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Advocates, state lawmakers voice opinions on anti-abortion bills in Texas

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Advocates and state lawmakers are voicing their opinions and concerns about several bills regarding abortions in Texas.

In all, the Texas Senate has passed six bills restricting access to abortion this legislative session. The bills need to be passed by the Texas House of Representatives and signed by Gov. Greg Abbott to become law. 

The bills range from banning abortion altogether to mandating pre-abortion counseling:

  • Senate Bill 8 would ban abortions after a heartbeat is found.
  • Senate Bill 9 would ban abortions entirely, but only if federal court overrides Roe v Wade 
  • Senate Bill 394 would prohibit anyone who isn’t a doctor to provide abortion-inducing drugs
  • Senate Bill 650 would ban the state from aiding abortions.
  • Senate Bill 802 would mandate pre-abortion counseling.
  • Senate Bill 1173 would ban abortions even if the fetus has extreme abnormalities.

For Cathy Torres of the Frontera Fund, these bills are not about saving lives, but restricting women’s freedom.

“We’re human beings,” Torres said. “We’re much more than child-bearing beings.”

Democratic Senator Eddie Lucio says he voted for all of the anti-abortion bills.

“I will continue to take that position, which I’ve had ever since I ran for the House in ’87,” Lucio said.

As the only anti-abortion Democrat in the Senate, Lucio says he understands both parties. He also says he thinks these bills have a good chance at becoming law.

“These bills are comprehensive, they’re fair, and they give pregnant women the opportunity to make a decision. Now, when there’s a heartbeat, there’s life," Lucio said. 

But Torres and women's rights advocates say these bills, especially SB 8, which would make abortions illegal after a heartbeat is detected, also hurts minorities.

"It’s just another barrier added to the financial barriers that people here in the Valley and all over the place have to experience," Torres said. 

Channel 5 News reached out to Senator Bryan Hughes, author of the heartbeat bill, and he responded with a statement reading in part, "The historical and racially targeted attack by the abortion industry on low-income and minority communities is indisputable. SB 8 will make sure that the lives of low income and minority babies are protected.”

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