January 13, 2012
March 27, 2017
Hadleigh Tweedall and her husband had long been hoping for a second child to join their son, born in January 2014. Tweedall got pregnant just a few months after her son turned 1, but she experienced a miscarriage at the 11-week mark. “After that, it took us a while to start trying again,” Tweedall tells SELF. “It was obviously very devastating.” So when Tweedall found out she was pregnant again at the end of summer 2015, she was ecstatic. She and her husband were hopeful this pregnancy would be a successful one.
“Baby Grace,” she says. “That was the baby we ended up terminating.”
When Thanksgiving came around, Tweedall was 12 weeks pregnant. She’d just had a checkup and an ultrasound, and had been told everything looked normal with her pregnancy. She went in for some noninvasive prenatal testing, per a suggestion from her doctor. These tests could tell her the sex of the fetus, and they could alert her doctor to the presence of trisomies—chromosomal abnormalities that could lead to fetal anomalies or miscarriage. Tweedall and her husband were excited to find out the sex, so they went in and completed the tests right before Thanksgiving. The doctors said they would hear back about their results just 10 days later.
“We did Thanksgiving with our families,” she says. “We announced our pregnancy to our extended families, and it was a really exciting time.” But when they got back from Thanksgiving, Tweedall and her husband still hadn’t gotten their results. The couple called the office repeatedly over the next three weeks, until a doctor finally told them they needed to come in. “I was hysterical, because I knew something was wrong,” she says. “She would have just told us everything was fine over the phone, but she wanted to see us.” At that point, Tweedall knew her fetus likely had a trisomy—though she had no idea which one.
Tweedall and her husband soon learned their fetus was female, but the tests also found trisomy 21—more commonly known as Down syndrome. “It was a lot of information coming at us all at once,” Tweedall says. She learned there was a small chance that there was a false positive—meaning her fetus wouldn’t actually have a trisomy. Tweedall was only 30 years old, so her risk of conceiving a child with Down syndrome was 1 in 940. Her doctor recommended more tests to confirm the results, and the couple agreed.
“It was Christmas,” Tweedall says. “Everything was booked, and every sonogram place was closed for the holidays.” The couple got the earliest appointment available to them on December 28. In the meantime, Tweedall did some research. She reached out to the director of the Down Syndrome Association of Middle Tennessee, and connected with a family who had children with Down syndrome. “I wanted to get a better idea about the condition,” she says. “It could lead to multiple surgeries and a very short suffering life for the child. Or the child could be very high-functioning and prosper. You just don’t know.”
For Tweedall and her husband, the next two weeks dragged on. “I don’t think I got out of bed very much,” she says. “You just feel really lost with a diagnosis like that.” When the couple finally went in for tests on December 28, they learned the fetus had both Down syndrome and hydrops fetalis—a condition in which the body fills with fluid. “It was a terrible day,” Tweedall says. “Her legs had stopped growing due to fluid. Our doctor told us there was no way this baby would survive more than a month or two of pregnancy.” Tweedall explains that if the pregnancy had been farther along, the doctor could have induced labor and tried to save the fetus. But Tweedall was only 17 weeks in. “At that point, there’s not much you can do when there’s that much fluid in the baby’s body,” she says.
The doctor told Tweedall that the pregnancy would become increasingly high-risk if she decided to carry it to term. “‘If she passes away, your body might take a while to realize she’s no longer living,'” Tweedall was warned. This increased Tweedall’s risk of hemorrhaging or contracting an infection.
“So my doctor recommended that I terminate the pregnancy—from a safety standpoint for me,” she says. Tweedall notes that many laws restricting abortion access are written to include exceptions for cases that endanger the life of the mother. “But it’s a hard thing, because that’s based on opinion,” she says. “Nobody told me I was going to die. My risk of death and hemorrhaging and infection increased if I continued—but it’s such a fine line. I’m a wife and a mother to a little boy—I want to be around for that.”
Tweedall’s doctor said the closest place that would perform a late-term abortion was a clinic in Atlanta. “It wasn’t even a conversation to see if anyone would do it here,” she says. “But I didn’t want to be away from everyone, sleeping in a hotel, and not even knowing or trusting the medical staff.” So Tweedall didn’t really look into going to Atlanta. Instead, she decided to take a trip to her hometown—Chicago—because she felt more comfortable being in a place where her parents still lived. “It’s scary enough that you’re going through all this,” she says. “To think you’re going to be in a clinic somewhere you aren’t familiar with is a lot to take in.” And Tweedall felt disappointed by the lack of support she was receiving from her medical staff in Tennessee. “Everyone just sorted of washed their hands of it and walked away,” she says.
