On Monday, with the hope that the next round of Supreme Court justices will be more inclined to let states set their own abortion policies, Texas lawmakers introduced a series of new pro-life measures.
HB 87 would remove fetal abnormalities from the list of exceptions to the state’s ban on abortions past twenty weeks, which currently also includes physical threats to the mother and determinations that a child is non-viable.
HB 144 would require abortion facilities to submit to the state monthly reports on the abortions they perform (an increase from current yearly reports), though it contains language ensuring the anonymity of patients and abortionists.
HB 201 would codify into law Texas’s recently-proposed regulations requiring humane disposal of fetal remains, i.e., burial or cremation.
Finally, Joint Resolution 9 is a proposed amendment to the state constitution formally recognizing a preborn right to life and prohibiting abortion to the maximum extent permitted under federal law. If approved by a two-thirds legislative majority, it would then go to the voters for ratification.
This summer, the Supreme Court struck down Texas’s last major pro-life law, which defined safety requirements and regulations for abortion facilities. However, President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to nominate pro-life jurists to succeed the late Justice Antonin Scalia and fill subsequent Supreme Court vacancies, which would restore states’ right to decide on their own abortion regulations in the interest of both maternal health and fetal life — a prerogative that used to be recognized even by past Supreme Court majorities that accepted Roe v. Wade, particularly the Court’s opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey.