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Pro-life groups hail Texas abortion law

By on Friday, 19 July 2013

Governor RIck Perry has signed the Bill (AP)

Governor RIck Perry has signed the Bill (AP)


Texas has banned abortion beyond the 20th week of pregnancy in a new law that has been welcomed by pro-life leaders.

The new law, which Governor Rick Perry signed into law during a ceremony on Wednesday, also requires abortion clinics to be certified as surgical centers and increases regulations on doctors and abortion-inducing drugs.

Jeff Patterson, executive director of the Texas Catholic Conference, said the law protects life by requiring no termination of pregnancies after the first 20 weeks and it improves standards for abortion facilities.

He said: “Twenty weeks is five months — that’s late term and a point where babies can feel pain. The higher standards for abortion clinics are in case there are complications or problems that occur when providing abortions.”

The stricter regulations for doctors and the abortion-inducing drugs such as RU-486 are to ensure they follow Food and Drug Administration guidelines.

Mr Patterson said: “A lot of doctors don’t follow the prescription guidelines. It means two separate visits, but that’s to make sure there are no problems.”

The measure also requires that doctors performing abortions have hospital privileges within 30 miles of the facility in which the abortion is performed, so that if there are complications she can be taken to hospital immediately.

According to the Texas Department of Health, there were five deaths out of 937,818 abortions performed between 2000 and 2011, the last death being in 2008.
For pro-life groups, the legislation is another incremental step in ending abortion. In 2011, Texas legislators passed a bill requiring a woman seeking an abortion to receive a sonogram from the doctor who is to perform the procedure at least 24 hours before the abortion.

This latest legislation attracted national and international media attention following a filibuster by Democratic State Senator Wendy Davis of Fort Worth, who attempted to kill the Bill during the last day of the debate. Governor Perry then called a second special session and added abortion to the agenda.

Marie Seale, director of the Diocese of Austin Office of Pro-Life Activities and Chaste Living, said the filibuster got the attention of pro-life supporters and brought them out to the Capitol in large numbers for the second special session.

She said: “People were wildly upset about what Wendy Davis did to legislation in the first special session. When pro-lifers saw the vote being taken from them, they riled up.”
Seale said that pro-life supporters realised their presence was needed in large numbers and they were moved to take action.

“It means being inconvenienced, packing lunches and getting at line early in the morning,” she told the Catholic Spirit, newspaper of the Austin Diocese. “That’s what really what Christian life is supposed to be: a call to action.”

Although the church, the Texas Catholic Conference and other pro-life groups regularly ask people to make their presence known, this was a grass-roots effort to get as many pro-life supporters to the Capitol as possible. Laypeople got on Facebook and called on friends and other pro-life people they knew to show up dressed in blue at the Capitol.
Pro-life groups also want expansion and funding of crisis pregnancy centers and an end to regulatory requirements that prevent the centers from providing options other than abortion, as well as social services that will allow a woman to keep her child.

  • teigitur

    A step in the right direction indeed.

  • paulpriest

    I’m sorry but what’s happened in Texas is being misrepresented:

    This was not an incrementalist victory

    But a victory by the concession of the pro-abort legislature to bow to overwhelming pressure of those seeking an absolute abolition of abortion and neither willing to make exception nor compromise with pro-abortion legislature.

    What’s important to note is that the Pro-Life movement actually had to push through the exact wording of the proposal – an after 20 week ban – to ensure that no Pro-Lifer would have to compromise on their opposition to all abortion and this measure would not [even by default] endorse or remotely co-operate with the murder of the unborn before 20 wks.

    Repeat: This was not a victory for an Incrementalist strategy – rather the opposite – this was a position of abolitionist solidarity – the only compromises came from the opposite side.

  • Just_a_simpleton

    What you’re saying doesn’t make sense. Any pro-lifer who voted for a 20 week limit compromised with the pro-life conviction that all abortions should be banned. Where is the solidarity with all the unborn? There is none – in fact by setting a 20 week limit it suggests that abortions are justified until that point, and pro-lifers are now involved with regulating how they should take place. Calling this a pro-life law is madness.

