Governor signs Preborn Pain Act

By Tony Gutiérrez

Associate Editor

July 10, 2013


People rally during an anti-abortion demonstration at the Texas Capitol in Austin July 8 as the legislature continued to debate in special session a measure that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of gestation and place new restrictions on abortion providers. Pro-lifers were encouraged to wear blue at the Capitol. (CNS photo/Mike Stone, Reuters)

Governor Rick Perry signed the Preborn Pain Act into law July 17.

The Texas Senate passed the Preborn Pain Act shortly after midnight Saturday July 13. The act, which will restrict abortions across Texas, was passed by the state House of Representatives on July 10.

In a statement released July 8 by the Texas Catholic Conference, the bishops of Texas asked the faithful throughout the state to join them in “prayer and action to protect the lives of the unborn in our state.”

“To succeed, our voices must be heard by state  lawmakers in acting to reverse the culture of death that continues to seep into our society,” the bishops said. “

“The success of the [Preborn Pain Act] is a testament to the courage of the pro-life community in Texas and to the pro-life legislators we’ve elected,” said Mike Demma, director of the diocese’s Catholics Respect Life Office. “We’re going to have to continue to pray and advocate that these bills don’t get challenged in court.”

Demma also thanked the scores of people from the Fort Worth Diocese who “rushed to Austin” to support the pro-life legislators during the debates.

“I was very pleased with the turnout of Fort Worth Diocese advocates,” he said. “They responded by finding their own transportation in response to the call for support at the capitol.”

According to the House Research Organization, the act will:

  • Ban on all abortions after 20 weeks, with an exception to save the life of the mother or prevent “irreversible physical impairment,” or if there is a “severe fetal abnormality”;
  • Require a physician performing or inducing an abortion to have admitting privileges at a hospital with Ob/Gyn services within 30 miles;
  • Require physicians to provide women with their own emergency contact information or that of other health care personnel and the nearest hospital in case of complications;
  • Beginning Sept. 1, 2014, require all abortion facilities to meet the same minimum standards presently required of ambulatory surgical centers.
  • Prohibit anyone other than a physician from giving, selling, dispensing, administering, providing, or prescribing an abortion-inducing drug to pregnant women.

Ethan Riogas holds a crucifix as he stands outside the Capitol gates during a protest before the start of a special session of the Legislature in Austin, July 1.  Lawmakers were called back to debate and vote on proposed abortion legislation and both supporters and opponents of the bill gathered outside the Capitol. (CNS photo/Mike Stone, Reuters)

“The bill takes a common sense approach to improving facility standards to address abortion complications, requires compliance with FDA standards for distributing the abortion drug RU-486, requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, and prohibits abortion after five months of pregnancy, when scientific evidence shows babies can feel pain,” the bishops said.

The bishops also urged Catholics throughout the state to contact their representatives and senators in support of the bill.

The bill was reintroduced July 1 in a second special legislative session called by Governor Rick Perry. The bill was introduced in the first special session in June, but failed to pass the Texas Senate as Senate Bill 5 on June 28.

“What we need to do as Catholics and as Christians is to go to our knees, form prayer groups, pray Rosaries as a group, have Adorations for Life, ask our priests to include prayers for life in our Mass intentions, and go to the abortion mills and pray and serve as witnesses that God loves all life,” Demma said. “God will end abortion with the help of his mother, but we must be His arms and legs and continue to pray.”

See Also

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pro-life-legislation-Button.jpgTexas legislators passed House Bill 2 this afternoon, which will restrict abortions in the state. The bill will now go to the state Senate where it will likely be voted on Friday. If passed there, it will go to the governor’s desk. In a statement released July 8 by the Texas Catholic Conference, the bishops of Texas asked the faithful throughout the state to join them in “prayer and action to protect the lives of the unborn in our state.”

Published (until 9/10/2013)