So Tweedall planned to travel to Chicago to receive the medically necessary procedure. Beforehand, she had to fax over her medical records and send ultrasounds showing that the fetus had severe hydrops fetalis. “But I had to follow up with my doctor three or four times just to get her to send over the paperwork,” she says. “I called her office numerous times—and never got a call back.” Tweedall grew concerned. The Chicago hospital would only perform abortions on pregnancies under 20 weeks, and Tweedall was already at 17.5. “We were leading up to the new year,” she says. “It was the holidays—everyone was out of office. No one was responding, and the longer you wait, the more your risks increase and the more difficult the procedure becomes.”
Tweedall ended up terminating her pregnancy five days into the new year—on January 5, 2016. “It was the hardest thing of my entire life,” she says.
Tweedall says that after she came home to Tennessee, people kept trying to reassure her by saying that what she did “wasn’t an abortion.” “But I kept saying, ‘No—it is,” she says. “I wanted to reclaim the word abortion, because the stigmatized image people have of abortion isn’t always what it is.”
Tweedall later learned that she could have had her abortion at a Tennessee hospital, after all. The state’s laws permit women to have abortions at clinics until they’re 15 weeks pregnant. Then, between 15 weeks and fetal viability (20 to 22 weeks), a woman can have an abortion at a hospital. These medical facilities have the right to deny patients, meaning they’re not required to perform the procedure—they’re just permitted to. If Tweedall had been more aware of Tennessee’s laws, she might have avoided traveling 491 miles just to receive a safe, legal medical procedure she needed.
“It was just interesting to find out that technically my doctor should have fought for me,” she says. “But nobody did. Nobody fought for me. And that’s disheartening. You rely on your doctors—especially in a crisis situation—to give you accurate information. On top of it, you’re grieving the loss of your daughter. And it’s just—I don’t know—the regulations and the way I was treated by the medical team here in Tennessee didn’t make the situation any easier. I even had to call and follow up about our paperwork. Thank God for my husband, because he was doing most of it while I was on the floor crying. So to find out later that I technically should have been able to go home to my bed that night is just awful.”
And though reliving these experiences brings back negative feelings, Tweedall says it’s only getting easier to talk about. When I spoke with her in early January, she was about to give birth to another child. After three years, one miscarriage, and one abortion, she and her husband are finally welcoming a second child into their family. “It’s been a long nine months,” she says. “It’s been so long, and we’ve had to go through so much crap to get to this point.”
And whether her tragic experience is effecting change, inspiring open-mindedness, or making someone feel less alone, she’s happy to share it. “At least if my story can help somebody, it’s worth telling,” she says.
March 26, 2017
Here’s a look at 90 of them.
We’re just three months into the new year, and lawmakers—a handful of whom are pictured above—have already proposed 168 anti-abortion bills at the state and federal levels.
Why does this matter? More than four decades ago, Roe v. Wade affirmed a person’s constitutional right to privacy, effectively legalizing abortion nationwide. But lawmakers have continued proposing and passing bills that make abortion—a medical procedure—harder to access.
Yet these anti-abortion legislators persist—in spite of research that shows that countries with the strictest anti-abortion laws actually have some of the highest rates of abortions in the world, and that there’s a correlation between defunding Planned Parenthood and an increase in maternal mortality rate. Overwhelming evidence indicates that smarter, more humane ways to actually lower the abortion rate involve improving healthcare and healthcare access—such as by making contraception and family planning services more available, not less. But in our country, (overwhelmingly male) politicians continue proposing and passing laws that impede access to safe and constitutionally protected medical care.
Here are 90 of the 168 anti-abortion bills that have been proposed so far in 2017.
There’s a bill that says patients have to receive permission to have an abortion from the person who impregnated them.
- Oklahoma House Bill 1441, proposed by Justin Humphrey
Oklahoma Representative Justin Humphrey introduced a bill that would prevent people from having abortions until they’ve received official permission to do so from the people who impregnated them.
