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Multiple abortion bills filed in Texas legislative session

Bills both in support and against abortion have been filed in the Texas House and Texas Senate.

AUSTIN, Texas — Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) on Friday announced she has filed HB 4389, otherwise known as the Abortion is Healthcare Act, which aims to repeal a handful of abortion restrictions put in place throughout the state in previous legislative sessions.

Howard said her bill was filed with the support of Trust. Respect. Access., a statewide abortion rights coalition. She said it comes as an offensive move at a time when advocates are often forced to be defensive.

RELATED: Rosie's Law: Bill introduced to restore health insurance coverage of abortion in Texas

A member of the Trust. Respect. Access. coalition, Progress Texas, released a statement in support of the act on Friday.

“The right to an abortion is meaningless if it’s not accessible,” said Diana Gómez, advocacy manager at Progress Texas. “For decades, extreme anti-abortion politicians have created medically unnecessary barriers to abortion care, while ignoring the health needs of Texans. The Abortion is Healthcare Act would repeal those laws and expand access, stopping anti-abortion politicians in their tracks before they can inflict further harm on our communities. Abortion restrictions have a disproportionate impact on marginalized groups in Texas and across the country. While conservatives pat themselves on the back for pushing through legislation aimed at controlling our bodies, people of color, low-income Texans and immigrants pay the price. No one should face fear, stigma or unnecessary barriers when seeking out reproductive health care and deciding on how to plan their families. Political agendas should never control a person’s ability to receive medical care.”

Meanwhile, Texas Sen. Bryan Hughes on Thursday announced that he filed SB 8, or the Texas Heartbeat Bill, which aims to protect the lives of unborn children from the moment a heartbeat can be detected. 

His bill was co-authored by a bipartisan group of 16 other senators, which he said indicates the bill has majority support. The House companion bill, HB 1515, is being carried by Rep. Shelby Slawson.

“The presence of a heartbeat is a universal indicator of life. Whether it's a life in the womb or out, we should protect them both. This bill demonstrates that Texans value life. It’s time to stand up for those who are unable to stand up for themselves,” said Mary Elizabeth Castle, Policy Advisor for Texas Values.

The Texas Heartbeat Bill has been set for a hearing Monday, March 15, at 9 a.m.

RELATED: Texas temporarily barred from removing Planned Parenthood from Medicaid

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