Texas House Votes To Restrict Court-Ordered Teen Abortions

May 14, 2015
David Martin Davies / TPR News

AUSTIN — After a long and at times heated late-night debate, the Texas House on Wednesday approved a proposal that would severely tighten restrictions on a process that enables teens to have abortions in extreme cases when they can’t get the required parental consent.

Victoria Republican Rep. Geanie Morrison said her measure is intended to “improve protection of the minor girl and ensure that parental rights are protected.”

The law governing the so-called judicial bypass process had gone untouched since becoming statute in 1999, but it has been targeted by anti-abortion groups during the current legislative session, which ends June 1. Under the law, girls younger than 18 may get a judge’s permission to have an abortion without telling their parents if they meet certain strict criteria.

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AUSTIN — Abortion is again seizing the spotlight at the Texas Capitol — but largely only in small doses that haven’t drawn the kind of heated debate and high emotion that dominated last session.

The House heard minimal discussion Wednesday before voting to mandate that abortion clinic personnel undergo training to prevent human and sex trafficking. The idea is that workers will better be able to spot it if any of their patients became pregnant after being forced into the sex trade.

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AUSTIN — The battle over abortion in Texas returned to the floor where Democrat Wendy Davis staged a nearly 13-hour filibuster as the Senate on Tuesday approved eliminating coverage for the procedure under plans purchased through the federal marketplace.

The measure is not unique: More than two dozen states already have similar bans for coverage obtained through the Affordable Care Act, and abortion-rights groups have expressed surprise that Texas isn’t on that list already.

But it was notably the first bill related to abortion — a quiet issue so far in Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s first legislative session — that the Republican-controlled Senate has passed since Davis’ filibuster in 2013 catapulted her to national stardom and her supporters packed the Capitol.

David Martin Davies / TPR News

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas lawmaker is scrapping his effort to reveal the names of judges who permit teens to have abortions if they can’t get the required consent from their parents, in favor of an even stricter measure.

Carrollton Republican Rep. Ron Simmons’ legislative director Zach Flores said “ongoing conversations” led him to pull his proposal from a Wednesday committee hearing. State law for years has allowed judges to grant abortions to girls younger than 18 in extreme cases, but the law also mandates that most information on the cases remain confidential.

Texas Considers More Abortion Limits After Clinic Closures

Apr 29, 2015
David Martin Davies / TPR News

AUSTIN — Two years after Texas adopted sweeping abortion restrictions despite Wendy Davis’ star-making filibuster, Republicans are pushing a smaller encore of additional limits for new Gov. Greg Abbott to sign within the next month.

New battlegrounds over abortion access for minors and insurance don’t pack the same impact of a 2013 measure that would leave as few as eight abortion facilities in Texas if a federal appeals court upholds stringent new clinic standards. That decision is potentially still weeks out.

But while other conservative states such as Kansas and Tennessee have moved to the front line of national abortion politics, Texas Republicans are signaling they are far from finished. One bill up for discussion Wednesday would hold doctors or counselors criminally liable if they were found to have coerced a woman into ending a pregnancy. It was proposed by a first-term Republican who says she was pressured into an abortion as a teenager.