  • paulpriest


    It’s not a pro-Life law – but it IS an anti-murder law

    whereas an ‘incrementalist’ reduction law would remain a pro-murder law

    You’re not getting what’s happened

    There wasn’t a vote for a 20 wk limit – if there was many pro-Lifers would refuse to engage with it on point of conscience

    This hasn’t been a ‘reduction’

    – but a banning of abortion after 20 wks

    It may have the same consequences – but it makes all the moral difference in the world

    It’s an evil law – but this additional legislation is a reduction in the evil without any collaboration with that evil – ergo it is right action

    with a guarantee that a Pro-Lifer does not need recognise, endorse ot hold anything but absolute enmity with the murder of the unborn at any age.

    If this had been a vote for simple reduction – which included a conspiracy condoning/legally ratifying the death of those below the limit…

    No authentic pro-lifer could have co-operated – no Catholic of fully-informed conscience could have become what’s tantamount to a Caiaphas – buying one set of lives by sellng off another set – designating two types of human – the unwanted killable and the wanted unkillable

    My point is that this was NOT an Incrementalist strategy, initiative or victory

    This is where those demanding abolition received a concession by being determined and resolute in their opposition – one of solidaity – no exception:no compromise

    I do understand exactly what you’re saying – but it’s important to recognise what’s happening here…especially when ‘Incrementalists’ are the overwhelming majority among the hierarchy, commentators, activists and professional laity in this country…

    …and they are very, very, wrong

  • Cestius

    The new law will prevent some abortions, and limiting abortion to those clinics with hospital admitting privileges will shut down many abortuaries. I think it is moral to chip away at the abortion industry a little bit at a time while the big prize (overturning Roe versus Wade) is still out of reach – and God willing it will be overturned in due course.

  • Just_a_simpleton

    I don’t claim to be the sharpest knife in the drawer but I am good at detecting nonsense when I read it, and I am very surprised at what you have written because I normally agree with what you say.

    The banning of abortion after 20 weeks in and of itself involves a judgment that abortion shall not be banned before 20 weeks. Why 20 weeks? Why not 19 weeks? Having a law banning abortions from 20 weeks is arbitrary. There is no reason why 20 weeks should be the cutting off point, unless a) one believes abortions are okay before 20 weeks so this is the cutting off point which one agrees with ‘in principle,’ or b) one believes abortions are wrong before 20 weeks but it is unlikely that others will agree to ban them, so as a compromise to one’s principles one agrees to the 20 week limit.

    The bottom line is that there is no principled reason for agreeing to ban abortions after 20 weeks. Some reasons have been suggested, eg dealing with fetal pain or the size of the baby or that abortions are more complicated later on, etc. But none of these reasons involves prolife principle, but rather a sell out to pragmatism and expediency. Agreeing to a 20 week limit is always a compromise. As the law should ban all abortions setting a 20 week limit always involves implicitly (if not explicitly) accepting that abortions will take place before 20 weeks.

    You say it reflects ‘abolitionist solidarity.’ No, it’s a denial of solidarity with the many unborn who are equally deserving of protection but are totally ignored by this law. No, sorry, that’s wrong – the law doesn’t ignore them…’s worse than that – the law explicitly regulates how they should be killed. That is not prolife.

  • kentgeordie

    A step in the right direction, and a very important symbolic move, but as the vast majority of abortions are perpetrated well before 20 weeks it won’t have a big effect on the numbers.

  • paulpriest

    ..and sorry you’re not getting what I’m saying – we’re arguing across each other

    Please understand – I FULLY agree with you over what you’ve said
    OK – we’re on the same page

    This Texan law – the most potentially life-saving legislation to have happened in a generation [remember they are basically partial birth on demand over there….]
    …is being abused by Pro-Lifers to justify the Incrementalist strategy [negotiation/compromise/exception – Caiaphas grab the half-loaf mentality]

    I am specifically stating that this was NOT a reduction-conspiracy with abortion – saving lives by selling the lives below 20wks because they’re unsave-able – mentality

    This was wrought by unswerving solidaritist abolitionists demanding everything and gaining a concession from cornered pro-choicers – to placate the public support – to the extent that they were so certain they were going to lose they had to get Wendy Davis to filibuster….