“I believe one of the breakdowns in our society is that we have excluded the man out of all of these types of decisions,” Humprey said, explaining his bill. “I understand that [women] feel like that is their body. I feel like it is a separate—what I call them is, is you’re a ‘host.’ And you know when you enter into a relationship you’re going to be that host and so, you know, if you pre-know that, then take all precautions and don’t get pregnant. So that’s where I’m at. I’m like, hey, your body is your body and be responsible with it. But after you’re irresponsible then don’t claim, well, I can just go and do this with another body, when you’re the host and you invited that in.”
There’s a bill that requires medical providers to interfere with an abortion if the fetus shows any signs of life.
- Arizona Senate Bill 1367, proposed by Steve Smith
The Arizona Senate has passed a bill that requires medical professionals to try to resuscitate aborted embryos and fetuses if they show any signs of life—whether the embryo or fetus is viable or not. Right now, doctors only perform these measures on a case-by-case basis when the chance of survival is high. One doctor told CBS that attempting medical interventions at early stages in gestational development is “cruel” to the parents and would inflict unnecessary harm on a fetus or embryo that likely wouldn’t survive anyway.
There are eight bills that force medical providers to bury or cremate fetal remains—or otherwise specify how medical providers should dispose of fetal remains.
- Arkansas House Bill 1566, proposed by Kim Hammer
- Missouri House Bill 147, proposed by Tom Hurst
- Missouri House Bill 194, proposed by Diane Franklin
- Mississippi Senate Bill 2486, proposed by Michael Watson
- Ohio Senate Bill 28, proposed by Tom Patton
- Texas House Bill 2348, proposed by Valoree Swanson
- Texas Senate Bill 406, proposed by Bob Hall
- Washington House Bill 1243, proposed by Brad Klippert
Doctors already have established protocols for how they sanitarily dispose of medical waste. But these eight bills would require them to treat fetal tissue differently. “Many doctors and medical organizations have said that [these laws] do nothing for any public health purpose,” David Brown, senior staff attorney at the Center for Reproductive Rights, previously told SELF. “It’s a way of putting additional pressure on clinics in the hopes that some won’t be able to withstand the pressure and close. It’s one more potential obstacle to them having to keep their doors open.”
There are five bills that allow patients to sue their abortion providers, even decades later.
- Florida House Bill 19, proposed by Larry Ahern
- Florida Senate Bill 1140, proposed by Kelli Stargel
- Iowa Senate File 26, proposed by Mark Chelgren
- Minnesota House File 601, proposed by Kathy Lohmer
- Tennessee House Bill 663, proposed by Matthew Hill
These bills would allow patients to sue their abortion providers for emotional distress—even years after receiving the procedure. And while some, like Iowa Senator Mark Chelgren, see bills like these as a way to protect people seeking abortions, legal experts say the consequences could be severe. “When you look at it more carefully, it’s a threat to the woman because it creates deterrents for doctors to do this,” Mark Kende, J.D., director of the Constitutional Law Center at Drake University, told the Associated Press. In other words, the threat of being sued retroactively could scare doctors out of providing abortions at all—which ultimately hurts people who are seeking them.
There are seven bills that ban abortion entirely.
- Colorado House Bill 1108, proposed by Stephen Humphrey
- Kentucky House Bill 419, proposed by Mary Marzian
- Mississippi House Bill 1197, proposed by Dan Eubanks
- Oklahoma Senate Bill 732, proposed by David Brumbaugh
- Oklahoma Senate Bill 817, proposed by Joseph Silk
- Texas House Bill 948, proposed by Tony Tinderholt
- Texas House Bill 1049, proposed by Valoree Swanson
Some of these bills recognize life as beginning at conception, and view abortions at any state of gestational development as murder. Others seek to criminalize medical providers who perform abortions. All seven view abortion as unlawful in some form or fashion, and all would ban the procedure entirely (with select exceptions, depending on the bill).
There are 10 misleadingly named “Heartbeat Bills” that ban abortions after fetal cardiac activity is detectable—usually around the six-week mark.
