Yet Another Male Texas Republican Wants to Limit Your Access to Abortion


After Wendy Davis's (D-Texas) legendary filibuster, after pro-choice activists stormed the legislature, after disregarding the mechanics of time, and after deeming tampons more dangerous than guns, Governor Rick Perry (R) signed into law the controversial abortion bill which severely restricts access for women on a state-wide level.

Of course, male Texan Republicans not only want to have their reproductive-rights-crushing cake — they wish to eat it too.

Phil King (R) has filed for HB 59, a means to prohibit abortion once a fetus's heartbeat is detected. Co-authors and supporters of the bill include Dan Flynn (R) and Geanie Morrison (R). In HB 59, a doctor who performs the an abortion in violation of the law can be fined up to $10,000.

Only in cases of emergency would abortions be acceptable. A fetal heartbeat can be detected within six weeks of a pregnancy, which implies that access to abortions could be banned as early as six weeks, despite the fact that Roe v. Wade implied viability as something realized between the 24th to 28th week of pregnancy. Much of the abortion debate centers around trimesters and the perceived humanity of a fetus. At six weeks, however, even if a heartbeat is detected, the embryo is still far from a fully sentient child. The embryo is not even medically considered a fetus until about the eighth week of gestation, and women should have the right to as well as proper access to an abortion as they see personally fit that early on in a pregnancy.

The war being waged against women in the field of reproductive rights is not imaginary — it's real, and Texas continues to be a hot-button state for it. It appears lawmakers are failing to realize more abortion restrictions forces women to engage in more unsafe abortion practices. In research done at the Guttmacher Institute that studied abortion access from 1995-2008 on a global scale, results found that 13% of global material deaths occur from unsafe abortions in developing countries where things such as medical assistance and birth control are in low supply. While North America has liberal abortion laws overall that encourage safer abortions, stories such as the horror surrounding Kermit Gosnell's clinic, while resolved, should not be forgotten.

As of current, only North Dakota has a law resembling HB 59 in effect, though access to closer neighboring states with less restrictions puts women situated there in a better place compared to Texas. North Dakota's passage of the law is also currently being contested as unconstitutional in court.

King's bill has yet to be scheduled for a hearing in front of a committee. It's doubtful that it might ever see the light of the legislature's floor, but anything is possible. Pro-choice protesters in Texas may have to gear up for another battle yet.