by Ben Johnson
AUSTIN, December 11, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) - Blue state America and Red state America continue to pull at the fraying fabric of our national consensus, moving in opposite directions on abortion. Texas is cementing its status as the state to watch for major pro-life breakthroughs in 2013. Meanwhile, Vermont is moving to expand abortion yet further.
Planned Parenthood has filed two lawsuits against the state of Texas to regain the funding state lawmakers have denied the nation’s largest abortion provider. One lawsuit, filed in the state courts, says the state acted unconstitutionally when it removed Planned Parenthood from the Women’s Health Program. The federal lawsuit claims that denying Planned Parenthood state funding infringes on civil rights laws.
Meanwhile in the Lone Star State a new bill aims to cracks down on “telemed” abortions. State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, introduced S.B. 97 to regulate the administration of abortion-inducing drugs when the physician is not present. Under his bill, a physician must prescribe the abortifacient, and a second doctor must agree to undertake any emergency care required following its use.
Foes of the practice of “telemed” abortions point out the drugs can be hazardous if the woman is not given a proper physical examination first. Planned Parenthood halted the practice of “telemed” abortions in Wisconsin this year, after Governor Scott Walker signed a bill requiring that a physician be on hand when the drugs are administered.
Texas Right to Life anticipates that state legislators will introduce, and pass, a fetal pain bill this year. The “Pre-born Pain Bill” would limit abortion to the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. “Since we have a general medical consensus that the developing pre-born child is capable of feeling pain, this is a good time to establish a state interest in protecting pre-born life,” Texas Right to Life Director Elizabeth Graham told KVUE-TV. Already, eight states – Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, and Oklahoma – have adopted such a ban.
Planned Parenthood is now performing abortions even later in pregnancy in the state capital of Burlington. The abortion clinic now performs abortions for women up to 18 weeks after their last menstrual cycle. They previously limited abortions to 16 weeks. “While it is not clear which procedure will be used in the later abortions, the most likely method is a Dilation & Evacuation (dismemberment) procedure,” Mary Hahn Beerworth, executive director of Vermont Right to Life, said in a press release. “Planned Parenthood of Vermont also offers to help find abortion services if you are further than 18 weeks into a pregnancy. It is unknown how the fetal parts and medical wastes are disposed of.” Abortion is legal in Vermont for all nine months of pregnancy.