In-fight all you want, Republicans. The clock is ticking.
Abortion-rights opponents in the House have threatened to scuttle a comprehensive health care savings bill if negotiators don’t add prohibitions against abortions at public hospitals in cases of severe fetal abnormality.
Rep. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, said House-Senate negotiators added “horrible language” to the special session’s big health care bill last week, arguing that a provision “that allows for the killing of disabled babies.”
A conference committee, in weakening a House ban on state funding of public hospitals that perform elective abortions, voted to permit abortions if the fetus has “a severe and irreversible abnormality that is incompatible with life after birth.”
The House’s ban allowed just one exception, if the woman’s life was endangered.
“Our concern is the fetal abnormality language where the taxpayers would be funding in utero euthanasia,” said Hughes, one of the House’s most vocal opponents of abortion rights.
[Hughes] said anti-abortion House members are willing to accept a move by the negotiators to strike language prohibiting public hospitals from affiliating or doing business with entities that provide “abortion-related services.”
The provision has been criticized as so vague it could even apply to the sonograms that lawmakers are requiring women to undergo before having an abortion.
The maneuvering threatens a Senate-hatched bill that would try to induce insurers, employers and Texas Medicaid to pay for quality, not just how many tests and procedures are performed on a patient. By early last week, 75 House Republicans had signed a letter vowing to vote against the bill if three anti-abortion amendments passed by the House were deleted.
The Statesman has the slightly less insane side of this argument.
[Rep. John] Zerwas, co-chair of the conference committee, said writing a list of fatal conditions into law “is going to be inaccurate from day one.”
Lawmakers risk revisiting the list every session, he said, to add new illnesses or delete others that become treatable thanks to medical advances.
“I say you leave it to the discretion of the professionals,” said Zerwas, a physician. “To those of us in the medical profession, it’s very clear what ‘incompatible with life’ means.”
The Trib summarizes the legislation involved in this fracas, under the “Health Care” heading. I realize there are some things in the pre-amended version of SB7 that would be worthwhile, but if the dispute remains unresolved and the whole thing dies when the session expires next week, I won’t shed any tears.
UPDATE: Sadly, it looks like they’ve worked out their differences.