- Federal House Resolution 490, proposed by Steve King
- Alabama House Bill 154, proposed by Terri Collins
- Missouri Senate Bill 408, proposed by Andrew Koenig
- Mississippi House Bill 1198, proposed by Chris Brown
- Mississippi Senate Bill 2562, proposed by Angela Burks Hill
- Mississippi Senate Bill 2584, proposed by Michael Watson
- New York Assembly Bill 5384, proposed by Brian Kolb
- Oklahoma Senate Bill 710, proposed by Paul Scott
- Tennessee House Bill 108, proposed by James Van Huss
- Tennessee Senate Bill 244, proposed by Mae Beavers
So-called “Heartbeat Bills” ban abortions from the moment fetal cardiac activity is detectable. This typically happens around the five- or -week mark—before many people even realize they’re pregnant. (Learn more about what it means to be six weeks pregnant here.) Nine of these bills have been introduced at the state level, but Iowa congressman Steve King proposed the first federal six-week abortion ban: the “Heartbeat Protection Act of 2017.”
Other states, like North Dakota and Arkansas, have attempted to pass similar bills in the past—but their efforts were blocked in higher courts for being unconstitutional.
There are 18 bills that ban abortions after 20 weeks, based on the unsubstantiated claim that fetuses can feel pain at this point.
- Florida House Bill 203, proposed by Joe Gruters
- Florida Senate Bill 348, proposed by Greg Steube
- Illinois House Bill 3210, proposed by Jerry Costello
- Iowa House File 298, proposed by Dave Heaton
- Iowa Senate File 53, proposed by Brad Zaun
- Kentucky Senate Bill 5, proposed by Brandon Smith
- Massachusetts House Bill 934, proposed by Elizabeth Poirier
- Maryland House Bill 547, proposed by Barrie Ciliberti
- Missouri House Bill 692, proposed by Tila Hubrecht
- Missouri House Bill 757, proposed by Phil Christofanelli
- Montana Senate Bill 329, proposed by Keith Regier
- New Jersey Assembly Bill 3452, proposed by Ronald Dancer
- New Jersey Senate Bill 2026, proposed by Steven Oroho
- New York Assembly Bill 4777, proposed by David DiPietro
- Oregon House Bill 3017, proposed by Sherrie Sprenger
- Pennsylvania Senate Bill 3, proposed by Mike Folmer
- Virginia House Bill 963, proposed by Dave LaRock
- Virginia House Bill 1473, proposed by Dave LaRock
Twenty-week abortion bans are based on the idea that fetuses can feel pain at this stage in development—despite there being no medical evidence to support that reasoning. These bills are similar to laws already in place in 16 states and to two that were blocked for being unconstitutional.
Worth mentioning: Almost 99 percent of abortions occur before the 20-week mark, according to Planned Parenthood. Often, people who seek late-term abortions do so because they’ve discovered serious fetal anomalies that weren’t apparent earlier. “These are often desperately desired pregnancies that have gone wrong,” Lauren Streicher, M.D., an associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, previously told SELF.
There are 12 bills that ban abortions through dilation and evacuation, the safest and most common way for a woman in her second trimester to have an abortion.
- Arkansas House Bill 1032, proposed by Andy Mayberry
- Illinois House Bill 2891, proposed by Brandon Phelps
- Maryland House Bill 1167, proposed by William Wivell
- Maryland Senate Bill 841, proposed by Justin Ready
- Missouri House Bill 537, proposed by Tila Hubrecht
- New Jersey Assembly Bill 1700, proposed by Ronald Dancer
- Pennsylvania House Bill 77, proposed by Kathy Rapp
- Rhode Island House Bill 5100, proposed by Arthur Corvese
- South Carolina House Bill 3548, proposed by Sean Bennett
- South Dakota House Bill 1189, proposed by Isaac Latterell
- Texas House Bill 844, proposed by Stephanie Klick
- Texas Senate Bill 415, proposed by Charles Perry
Dilation and evacuation abortions—or D&E abortions—involve two steps. First, a woman’s cervix is dilated. Second, a doctor surgically removes the contents of the patient’s uterus. The American Medical Association recognizes this as the safest way a woman can terminate a pregnancy beyond the 14-week gestational mark. It’s also the most common way for people in their second trimesters to end pregnancies, as D&E is used in 95 percent of second-trimester abortions.
There are 12 bills that require patients to be offered ultrasounds, have ultrasounds, or listen to sonograms before they can have the abortions they’re seeking.
