Texas Considers Bill to Ban Almost All Abortions

| Fri Mar. 11, 2011 5:04 PM EST

 From the Texas Independent:

House Bill 2988 by state Rep. Tan Parker (R-Flower Mound) would prohibit abortions from being performed unless a physician determines there is a substantial risk to the woman's life or a major body function. Parker's bill comes on the heels of a bill by state Rep. George Lavender (R-Texarkana) banning abortions except in cases of medical necessity, rape or incest.

Among other things, Parker's bill makes no exception for cases of rape or incest, an exception that's long been considered untouchable even by many pro-lifers. It also explicitly prohibits physicians from considering possible impairments to mental health. A spokesperson for Rep. Parker told Mother Jones that the legislator "does intend to include [exemptions for rape and incest] if it moves through the process." But they're not included in the version that was filed on Thursday because Parker didn't actually write the bill; it was drafted at the behest of the Grass Roots Institute of Texas, an organization founded by conservative activist Bill Burch.

In February, Burch floated a similar bill in the Lone Star State that would establish that life "begins at the moment that the initial splitting of a human cell occurs during fertilization," explaining at the time that his bill "will eliminate abortion in the United States" by giving the Supreme Court a chance to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Parker's effort is part of a nationwide effort by conservative lawmakers to scale back abortion rights. Last month, we reported on the House GOP's effort to redefine rape as part of its "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortions." In South Dakota and Nebraska, legislators introduced legislation that could have provided legal justification for the murder of abortion providers. In Texas, a controversial bill requiring women to see a sonogram before having an abortion—with no exceptions for rape or incest—passed the house on Monday.

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