Austin, Texas—July 26, 2017: The Texas Senate continued to move quickly in the special session. In the last three days, the Senate passed all five Pro-Life bills on the special session call.
The Senate first passed Senate Bill 10. The legislation, authored by Senator Donna Campbell (R- New Braunfels), strengthens reporting requirements for abortion complications. The bill passed with a vote of 22-11.
Senate Bill 73 would also reform abortion reporting requirements, specifically those involving minors. SB 73 would require statistical reporting on how a minor received authorization to procure an abortion, since Texas law requires parental involvement in most cases, as well as reporting on the certification of when a third-trimester abortion is performed because of the disability of the child. The bill, authored by Senator Bryan Hughes (R- Mineola), passed with a vote of 22-9.
The Senate also passed the DNR Consent bill, authored by Senator Charles Perry (R- Lubbock). Current Texas law does not specifically mandate that a physician receive consent from a patient or the patient’s legal surrogate prior to placing a Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) order on the patient. Senate Bill 11 would bring much-needed reform to this unethical loophole. The bill passed with a vote of 21-10.
In the early morning hours following a long night of floor debate, the Senate passed Senate Bill 4, authored by Senator Charles Schwertner (R- Georgetown). Although the most recently passed Texas budget includes an amendment to bar abortion providers or affiliates from receiving state funding, Senator Schwertner’s bill would codify the exclusion of the abortion industry and prevent local governments from funneling money to the profit-driven business. SB 4 passed with a vote of 21-10.
Finally, on Thursday, the Senate passed Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform. Senate Bill 8, authored by Senator Brandon Creighton (R- Conroe), would remove coverage of elective abortion from private insurance, state employee health insurance, as well as from plans subsidized by the Affordable Care Act. The measure passed by vote of 20-10.
While the Senate has passed all five Pro-Life measures for the special session, the House continues to lag. The House has finally scheduled hearings for the Pro-Life bills but has yet to move any of the issues to the floor.
Since the political games of the regular session of the 85th Legislature killed several important Pro-Life reforms, Pro-Life advocates are watching House leadership even more closely. Having squandered the opportunity of the regular session, Texas legislators have no excuse for failing to pass Pro-Life bills in the special session. Texas Right to Life applauds the Texas Senate for the leadership shown on prioritizing Pro-Life measures.
We hope to see the House follow in the footsteps of the Senate and quickly pass the strongest version of the Pro-Life bills on the call for this Special Session of the 85th Texas Legislature.