- Alabama House Bill 131, proposed by Kerry Rick
- Connecticut Senate Bill 330, proposed by Michael McLachlan
- Illinois House Bill 283, proposed by Barbara Wheeler
- Indiana Senate Bill 118, proposed by Dennis Kruse
- Kentucky House Bill 2, proposed by Jeff Hoover
- Massachusetts House Bill 936, proposed by Elizabeth Poirier
- Missouri House Bill 404, proposed by Tila Hubrecht
- New Jersey Assembly Bill 689, proposed by John DiMaio
- New Jersey Senate Bill 476, proposed by Steven Oroho
- New York Assembly Bill 5374, proposed by David DiPietro
- New York Assembly Bill 5637, proposed by Brian Curran
- Wyoming House Bill 182, proposed by Chuck Gray
Ten different states have introduced bills that would require patients to jump a series of hoops before they can have the abortions they’re seeking. (Both New Jersey and New York have introduced two.) Some of these bills require people to have ultrasounds, and others require them to listen to sonogram results. Some just require medical providers to offer to perform ultrasounds on people seeking abortions. If passed, all of them would force people to take additional steps to have the abortions they want or need.
There are 16 other bills that make patients undergo counseling or wait a certain period of time before they’re allowed to have abortions.
- Colorado House Bill 1086, proposed by Justin Everett
- Georgia Senate Bill 239, proposed by Bruce Thompson
- Indiana House Bill 1128, proposed by Ronald Bacon
- Kansas House Bill 2319, proposed by Tony Arnberger
- Kansas Senate Bill 98, proposed by Molly Baumgardner
- Missouri House Bill 382, proposed by Sonya Anderson
- Missouri Senate Bill 230, proposed by Jeanie Riddle
- North Carolina House Bill 62, proposed by Larry Pittman
- Nebraska Legislative Bill 59, proposed by Bill Kintner
- South Dakota Senate Bill 102, proposed by Thomas Nelson
- Texas House Bill 612, proposed by Jeff Leach
- Texas House Bill 1971, proposed by Matt Schaefer
- Texas Senate Bill 258, proposed by Donald Huffines
- Utah House Bill 107, proposed by Stephen Handy
- Utah House Bill 141, Keven Stratton
- Virginia House Bill 1762, Robert Marshall
State legislators have also introduced bills that would require patients to undergo specific kinds of counseling or wait a certain period of time before they can actually have the abortions they’re seeking. Sometimes, these bills result in people having to make more than one appointment, which can be especially difficult for people who live in rural areas and have to drive long distances to get to a medical provider in the first place.
March 25, 2017
PHOTO VIA OKHOUSE.GOV
Invoking God, the Oklahoma House of Representatives just passed a bill outlawing abortion in cases of fetal abnormality—with no exception for rape or incest.
Republican politicians frequently have to say dumb and vile things to justify abortion bans that don’t allow exceptions under any circumstances—including pregnancies resulting from rape or incest, or if the woman’s life is in danger. The latest example comes from an Oklahoma state representative, George Faught, who introduced a bill that would ban abortions due to fetal genetic abnormalities or Down syndrome. The bill would make it illegal for doctors to perform abortions under that criteria; those who refuse to comply could have their licenses suspended or revoked and face fines of up to $100,000.
Defending the fact that the ban would have no exceptions, Faught suggested that “rape and incest could be part of God’s will,” according to the Huffington Post. And when Democratic members of the state’s House challenged him, asking him directly if rape was the will of God, he seemed to imply that, since rape was in the Bible, it’s just a natural part of life that women have to deal with.
“If you read the Bible, there’s actually a couple circumstances where that happened, and the Lord uses all circumstances,” Faught said. “I mean, you can go down that path, but it’s a reality, unfortunately.” Regarding incest, he said, “Same answer.”
When Faught added that the line of questioning from the Democrats “doesn’t deal with this bill,” they made clear to him that it does. “You won’t make any exceptions for rape, you won’t make any exceptions for incest in this, and you are proffering divine intervention as the reason why you won’t do that,” Rep. Cory Williams said. “I think it is very important. This body wants to know, myself personally, whether you believe rape and incest are actually the will of God.”
Faught responded by doubling down on his claims that rape and incest are part of God’s grand design, and victims of rape and incest can “use” the experience. “It’s a great question to ask, and, obviously if [rape and incest] happens in someone’s life, it may not be the best thing that ever happened,” he said. “But, so you’re saying that God is not sovereign with every activity that happens in someone’s life and can’t use anything and everything in someone’s life, and I disagree with that.”
