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Abortion Measure Clears Committee On Party-Line Vote

Ryan Poppe
Texas Public Radio

The House State Affairs Committee voted 8 to 3 to approve House bill 2, the controversial abortion bill, without hearing the testimony of 1,000 people who had signed up to speak.

Just over 2,300 people signed up to speak at the committee hearing that had a hard end time, which was one minute past midnight, but before they began to take testimony sparks began to fly between the bill's author, Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, R-Murphy, and Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, over the need to make all abortion clinics surgical ambulatory clinics.

Farrar:  "Did you look to the state for your information?"

Laubenberg: "Again, Representative Farrar, I am focusing on the health and safety for women undergoing an abortion."

Farrar:  "In your -- Okay, I guess you’re not going to answer."

That is how much of the night went when it came to questioning Laubenberg about the evidence behind her own bill. Then came the testimony -- Bradley Price spoke against the bill.

"Basically the bill is not based on science, it is based on junk science, and there is really no problem with abortion in Texas already, it is already very safe," Price said.

Kyleen Wright spoke in favor of having a more restrictions of abortion providers.

"The sub-par clinics will close, but if you tell them they are going to have drive 15- to 30-minutes further, but the clinic is going to cleaner and saver, every woman is going to choose that option," Wright said.

A majority of those testifying were anti-abortion supporters.

"There were was an arbitrary way that the chairman called up witnesses -- called up a majority of people that were pro, that supported the bill," Farrar said. "We had experts to talk about the issues about the costs and why these facilities, why the cost was going to be driven up. I gave those resource to the chairman, he refused to call them up."

As promised, the hearing closed testimony promptly at one minute past midnight.

The bill will come up for a vote on the House floor next Tuesday.

Ryan started his radio career in 2002 working for Austin’s News Radio KLBJ-AM as a show producer for the station's organic gardening shows. This slowly evolved into a role as the morning show producer and later as the group’s executive producer.