Culturally and legally, Texas has long been a state that honors the sanctity of human life. Pro-life Texans are thankful that a recently passed law has provided even strong protection for the unborn.
On June 6, Gov. Greg Abbott signed S.B. 8 into law, which bans the brutal practice of dismemberment abortion and also provides specific guidelines for discarding fetal remains.
Sen. Charles Schwertner, the bill’s sponsor, said it is in response to the many concerns “expressed by thousands of Texans and will ensure the dignity and protection for the unborn child” (via Dallas News).
The banned procedure in question is the dilation and evacuation abortion — most commonly known as a D&E by medical professionals. The pro-life community refers to it as a “dismember abortion,” and for good reason.
In the procedure, a practitioner dilates the cervix and uses medical instruments to dismember and dispel the fetus from the womb. And although already illegal in the United States, the bill takes further measures to completely ban partial-birth abortions as well. Under this new legislation, practitioners could face felony charges for performing any such procedure within the state.
Pro-abortion activists and some medical professionals argue that a D&E abortion is a safe method for second-trimester abortions. The Texas American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists even goes as far as to say that a ban “prevents physicians from offering the safest medical care possible to patients.” They argue that lawmakers “create a dangerous environment for patients that would prevent doctors from having every option available when providing a patient with the best possible care in any given situation – including when necessary to protect a woman’s health.”
But conservatives call the act barbaric. Representative Stephanie Klick says these babies are being “drawn and quartered,” or “ripped and torn apart,” further demonstrating just inhumane it is. “There are other procedures that can be done,” said Klick.
The second section of the bill requires facilities to properly dispose of all fetal remains, whether from an abortion or other infant death. In other words, remains are to be cremated or buried, as is the law for human body disposal. It prohibits the sale of human remains as well as donations to research facilities. Pro-abortion activists argue that by taking away a woman’s right to discard the fetus as she sees fit further agonizes her position, adding an unnecessary burden to an already tense situation.
However, Representative Cindy Burkett says that the intention is to ensure that “…tissue from aborted babies are not turned into a commodity,” not to further stigmatize or punish the women receiving abortions. She furthers her stance by stating the necessity for these laws statewide so that authorities have clear rules to enforce.
Texas has certainly received its share of push-back from liberals and practitioners, including from Representative Byron Cook. “Everything is not black and white. It’s not cut and dry. The human condition sometimes is heartbreaking… Who am I, who are we to play God in that circumstance?”
According to the The New York Times, more than 20 abortion clinics in Texas shuttered their doors after the bill passed. This, of course, is yet another powerful victory for everyone who believes in life.