Even in the worst circumstances, God can bring beauty from ashes
Faught’s statement, and the the bill—which was authored at the request of an anti-abortion group—have been condemned by doctors and healthcare advocates. “This bill is a deeply damaging to reproductive healthcare, as well as the doctor-patient relationship,” the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice said in a statement. “Further, we find it absolutely unacceptable and inappropriate that the bill’s author, George Faught, argued on the House floor that sexual assault is the will of God. Oklahoma women and families deserve better than a politician that uses his personal dogma to explain away violent crimes against women.”
Faught tried to pass a bill like this last year, but it failed after Senate amendments. According to the Guttmacher institute, only one other state—North Dakota—has a law that bans abortion on the basis of fetal abnormalities. Two other states have attempted to institute similar legislation, but federal courts have intervened, temporarily blocking the laws from taking effect; pro-choice advocates say Oklahoma will face similar legal challenges if the bill becomes law.
“It’s interesting that the bill is drawn so that it only impedes access for one group of people, and, frankly, folks who have fetal abnormalities are in desperate situations themselves,” Julie Burkhart, the founder and CEO of one of only three abortion clinics in the state, told a local news outlet. “So it really works to penalize women, their partners, their families for just trying to make good decisions for themselves.”
Indeed, there are many reasons women choose to terminate their pregnancies when they learn the fetus they are carrying has a genetic abnormality. In some instances, the abnormality may be so severe that it will be incompatible with life. It’s also often the case that severe conditions are detected late in pregnancy, so many late-term abortion restrictions already pose hurdles to women in these situations. But no matter the circumstance, bills like the one proposed in Oklahoma tell women that they don’t have the right to decide what’s best for their families and their own bodies—only God and old white men do.
March 24, 2017
The activists were protesting several anti-abortion measures.
On Monday, the Texas Senate considered several abortion-related bills, including Senate Bill 415, a regulation that would effectively ban a safe and common procedure used for second trimester abortions, which anti-choice legislators have taken to calling a “dismemberment abortion ban.” It passed and will now head to the House.
The Senate also inched forward with SB 25 ― a bill that would effectively allow doctors to lie to pregnant women if they detect a fetal anomaly and are concerned their patients might opt for abortion. It will likely head for a final vote on the floor this week.
But in the Senate chambers on Monday, a group of Texas women were having none of it. The activists arrived decked out in full red robes, an homage to characters in “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Margaret Atwood’s classic (and distressingly relevant) feminist tome.
It’s not the only recent example of women using clothing to broadcast a message in legislative quarters. Democratic women wore white to hear President Trump’s first address to Congress last month, a nod to the suffragists and a rebuke of misogynistic policies.
Offred would be proud.
Source: Huffington Post
March 23, 2017
Texas senators voted 19-10 on Wednesday afternoon to require women to pay a separate premium if they want their health plan to cover an elective abortion.
The Texas Senate on Wednesday gave initial approval to a measure that would require women to pay a separate premium if they want their health plan to cover an elective abortion.
Under Senate Bill 20, health plans would still be allowed to cover abortions that are deemed medically necessary. The measure does not make exceptions for cases of rape or incest.
The vote was 19-10. The measure will get a final vote before heading to the House.
“If you go back to the basics of insurance, it’s to cover large, unexpected expenses,” said the bill’s author, state Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood. “In the case of abortion, you’re electing to have that procedure done.”
The bill is one of a number of abortion restrictions the Senate has approved recently. Earlier this week, the chamber passed Senate Bill 25, which would preventing parents from suing doctors if their baby is born with a birth defect and Senate Bill 415 which would require doctors to make sure a fetus is deceased before performing a certain type of abortion. Last week, Texas senators passed Senate Bill 8, which would ban what opponents call “partial-birth” abortions and put restrictions on donating fetal tissue.
Critics of SB 20 say Texans should not have to pay for supplemental coverage for abortions. Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, said in a news release that the measure jeopardizes Texans’ health care options and would have a heavy impact on low-income Texans, people of color and young people.
“Having insurance coverage for abortion is important to ensure that every Texan can access the care they need in a timely manner,” Busby said. “It is wrong for the government to place restrictions on private health insurance companies looking to offer a full range of reproductive health services, including abortion.”
But Taylor told senators that his legislation would allow women to have their abortion covered while not forcing other policyholders to pay for it. He argued that people who are anti-abortion should not have to pay for abortions if they don’t believe in them.
“This is giving the people who support pro-choice the choice to buy that coverage separately and leave everyone else out of it,” Taylor said.
