Uncertain fate awaits abortion-related bills

Late-term abortions, women's health at issue


SAN ANTONIO – The bill banning late-term abortions at 20 weeks that passed in the U.S. House is likely to be defeated in the Democratically controlled Senate, said Matt Schima, executive director of the San Antonio Coalition for Life.

"There's not a whole lot of hope that it will pass this time, but there's a lot of hope for the future," said Matt Schima, executive director of the San Antonio Coalition for Life.

On the state level, SB 5, an omnibus bill of abortion-related regulations adopted by the Texas Senate, will go before a House committee Thursday.

However, the clock is winding down on the legislative special session that ends next Tuesday.

Those like Schima have said SB 5 includes provisions that are meant to safeguard the health of the fetus and its mother.

But a tweet on Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst's account Wednesday seemed to confirm the plan is to shut down abortion clinics and all but ban abortion in Texas.

The tweet read, "We fought to pass SB5 thru the Senate last night & this is why."

A map from an abortion rights group showed abortion clinics statewide.

State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, of San Antonio, has said in a statement, "It is obvious that the real goal is to make it harder, even impossible, for women to elect a procedure that is perfectly legal."

One of the key provisions of SB 5 would mandate that abortion clinics become ambulatory surgical centers.

Schima said by doing so, women would have better access to care.

Dr. Junda Woo, medical director of the Planned Parenthood Trust of South Texas, that would force the closure of clinics in rural areas to avoid the added cost.

"It doesn't make sense for handing someone a pill," Woo said.

She said those clinics use non-surgical abortion pills to terminate unwanted pregnancies.

Schima said if clinics were to close, pro-choice groups like his could then help women explore other options, such as adoptions.

"But also let them know that there are qualified centers to receive proper care," Schima said.

For a list of recent stories Jessie Degollado has done, click here.