Texas Governor Rick Perry signed a pro-life bill into law July 19 banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at hospitals close to their abortuaries. The immediate result was Planned Parenthood's decision to shutter three of its clinics even as pro-abortion activists vowed to work to overturn the law — and as at least one abortionist reportedly indicated he would defy the law.
“Today, we celebrate the further cementing of the foundation upon which the culture of life in Texas is built,” Perry told pro-life state lawmakers and supporters as he signed the bill in Austin. “It is our responsibility and duty to give voice to the unborn individuals.” Perry called the occasion of the bill's implementation, following a weeks-long attempt by a pro-abortion mob to thwart its passage, “an important day for those who support life and for those who support the health of Texas women.”
The Associated Press reported that in addition to the ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, the law “restricts abortions to surgical centers and requires doctors who work at abortion clinics to have hospital admitting privileges. Only five of the 42 abortion clinics in Texas … currently meet those new requirements. Clinics will have a year to either upgrade their facilities or shut down after the law takes effect in October.”
Immediately after Perry signed the bill into law, Planned Parenthood threw in the towel on three of its abortion facilities, closing their doors rather than shelling out money for the requisite upgrades. But the abortion giant's president, Cecile Richards, vowed that her group would use the courts to try to thwart the will of a majority of Texans. “The fight over this law will move to the courts,” said Richards in a statement, “while the bigger fight for women's access to health care in Texas gains steam.”
It took pro-life lawmakers two special sessions to pass the bill, thanks to a concerted effort by pro-abortion activists and lawmakers to block its passage. That effort included a nearly lawless mob that prevented Perry from signing the bill into law after it was passed during the first special legislative session. That, in addition to a 10-hour filibuster by Democratic State Senator Wendy Davis, forced the legislature to convene a second special session in order to get the measure passed and signed into law. “When Governor Perry signed the bill, he signaled a clear break with Texas families,” Davis complained in a statement, insisting that Perry and other pro-life state officials “have now taken sides and chosen narrow partisan special interests over mothers, daughters, sisters, and every Texan who puts the health of their family, the well-being of their neighbors, and the future of Texas ahead of politics and personal ambitions.”
Pro-life leaders from around the nation applauded passage of the law in Texas, which joins several other states in banning abortion at anywhere from six weeks to 20 weeks of pregnancy. “Today we welcome Texas into the proud coalition of states moving to defend defenseless, unborn children,” said Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. “Under Governor Perry's leadership, the state has ensured that scientific advancement and health concerns govern the state, and not the profit margins of abortionists. We applaud the brave state leaders … who refused to back down from defending human dignity, even in the face of intense pressure and harassment,” Perkins continued.
Marjorie Dannenfelser of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List called passage of the measure “a lifesaving victory for Texas women and unborn children.” She said that the new law puts a spotlight on similar federal legislation — now sitting in the U.S. Senate — that would ban late-term abortions. The House has already passed legislation that would ban abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy, and a recent poll shows nearly 60 percent of Americans favor the bill.
“Unborn children and women deserve federal protection from horrific late-term abortions,” said Dannenfelser. “Polls consistently show that the majority of Americans support protecting babies and women late in pregnancy, and Senate Majority Leader Reid should bring this to the floor for a vote. If he and his Senate colleagues stand with the American people against the barbarism of late-term abortion, they have nothing to fear from a Senate vote. Conversely, remaining silent … would be both a moral and political mistake.”
Meanwhile, at least one Texas abortionist has reportedly said he will defy the new state law. Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue told OneNewsNow.com that Harlingen, Texas, abortionist Lester Minto insists the law will not stop him. “He will continue to do abortions whether it means under the cover of a mesquite tree, or on a shrimp boat, or by going to Mexico where abortions are also illegal,” said Sullenger.
Sullenger said that Minto, whose clinic is on the Mexican border and is in disrepair, preys on vulnerable women. She said that Minto's clinic should be forcibly closed, adding that “I think the authorities need to monitor him very closely because of his defiant remarks.”