Taylor said he was inspired to push the measure because of his daughter’s recent pregnancy. He recently welcomed a new grandson born with Down syndrome and heart problems. When his daughter found out what her baby’s condition would be, he said, she knew she would not have an abortion. Taylor says his daughter’s situation is why he believes women know deep down if they would want to keep or terminate a pregnancy.
But reproductive rights advocates say no one can anticipate needing an abortion and forcing people to pay for it as supplemental coverage is wrong.
And Sen. Sylvia R. Garcia, D-Houston, told Taylor that the bill “is just trying to tell business what to do with insurance coverage they want to provide.”
Taylor pointed to the 2010 federal health law as part of his reasoning behind the bill. The Affordable Care Act allows states to choose how to regulate abortion coverage. Twenty-five states have opted to ban abortion coverage through health insurance plans, according to a 2016 report from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Melissa Conway, director of external relations for Texas Right to Life, said in a news release Taylor’s bill “would protect the freedom of all Texans to abide by their consciences.”
“Texans deserve the right to decide where their insurance and tax dollars go, and they should not be forced to fund the elective abortions of others,” Conway said. “The majority of Texans are pro-life and neither want nor need insurance coverage for elective abortion.”
Source: The Texas Tribune
March 22, 2017
Senate Bill 25, which will now be sent to the Texas House, prevents parents from suing their medical provider if their baby is born with disabilities, even if that doctor discovered the condition during routine prenatal testing and failed to inform the parents.
The architects of the so-called “wrongful-birth” bill have argued it would protect children with disabilities and prevent doctors from facing unnecessary lawsuits. “It is unacceptable that doctors can be penalized for embracing the sanctity of life,” Senator Brandon Creighton (R-TX) said in a press release when he introduced the legislation last fall.
But reproductive rights advocates have been relentless in their criticism of the measure, arguing that it would effectively make it lawful for a care provider who is opposed to abortion to avoid prenatal testing, downplay test results or even lie to patients about results if they believe those patients might consider terminating a pregnancy.
“SB 25 would allow doctors to lie to their patients,” Heather Busby, executive director at NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, the reproductive healthcare advocacy group, told The Huffington Post earlier this month.
“[It] is another thinly veiled attempt to prevent Texans from accessing their constitutional right to abortion,” Busby reiterated Tuesday.
Sen. Creighton has argued that the bill does not let doctors off the hook for negligent behavior, and emphasized that patients can still bring malpractice suits against care providers. He has said reporters and reproductive rights advocates have mischaracterized the nature of the bill, and derided an earlier HuffPost article on the measure as “fake news.”
The final Senate vote on Tuesday split 21-9, largely along party lines. During an earlier period of debate on the Senate floor, Senator Jose Rodriguez (D-TX) expressed concern that the bill was simply a means of chipping away at women’s rights, The Houston Chronicle reports.
“It seems to be all about restricting and further limiting a woman’s right to exercise her choice as to what she’s going to do in the case of serious defects in the fetus, congenital defects in the fetus,” said Sen. Rodriguez.
SB 25 was not the only abortion bill to move quickly through the Texas Senate this week.
On Monday, in front of a gallery that included a handful of activists dressed in costumes from “The Handmaid’s Tale, legislators passed Senate Bill 415, effectively banning dilation and evacuation, a safe and common procedure used in many second trimester abortions except when a woman faces a health emergency.
Source: Huffington Post
March 21, 2017
We congratulate Diana Johnston for introducing her bill (New bill to challenge UK’s Victorian-era abortion law, 14 March) and are delighted it was passed by 172 to 142 votes. As a 10-minute rule bill, it has no chance of becoming law, but it is important in starting the debate about whether, after 50 years, it is time to revisit the 1967 Abortion Act. It is time to treat abortion like any other medical procedure, and control it with regulation and the GMC. It is wrong that three women have been jailed or had a suspended sentence, and that doctors responding to women’s requests may face criminal prosecution. Many people (and even some gynaecologists) do not realise abortion is a criminal offence unless it conforms with the conditions set out in the Act. Up to 80% of people polled believe the woman should make the decision in consultation with her doctor and 90% of a random sample of gynaecologists surveyed in 2015 said that the woman should make the decision to end her pregnancy. It is time for women to be treated as autonomous adults capable of making their own decisions about continuing a pregnancy, a view that the some tabloid newspapers seem incapable of understanding.
Source: The Guardian