The fate of Senate Bill 8, the latest anti-abortion bill to come out of Texas, will be decided on Friday when the legislation hits Governor Greg Abbott’s desk.
The legislation bans the donation of fetal tissue, and requires tissue obtained during an abortion to be cremated or buried. The bill also bans dilation and evacuation, the safest way to perform second-trimester abortions, without any exceptions.
Senate Bill 8 is the legislature’s most stringent anti-abortion bill since 2013. Governor Rick Perry that year called for a special session to pass the bill, but several sections of the legislation were struck down, including those that required doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic.
One provision that was left intact was the banning of abortions after 20 weeks, which was designed to prevent preborn pain.
Activists say that because the State of Texas now has an interest in protecting unborn children from pain, the state can regulate the type of procedures performed.
“Each year in Texas, more than a thousand lives are ended by dismemberment abortions. As a society, we should not allow a practice that literally pulls a living child apart in the womb,” said Senator Charles Perry, who authored another bill aimed at banning dilation and evacuation abortions. “We know that children in the womb are capable of feeling pain. Prohibiting this practice is long overdue.”
If Governor Abbott signs Senate Bill 8 into law, the activist group that led the challenge to HB2 will take the state back to court.
“From banning a safe method of abortion to doubling down on regulations already blocked by a federal court, Texas politicians continue their crusade against a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion,” said Amanda Allen, counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights. “The Center for Reproductive Rights vows to battle any unconstitutional measures in the courts until the rights of Texas women are respected and protected.”