As anticipated, the Texas Senate moved swiftly after the opening of the special session. With a mere 30 days allotted to the mid-summer special session, legislators must use time strategically in order to pass as many of Governor Abbott’s priorities as possible. Among the items listed in the special session call are several Pro-Life measures, which were killed by political games in the Texas House during the regular session of the 85th Legislature. Since the special session began on Tuesday, the Senate has already scheduled hearings for all of the Pro-Life bills.
The first hearing that will consider Pro-Life legislation is in the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services on Friday at 8 a.m. The committee will hear testimony regarding multiple bills related to abortion reporting requirements. Senator Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) authored legislation that would require statistical reporting on how a minor received authorization to get an abortion, since Texas law requires parental involvement in most cases, as well as reporting on the certification of when a third trimester abortion is performed because of the disability of the child. This bill would provide crucial data to help the Texas Legislature ensure that the legislative intent is being followed in these instances. Senator Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) authored legislation to enforce more specific reporting requirements for abortion complications.
The committee will also hear testimony on the DNR reform bill. Current Texas law does not specifically mandate that a physician receives consent from a patient or the patient’s legal surrogate prior to placing a Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) order on the patient. Texas Right to Life has witnessed how this unethical loophole has led to secret or unwanted DNR orders being placed on patients with deadly results. The legislation, authored by Senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock), addresses this needed reform in Texas law.
Finally, the hearing on Friday will also include consideration of a bill that would codify the defunding of abortion providers and their affiliates in any and all state programs and through local municipalities across Texas. While the most recently passed Texas budget includes an amendment to bar abortion providers or affiliates from receiving state funding, Senator Charles Schwertner’s (R-Georgetown) bill would codify the exclusion of the abortion industry and prevent local governments from funneling money to the profit-driven business. A complete list of the bills to be considered in the public hearing can be found online.
On Saturday, the Senate Committee on Business and Commerce will consider Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform at the hearing scheduled for 9 a.m. Pro-Life Insurance Reform would remove coverage of elective abortion from private insurance and state exchanges, as well as from plans subsidized by the Affordable Care Act. Senator Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood) passed Pro-Life Insurance Reform in the 2015 and 2017 sessions, only to see his bills fall victim to political games in the House. Senator Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe), Vice-Chair of the Committee on Business and Commerce, authored Senate Bill 8 on Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform for the special session.
Live broadcasts of all committee hearings can be found on the Texas Senate website. Following the live event, video footage can be viewed in the Senate audio/visual archive. Follow Texas Right to Life for further coverage of the hearings and updates as the special session continues.