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Government/Politics

Texas Senate Committee Approves More Abortion Restrictions

A Texas Senate’s health and human services committee approved a bill Thursday that would make it harder for women to get a medication abortion.

Medication abortions are delivered through pills. It’s one of the most common and safest methods of abortion during the first trimester.

The Texas Senate has continued to move legislation despite the standstill at the Texas House due to a lack of quorum.

More than 50 Texas House Democrats fled to Washington on Monday in an effort to deny Republicans enough votes to pass more voting restrictions. The move also put every other bill under consideration during the special session that started this month on hold.

Despite the stalemate, the Senate health committee heard testimony on Senate Bill 4 on Thursday. The bill decreases the timeframe a person could get a medication abortion from 10 weeks into a pregnancy to seven weeks.

The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Eddie Lucio, D-Brownsville, said the legislature has already decreased the number of abortions by passing sonogram requirements, as well as other laws.

“But yet… the chemical abortions statistics are going up and that’s why this piece of legislation is extremely important,” he said.

Public testimony during the hearing came solely from members of the anti-abortion community. Abortion rights groups said in statements that they would not attend the hearing.

Aimee Arrambide, the executive director of abortion rights group Avow, said in a statement that SB 4 would “criminalize doctors who provide medication abortion in accordance with the best evidence.”

“We refuse to be a punching bag for the anti-abortion lobby and extremist legislators who are willing to ignore science for primary votes,” she said. “We refuse to validate Abbott’s lies that this special session was called to help Texans, instead of harming them with anti-voter, anti-trans, and more anti-abortion legislation.”

Gov. Greg Abbott has already signed two bills this year that would restrict access to abortion in the state. One bill would ban the procedure as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The other would ban the procedure outright if the U.S. Supreme Court were to overturn the legal precedent upholding the right to an abortion.

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