Two abor­tion bills ad­vance in Se­nate,

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Chuck Lin­dell clin­dell@states­man.com Con­tact Chuck Lin­dell at 512-912-2569. Twit­ter: @chuck­lin­dell

Two abor­tion-re­lated bills ad­vanced Wed­nes­day in the Texas Se­nate.

The first, Se­nate Bill 8 by state Sen. Charles Sch­w­ert­ner, R-Ge­orge­town, would ban the use of fe­tal tis­sue from abor­tions in med­i­cal re­search.

“The peo­ple of Texas sim­ply will not stand for un­born chil­dren be­ing torn apart, mon­e­tized and traded like some sort of per­verse com­mod­ity,” he said.

Sch­w­ert­ner’s mea­sure also would pro­hibit two prac­tices al­ready banned by fed­eral law — a sec­ond-trimester pro­ce­dure that some call par­tial-birth abor­tion, and the sale of fe­tal body parts.

In­stead of leav­ing fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tors with sole author­ity, SB 8 would al­low Texas law en­force­ment agen­cies to in­ves­ti­gate and pros­e­cute po­ten­tial vi­o­la­tions, Sch­w­ert­ner said.

An amend­ment by state Sen. Judith Zaf­firini, D-Laredo, would have al­lowed women to do­nate post-abor­tion fe­tal tis­sue for re­search “so the greater so­ci­ety can ben­e­fit from its dis­cov­er­ies.”

Zaf­firini’s pro­posal was re­jected, 20-10, and SB 8 was ap­proved 24-6 and sent to the Texas House.

The sec­ond mea­sure, Se­nate Bill 415 by Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lub­bock, re­ceived ini­tial ap­proval and will re­turn to the floor next week for a fi­nal vote.

SB 415 would pro­hibit “dis­mem­ber­ment abor­tions” in the sec­ond trimester un­less there is no fe­tal heart­beat, Perry said.

“This bill does not pro­hibit all sec­ond-trimester abor­tions. Se­nate Bill 415 only pro­hibits one of sev­eral pro­ce­dures avail­able,” he said.

But sev­eral Democrats ar­gued that SB 415 would place dan­ger­ous lim­its on “di­la­tion and evac­u­a­tion” abor­tions, say­ing the method is the most com­mon and safest pro­ce­dure used in the sec­ond trimester.

State Sen. Kirk Wat­son, D-Austin, pro­posed an amend­ment that would al­low doc­tors to de­ter­mine which sec­ond-trimester pro­ce­dure was safest for their pa­tients.

“This would put the de­ci­sion mak­ing where it should be, with the doc­tor, not a bunch of sen­a­tors stand­ing on the Se­nate floor,” Wat­son said. “This would say the doc­tor’s clin­i­cal judg­ment would rule.”

Perry said the amend­ment would give doc­tors too much dis­cre­tion, adding that SB 415 would not ap­ply in sit­u­a­tions where the woman’s life was in dan­ger, and Wat­son’s amend­ment was de­feated.

Seven other states have en­acted sim­i­lar bans, al­though courts have blocked en­force­ment in four states.

State Sen. Kirk Wat­son, D-Austin, pro­posed an amend­ment that would al­low doc­tors to de­ter­mine which sec­ond-trimester pro­ce­dure was safest for their pa­tients.

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