Today marks the final passage of HB 2 — the sweeping anti-choice legislation that is probably unconstitutional — from the full Texas House of Representatives. It passed with a 96-49 vote and now goes to the Senate for approval.
Yesterday twenty six amendments were offered, all from Democrats, trying to make the bill a little more palatable to the thousands of Texas citizens who have testified and registered against it.
Read more below the jump about the amendments rejected by the Republicans that would have helped Texas women and addressed the unplanned children that will result from this bill.Representative Ruth Jones McClendon offered up a few great amendments, including one that would have required evidence-based sexual education in public schools and another amendment offered today that would have extended state benefits to children put into foster care as a result of a woman not getting access to an abortion because of the bill.
Republicans shut both amendments down, arguing that sexual education should be taught in the home. Representative McClendon pointed out to the Republican members that not everyone is lucky enough to be born into a stable home. 13,000 children are currently waiting to be adopted in the State of Texas right now, Texas has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation, and it's no secret that our foster care system is incredibly strained already. This lack of consideration of basic facts to create policy is obviously frustrating, but moreover, it is unconscionable coming from people we call lawmakers.
Representative Lon Burnam asked Representative Laubenberg a very thoughtful question: “What are we going to about the thousands of children that are going to go into the foster care system that will be one of the unintended consequences of this bill?”
Laubenberg simply refused to answer the question.
Throughout the entire process so far this session, every single amendment offered has been voted down. The unwillingness to accept amendments to HB 2 reflects a troubling and obvious fact that a discussion of the best policies to prevent abortions is not in the interest of the authors of the bill. Make no mistake, the fact that there were no amendments accepted or even considered on this bill proves that this is about politics. This has also been abundantly evident all throughout the last special session when the Republicans attempted to hijack the process.
While the Senate Health and Human Services Committee heard testimony on SB 1 all day on Monday, HB 2 will most likely be the bill that goes through both chambers and passes. The Senate committee has yet to vote out SB 1, but they are scheduled to meet tomorrow (Thursday) at 9:15 a.m. If HB 2 passes the Senate Health and Human Services Committee it has to sit for 24 hours, making it available for consideration in the full Senate on Friday morning.