The Texas State Senate followed up House passage of a pro-life bill that would ban abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy, and pro-abortion activists have promised a court battle after Gov. Rick Perry's expected signature on the new law early next week. As reported earlier by The New American, the legislature had already passed the law in late June, but Perry was prevented from signing the bill before the end of the legislature's first special session on June 25 because of the actions of a nearly lawless pro-abortion mob at the State Capitol.
A similar mob threatened proceedings on July 12, with Texas State troopers hauling away several unruly pro-abortion screamers who attempted to disrupt the debate. The Senate's Republican majority finally passed the bill just before midnight, with all but one Democrat casting their votes against the commonsense mother-and-child protection measure.
“Today the Texas Legislature took its final step in our historic effort to protect life,” announced Gov. Perry, who vowed to quickly sign the bill into law. “This legislation builds on the strong and unwavering commitment we have made to defend life and protect women's health.”
In addition to banning abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, the new law requires abortion doctors to get admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, and mandates that abortion clinics upgrade their operations to surgical centers — requirements that will likely shut down some abortion facilities in the state.
Pro-abortion legislators and activists promised to do all they can to stop the bill from taking effect, arguing that it conflicts with the the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that effectively legalized abortion. “There will be a lawsuit, I promise you,” declared Democratic State Senator Royce West with hand raised in an oath as he stood on the Senate floor.
Julie Rikelman, litigation director for the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights, optimistically announced that “this law can absolutely be stopped. It is a cocktail of restrictions that have been blocked by other courts around the country. It's clearly unconstitutional and I do believe that courts will find it to be unconstitutional if it's challenged.”
Rikelman pointed to such states as Kansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Wisconsin, Arizona, Idaho, and Georgia, where courts have blocked bills that include one or more of the requirements that appear in the Texas measure.
But Joe Pojman of the Texas Alliance for Life expressed confidence that that the U.S. Court of Appeals in Texas will rule for the new law. “In Texas, we have had a very good track record of our abortion regulations and limits being reviewed and upheld by the 5th Circuit,” Pojman noted. “I point out to you most recently our statute passed two years ago.”
Pojman was referring to a pro-abortion challenge to a Texas law requiring that an abortionist offer to show a pregnant woman an ultrasound and allow her to hear the heartbeat of her pre-born baby before he performs the murderous procedure. A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit upheld that law in 2012.
Democratic State Senator Wendy Davis, whose marathon filibuster of the bill during the first special session energized the pro-abortion mob in its efforts to derail the process, spoke to the thousands of unruly protesters following the bill's passage, encouraging them to continue voicing their anger over the law. “Let's make sure that tonight is not an ending point,” she said. “It's a beginning point for our future, our collective futures, as we work to take this state back.”
Planned Parenthood added its own outrage to the mix, with spokeswoman Dawn Laguens challenging pro-abortion Texans: “If you are angry about what happened in Texas tonight — and what's happening in other states all around the country — there is something you can do about it. Register to vote, and vote for candidates who will protect women's access to health care.”
Meanwhile, Texas Republicans responsible for carrying the bill to passage celebrated their victory, saying in a GOP party statement: “As Democrats continue to talk about their dreams of turning Texas blue, passage of [the bill] is proof that Texans are conservative and organized and we look forward to working with our amazing Republican leadership in the Texas Legislature as they finish the special session strong.”
LifeNews.com reported after the Senate vote that a pro-abortion mob had appeared to threaten peaceful pro-life activists at the State Capitol. “The scene inside the Texas legislature is chaotic for pro-life advocates who have been attempting to stand up for unborn children while members of the legislature debate the late-term abortion ban,” the pro-life website reported in the early morning hours of July 13. “The pro-abortion side has reportedly threatened pro-lifers with guns and chains to the point that state troopers have helped pro-lifers get to undisclosed locations and other places of safety out of the way of what has become an unruly mob.”
On July 12, during the heat of intense debate over the bill in the Senate, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) issued a press release saying that law enforcement officials trying to keep the mob in line had confiscated “one jar suspected to contain urine, 18 jars suspected to contain feces, and three bottles suspected to contain paint” from individuals attempting to enter the Senate gallery. Additionally, the DPS release said, officials had discovered “significant quantities” of tampons and other hygiene products, along with “glitter and confetti” — all assumedly part of the pro-abortion arsenal intended to be unleashed on legislators in retribution for their passage of the pro-life bill.
Photo of Texas state troopers in the state Capitol rotunda: AP Images