Gov. Abbott promises to push for stricter abortion laws

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Gov. Greg Abbott signs a higher education bill at the Texas Advanced Computing Center on June 4, 2015. Abbott announced that he would fight to make abortion illegal.
Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is no stranger to the anti-abortion community, as he has pushed for limits on abortion procedures throughout his political career and plans to continue to support further restrictions during the next legislative session.

At a dinner last week hosted by the Texas Alliance for Life, the anti-abortion organization awarded the governor with the “Courageous Defense of Life Award” for his continuing efforts to limit abortions.

“For several years, the eyes of the nation have been on Texas, and not by accident,” said Joe Pojman, executive director of the Texas Alliance for Life, at the dinner. “Gov. Abbott’s leadership on the pro-life issue has been invaluable. As we get ready for the next legislative session in January, Gov. Abbott is already contacting his staff in the middle of the night with ideas. I know this because they contact me to get our help.”

MacDonald Walker, press assistant for the office of the governor, said the governor would continue to advance his LIFE Initiative, a plan to “protect the unborn,” which was announced last year after accusations against Planned Parenthood for selling fetal tissues surfaced.

“Gruesome — and potentially illegal — harvesting of baby body parts by Planned Parenthood cannot be allowed in Texas,” Abbott said in a press release. “Treating unborn children as commodities to be sold is an abomination. The barbaric practice of harvesting and selling baby body parts must end.” 

The LIFE Initiative aims to withdraw funding from abortion providers and Planned Parenthood as well as improve and expand adoption services.

After Planned Parenthood was defunded in Texas last year, the Population Research Center at UT-Austin looked at trends across other states who have defunded Planned Parenthood. The study’s results showed the defunding in these states led to lower rates of injectable contraceptive usage. Women who previously received contraception from Planned Parenthood before it was defunded did not continue to use contraceptives afterwards. There were also increases in birth rates covered by Medicaid. 

Last month, a new rule which required fetal remains from abortions or miscarriages to be buried or cremated was added into the Texas Register by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

The rule was announced in July with little to no public announcement. Abbott sent out a fundraising letter supporting the rule and announcing he would do everything in his power to protect “Texans’ basic rights and dignities.”

Joseph Trahan, communications director for University Democrats, said Texas democrats would continue to fight the governor’s plans for abortion restrictions going into the next legislative session.

“I find it absolutely ridiculous that Gov. Abbott and his cronies are pushing this issue,” said Trahan, a public relations junior. “Requiring a cremation or burial necessitates money, which often times, the women who are choosing to have an abortion don’t have an abundance of. A woman’s right to choose has been upheld by the Supreme Court.”