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The Brief: June 9, 2011

The time constraints of the special session haven't kept Texas lawmakers from pushing for more anti-abortion legislation.

State Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, listens to testimony during a House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee hearing on April 5, 2011.

The Big Conversation:

The time constraints of the special session haven't kept Texas lawmakers from pushing for more anti-abortion legislation.

Case in point: The House voted Wednesday to deny funding to hospital districts that perform abortions or affiliate with organizations that provide so-called abortion-related services.

The vote came in the form of an amendment to an omnibus health care bill designed to reform Medicaid and improve medical outcomes by allowing doctors to partner with hospitals and health care groups.

Lawmakers used the bill to revive several pieces of health care legislation that died during the regular session, the Tribune's Emily Ramshaw reports. The House voted 100-31 in favor of the abortion amendment, authored by Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, despite objections from two Austin Democrats, who tried to kill the language on parliamentary grounds, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

"It is a legal medical service, and their job is not to decide what they support or don't support," Rep. Donna Howard, one of the Austin Democrats, said in support of Travis County's Central Health, the only hospital district in the state that subsidizes abortions with taxpayer dollars, the Statesman has reported. "They wanted to secure access to services any woman could have."

Lawmakers approved another amendment, from Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, that would force physicians who provide abortions to collect more data on their patients. And Mineola Republican Bryan Hughes' amendment to limit state funding received by Planned Parenthood also passed.

The bill now heads to the Senate.


  • In the latest churn of the Perry-for-President rumor mill, The Washington Post touches briefly on the governor's wife, Anita, who is said to support her husband's possible ambitions. An unnamed source tells the Post, "I think he is just trying to weigh how much personal sacrifice is it going to take."
  • In dueling guest columns for the Trib, political strategists Allen Blakemore and Harold Cook make their case for and against a Rick Perry run for the presidency. Blakemore, in the pro column, says the governor "offers the voters a compelling alternative to current national policies." Cook, opposed, envisions Perry as "the swaggering rooster who believes the sun came up because of all that crowing."
  • With the House set to take up school finance again today, the Trib's Morgan Smith predicts a new battle over pre-K.
  • The Brownsville Herald has a look at the growing list of possible contenders for a new South Texas congressional seat. Among those in the running: state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville; state Rep. Rene Oliveira, D-Brownsville; and Cameron County District Attorney Armando R. Villalobos.

"They can come back on a monthly basis if they'd like as long as they spend money." — Houston Mayor Annise Parker on plans by the American Family Association, one of the nation's leading anti-gay groups, to sponsor Gov. Rick Perry's August prayer event at Reliant Stadium in Houston


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