    Do you see my point?
    Not only that – the wording of the law is crucial in all this – Many abolitionists in full conscience – from a position of solidarity:
    a] Could not vote for any legislation which entailed a ‘reduction of abortion limits’ but required a de facto endorsing co-operation with the abortion process [Evangelium Vitae 73.2]

    [remember incrementalists like John Finnis & certain Catholic Voices & Anscombe’s Luke Gormally & many Catholic bloggers and most [if not practically all?] Catholic politicians in the UK – argue that this is PERMISSIBLE under article 73.3 of Evangelium Vitae]
    b] Could only vote for Just legislation – this vote was distinctly unrelated to the abortion legislation – it was a blanket ban for over 20wks
    c] In order to achieve that precise distinct wording required the overwhelming political power to force this type of proposal through

    Over the nest few months you will hear a lot of lies from incrementalists arguing that Incrementalism is the ONLY way forward – chipping away by negotiation/compromise etc [futile – gravely immoral and like trying to break a diamond with a sponge]

    This is NOT how it works – the only strategy that works is the solidarity-abolitionist position -immovable, intransigent, unswerving…that’s how we get any concessions – by being a massive uncompromising force demanding everything…

    I hate a 20wk abortion just as much as a 20second abortion – but there is more to this than the grave evil of genocide…
    There’s a corrupting evil which is poisoning the very pro-Life movement as we speak – and we CANNOT afford for Incrementalists to exploit this Texan ‘tiniest’ of victories to vindicate their strategy which is a path straight to hell….

    I can only suggest you read my blogpost…I could not agree with your position more – but my point was that there’s a grave danger in all this that many will justify and coerce others to adopt utilitarian ‘pragmatic’ situationist approaches…

  • Just_a_simpleton

    Sorry Paul, but I’m not convinced.

    Your suggestion that the law is “the most potentially life-saving legislation to have happened in a generation” is irrelevant (as I think you will acknowledge from other things you have written.) The relevant question is whether it is just and it clearly isn’t. If it had been just an arbitrary 20 week limit would not have been set. The law would have banned all abortions not just some.

    Reference was made to “20 weeks” precisely to ensure that abortions before 20 weeks would not be banned and this is a violation of the moral law (and solidarity) which requires that all abortions be banned. It is also unjust for a law to regulate how/where those abortions taking place ‘legally’ before 20 weeks should take place.

    Yes, the law may stop some abortions, but it is an abortion control/regulation law and as such it is not pro-life or even ‘anti-murder’ as you put it. It ARBITRARILY protects some lives (and opposes some murders) while not protecting other lives (banning other murders). Laws should protect ALL lives/ ban ALL murders. Anything else is immoral, unjust and a violation of solidarity.

  • paulpriest

    I understand all that but compare this law with Alton here in 1980 & the catastrophic outcomr – they made a deal with the devil and he won!!!!

  • LocutusOP

    I don’t fully comprehend the argument that paulpriest is making, so I’ll refrain from commenting – although I get the general gist of it.

    The political ‘problem’ with banning all killing of the unborn is that it would probably not have passed the courts – as infested as they are with anti-life mentality. Therefore the law had to be worded in such a way that it can pass judicial review – that’s where the fetal pain at 20 weeks comes in.

    I have read other opinions that babies can feel pain much earlier than that, but most would accept 20 weeks for both pain and viability (of course, the debate on abortion is not about the pain inflicted on the child any more). That’s probably the only reason the ban was over 20 weeks – to not risk being overturned by the anti-life courts.

  • Just_a_simpleton

    You make a deal with the devil and the devil always wins – even if you get the result you wanted. By banning abortion after 20 weeks the Texas law proclaims that there is no problem with abortion before 20 weeks (so long as they are performed in accordance with the specified regulations). The devil must be delighted that he has got prolifers to agree which abortions should and shouldn’t take place and to decide how to regulate them. How he must be laughing at the idea that this is even a prolife law! The headline of this article reflects how well the devil has won.

  • bluesuede

    I agree, it is a step in the right direction. It takes away some of the free hand that abortionists had. To me, it pulls back on the reins of the runaway abortion industry in Texas, but it still operates up to 20 weeks. As usual, there will be abuses. An example to other States now? Hopefully.

  • buckingham88

    The advance in the preservation of a child’s life is that there is now a defined time when it is not licit to kill the child in Texas.

    This cuts across the view that it is an absolute right for a mother to kill her unborn child at any age if she deems fit to do so for say a psychological reason.
    The pro abortion lobby puts artificial requirements on life, such as a recent letter that claimed that if a child could not breathe for himself then it was OK to kill him/her.
    This also extends to the concept that if the child were of the wrong sex then also she may be killed.
    After an unborn child was killed in a motor vehicle accident the law in the Australian state of NSW was amended.
    Wheras previously no penalty or punitive action was available to redress this situation in NSW law, the upper house has passed a bill giving the unborn some rights to compensation.

  • Emma

    What right does anyone have to murder a baby??? Disgusting!