On September 2, the Texas Legislature adjourned from the Second Called Special Session of the 87th Legislature sine die, meaning they currently have no set date to return, and three days early from the constitutionally-imposed 30-day timeframe for special sessions. Although the Second Special Session did finally mark the passage of the one Pro-Life policy included on the special session calls, neither special session call included the unfinished Pro-Life Priority legislation, such as repealing the anti-Life 10-Day Rule, enhancing conscience protections for medical professionals, and creating additional protections for preborn Texans.
The Regular Session of the 87th Legislature ended on May 31. Only Governor Abbott has the authority to call a special session of the Legislature and to set what items legislators are allowed to pass. Although Governor Abbott set the First Special Session to begin on July 8, the Texas House stood at a complete standstill for most of the First and part of the Second Special Sessions, after the majority of Democratic representatives jettisoned off to Washington, D.C., fleeing the state and abandoning the responsibilities in which they were elected to serve. This prevented any legislative business from being conducted until the House finally regained a quorum (the number of legislators required to conduct business) in mid-August. The House members then had two short weeks to accomplish what they should have been working on two months ago.
Meanwhile, the Texas Senate continued to pass and re-pass conservative priorities, including the one Pro-Life policy Governor Abbott included on the Special Session calls – strengthening Texas’ chemical abortion regulations. The return of an operational quorum in the House allowed Senate Bill 4 by Senator Eddie Lucio (D-Brownsville) and sponsored by Representative Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth) to finally advance beyond the Senate, finally passing the House at the end of August. This legislation now awaits the Governor’s signature.
Although not a priority for Texas Right to Life, we supported this legislation, a good Pro-Life policy. SB 4 will reinstate pre-Obama era limits on the use of chemical abortion drugs, including returning the limit of use of these dangerous drugs back to 49 days gestational age. SB 4 will also prohibit these abortion-inducing drugs from being mailed and will require an physician to confirm in person the baby’s gestational age, rule out ectopic pregnancy, and confirm the woman’s Rh factor. Finally, the bill will enhance Texas’ abortion complication reporting for chemical abortions.
Finally, the quorum-breaking saga has come to a close with progress made on many of the governor’s top agenda items. Legislators may be heading home, yet, they are already expected to return to the Capitol sometime this fall to redraw Texas electoral maps. More special sessions in the near future means more opportunities to pass critical Pro-Life legislation. Join Texas Right to Life in continuing to urge Governor Abbott to include the unfinished Pro-Life Priorities to these future special sessions so we can save even more vulnerable lives in Texas.