AUSTIN, Texas — Six pieces of anti-abortion legislation in Texas has officially crossed a major hurdle in the path to becoming law.
“I think a compassionate society, really wants to protect both the mother and the unborn child, and I think the Texas Senate has done that today,” said Joe Pojman.
Pojman is the Executive Director of the Texas Alliance for Life, a statewide pro-life non-profit organization advocating for anti-abortion measures like the ones passed by senate leaders on Tuesday.
“Our society is better than abortion,” said Pojman.
While Texas House leaders must still vote on these bills before reaching Governor Greg Abbott’s desk, a number of pro-choice organizations are already sounding off. Concerns particularly center around SB-8, the bill that would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which could mean as early as six weeks following conception.
In a press release, Avow Texas, a pro-choice advocacy non-profit said in part:
Let’s be clear, SB 8 is the most dangerous six-week abortion ban this country has seen. Not only is this bill a complete ban on abortion, but it also is a backdoor attempt to intimidate and harass doctors and patients by creating a way for frivolous and harassing civil lawsuits to be filed. That means any person or any organization with an anti-abortion agenda could sue a patient, doctor, or advocacy organization under this bill.
The legislation does not have exceptions for victims of rape or incest. Only women with life threatening medical conditions could get an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
Pojman says supports the legislation as it is written.
“Rape is an absolutely terrible thing, but the unborn child is an innocent victim and that child should not have to pay the price for the father,” said Pojman.
Dr. Carla Brailey, Vice Chair of the Texas Democratic Party says the senate's vote may not only impact the timeline in which a woman has the right to choose but could directly impact low income women of color who are already at an economic and sometimes geographical disadvantage to access healthcare.
“My concern is that women are going to be taking unnecessary risk,” she said. “We put women in a very bad predicament. We put doctors in a very bad predicament, and we put our credibility around medicine at stake.”
Texas Democrats say there is also concerned with the future of even further restrictions to abortions with the passage of SB-9. This bill, if signed into law, could eventually eliminate nearly all abortions in the state and impose a hefty fine on doctors who perform abortions, if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
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“For me as a woman, it’s really not about democrat or republican, it’s about having women be able to make the decisions that best for their lives,” said Brailey. “It’s just very unfortunate that in the 21st century, we’re still having this dialogue, because it should not be a debate.”