Texas House committee passes abortion legislation


Sabine Hodge of Pearland, Texas holds a sign and shouts at pro-life demonstrators at the Texas State Capitol on Tuesday afternoon during the first day of testimony on abortion restricting measures House Bill 2 and Senate Bill 1. Separate crowds of pro-life and pro-choice demonstrators rallied at the state building as the hearings were taking place.

Photo Credit: Guillermo Hernandez | Daily Texan Staff

More than 1,000 people signed up to testify on abortion legislation at a House State Affairs Committee hearing on Tuesday, but less than 100 had the opportunity to.

The House State Affairs Committee heard public and personal testimony on HB2 before passing the abortion-related bill. The bill would ban abortion after 20 weeks, place more regulation on abortion clinics in Texas and require further restrictions on abortion-inducing drugs. At 12:01 a.m. Wednesday morning, the committee stopped taking public testimony and voted on the bill. It was approved in an 8-3 vote. The bill will now go to the full House.

Rep. Sylvester Turner, D-Houston, voiced frustrations with Rep. Byron Cook, Chair of the House State Affairs Committee, for starting a vote on the bill before Turner had the opportunity to lay out amendments for the bill.

“I think it is wrong what we're doing,” Turner said. “I think we're pushing things through.”

Cook said Turner would have the opportunity to add the amendments when the bill is taken up by the full House next week. Rep. Jodie Laubenberg, R-Parker, said she would prefer it if her bill remained unchanged.

Rep. Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, also voiced concerns that more people in support of the bill were testifying, despite the fact that there seemed to be more people against the bill at the hearing.

"The record is not going to reflect the people who are here,” Farrar said. “It's not fair and I think this speaks ill of the process.”

Cook said the committee was doing the best it could to hear as many people as possible.

Now that the bill has passed through committee, it will go to the House. The full House meets next Tuesday, and will likely vote on the bill then.

For a glossary of terms you need to know to survive the second special session, click here.

For a list of lawmakers and activists you need to be aware of to follow the second special session, click here.

Follow Bobby Blanchard on Twitter @bobbycblanchard.