 20 weeks).
During previous committee hearings, medical professionals established that unborn children at 20 weeks, who undergo fetal pain surgery, are routinely anesthetized because of their capacity to feel pain. The recent horrific trial of Kermit Gosnell , a Pennsylvania doctor found guilty of snipping the necks of infants born alive, and the developing story of Houston’s own “Gosnell,” Dr. Karpen, highlights the need for increased regulation and oversight of abortion clinics.
With all the pro-life issues wrapped up in one nice bill (SB 5/HB 60), this process might be much less tenuous than the battle during regular session. Will legislators finally cease allowing abortion procedures to operate under a lesser standard of care than other medical procedures? We shall soon find out.