Although this bill is, admittedly, a long shot, a state representative in Texas’ legislature proposed that abortion be banned unless the physician certified that the woman’s life was at risk. Notably, this does not leave room for abortion in the case of rape or incest (although a spokesperson for Tan Parker, the representative who proposed the bill, says that these provisions may be added if the bill moves forward), and also explicitly prohibits physicians from considering mental health as a potential impairment.
This bill is particularly disturbing, even if it doesn’t go anywhere, because it wasn’t written by Parker; according to Tim Murphy, writing for Mother Jones, it was drafted by the Grass Roots Institute of Texas, a conservative think tank. Its founder, Bill Burch, helped propose a bill in February that would stipulate that life begins “at the moment that the initial splitting of a human cell occurs during fertilization.”
Burch’s motivations are clear; when asked about the February bill, he explained, “That bill right there will pass, and we will eliminate abortion in the United States.”
His voice is just one of many anti-choice advocates who have been working to scale back women’s reproductive freedom over the past year or so. Most recently, Georgia proposed an ordinance that would significantly limit women’s ability to access abortions by requiring that all abortions be performed in a hospital. New regulations for abortion clinics in Virginia could shut down most of the state’s facilities, and legislation in Indiana would require doctors to inform women about erroneous abortion-related “risks,” like breast cancer.
We’re clearly at a dangerous time with regard to abortion rights, and it’s important to keep an eye on what’s happening at the state level, even if it seems like, as in this case, the most extreme bills are unlikely to pass. As other states’ legislation has proved, politicians seem shockingly willing to limit women’s ability to access safe, affordable abortion.
Photo from Flickr.