AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Senate passed an abortion bill Tuesday night banning "discriminatory abortions."
The author of the bill, Senator Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills), said the bill closes "loopholes" that allow women to have abortions after 20 weeks, when research shows the fetus can feel pain.
In Texas, women can't get abortions after 20 weeks unless there is a severe fetal abnormality. Hancock's bill, Senate Bill 1033, prohibits abortions performed because of a probable diagnosis of Down Syndrome or probable diagnosis of a severe disability.
Senator Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso) opposed the bill, asking Sen. Hancock if he thought it was cruel to make a woman carry a fetus to term if she knew the baby would likely die.
Sen. Hancock pointed to a study from Duke University that found in these types of situations, women reported showing fewer signs of depression after carrying the baby to term.
"Abortion is not the only option," Sen. Hancock said. "Even the most heartbreaking cases of when a baby is unlikely to survive for very long outside the womb, perinatal palliative care exists to care for both the child and the family."
SB 1033 also bans abortions based on race, ethnicity and sex. It requires women be given information about palliative care after a diagnosis and creates a criminal offense for doctors who perform abortions based on a diagnosis.
The bill now heads to the House for consideration.
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