The Texas House gave preliminary approval to one of the most controversial bills of the 2013 special session – Senate Bill 5. The House is reconvening this morning.
Among its provisions, the measure would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy and would only allow abortions to take place at facilities that meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers.
Democrats offered a number of amendments – stalling the vote until after 3 a.m. One amendment related to scientific evidence that disputes the claim that fetuses feel pain at 20 weeks.
Democratic State Representative Lon Burnam debated that with the bill’s House sponsor, Republican State Representative Jodie Laubenberg.
LAUBENBERG: This bill has been vetted and as it is I’d like to keep it.
BURNAM: What do you mean the bill has been vetted? By the TMA? Because they’re against it? By any medical society? They’re against it. I don’t understand what you mean by 'Yes, I respect science-based evidence, but I don’t want to include it in the legislative process.' That’s counter-intuitive to me and I’m still not getting an answer.
LAUBENBERG: It is in the bill.
For the bill to move forward, the House still needs to give it final approval. The Senate will also have to vote on the bill again – since its version didn’t include the ban after 20 weeks.