Tribpedia: Abortion

Abortion — a medical procedure to terminate a pregnancy — was first outlawed in Texas during the 19th century. In 1961, Texas passed a law to imprison anyone who helped “procure an abortion” for a pregnant woman. The law excluded abortions necessary to protect the life of the mother, but included a clause to fine any “accomplice” who provided means to obtain an abortion. It also declared the death of a mother undergoing an abortion as murder.

In 1973, when Texas’ law was challenged, and ruled unconstitutional in the Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, abortion became legal everywhere in the United States. In the years since, Texas lawmakers have filed bill after bill to restrict abortion in Texas, with mixed success. 

The Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling was rooted in the due process clause, which is found in the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and seeks to protect liberties that may be unconstitutionally restricted by government.

Opinions in the case said a woman’s right to choose must be balanced with the state’s interest in protecting prenatal life and the mother’s health. Therefore, it is only legal to perform an abortion during the early stages of pregnancy, before the fetus is viable — or could potentially live outside the woman’s womb.

Another Supreme Court Case, Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), upheld the Supreme Court’s earlier ruling that, under due process, women should be allowed to terminate a pregnancy within the early stages. But it also opened the door for states to legally limit access to abortion, as long as the laws did not cause an “undue burden” on the pregnant woman.

During the 82nd legislative session, lawmakers are considering several GOP-backed abortion-sonogram bills they say provide women with “informed consent” before having an abortion. Gov. Rick Perry made the measure an emergency item.

Meanwhile, there are efforts afoot both nationally and in Texas to cut off federal and state funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides women's health services through government contracts, and offers abortions in some of its clinics. 


Health care providers, reproductive rights activists and anti-abortion groups attended a hearing on a proposed state rule that would require the cremation or burial of fetal remains.
Austin rabbi testified against burial and cremation rule, citing "great potential" of infringing on religious liberty, at the public hearing held by Texas Department of State Health Services on August 4, 2016.
Demonstrators celebrated at the U.S. Supreme Court on June 27, 2016, after the court struck down a Texas law imposing strict abortion regulations. Dr. Bernard Rosenfeld, 74, has not been able to find a successor to lead his abortion practice in Houston. He says younger doctors don't want to deal with the politics and protesters. Planned Parenthood clinic in Austin, Texas. Comedian Joan Rivers and Gov. Rick Perry Thousands of abortion opponents attended the Texas Rally for Life at the Capitol on Jan. 26, 2013, where speakers included Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Houston Sen. Dan Patrick. A member of the McAllen Pregnancy Center hold pamphlets about unwanted pregnancies. She hands them out to patients entering Whole Woman's Health. Cadence King of Bryan stands at the gate of the now closed Bryan Planned Parenthood clinic. An abortion procedure room at the Whole Woman's Health ambulatory surgical center in San Antonio. Gov. Perry at Faith and Family Rally in 2013.

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