By BRAD KELLAR
Herald-Banner readers, most of them women, were divided Wednesday, concerning a bill filed in Austin by State Senator Bob Deuell (R-Greenville), which would put tighter regulations on abortion facilities in Texas.
Deuell’s Senate Bill 537 would only allow abortions in facilities that state regulators say qualify as an ambulatory surgical center, places with operating rooms for minor surgeries. The bill also would require that women could only take an abortion inducing pill in the same facility.
The bill moved to the full Senate Tuesday on a vote of 5-2, with Democrats opposing it.
Under current law, a woman may take an abortion-inducing pill in a doctor’s office and would be sent to hospital if she suffered complications and needed surgery.
Abortion rights supporters complain the new tougher standard for clinics would cause many women’s health clinics to shut down since they can’t meet the higher standards. They say that rural and poor parts of the state will especially be affected.
Readers weren’t shy about voicing their opinions, when asked on the Herald-Banner’s Facebook page how they felt about the bill. More than 60 responses had been posted by Wednesday evening, including the first from Nicole Morrison, who was against the legislation.
“If you restrict something, legally allowed, all you are doing is taking away rights and making ‘back-alley’ abortions commonplace again,” Morrison said. “People are up in arms about the right to own guns, yet something like this can slip through the cracks and is just as much an infringement on the rights of women.”
Heather Young offered the opposite reaction in her reply in support of Deuell’s bill.
“But women choose to have sex and make a baby, be responsible and take on your responsibilities,” Young said. “I think it’s a great idea, I think abortion should be completely banned. I’m a woman and I don’t have a problem getting that right taken away.”
Shawna Floyd Ohnesorge also backed the legislation.
“All the bill does is make them have to have a safer cleaner environment, how is that restricting their rights?” she argued. “I still don’t get how its even a right to kill a child especially by doctors who vow to do no harm and yet heaven forbid we kill an eagle egg or harm an animal even for food but lets kill a baby.”
Celia Stogner believed the Legislature’s efforts should be redirected.
“Abortion should be rare and remain legal,” Stogner said. “Instead of spending time trying to outlaw abortion, perhaps his time would better be used to make abortion rare by providing funding to facilities that provide birth control and also to champion the teaching of birth control in our schools. Education is the key to changing a behavior.”
“I think people should stop worrying about what others do with their bodies. Mind your own business,” said Nikki Smith. “There are lots of different circumstances we could discuss when it comes to this subject but when it comes down to it...it’s a personal choice. Stop trying to control others. Take care of yourself.”
On the other hand, Kjerstie Winter Williams wondered why facilities should be offering additional birth control.
“Why not just not have sex?” she asked. “I was a young mother and abortion would of never been an option for me. I chose to risk getting pregnant, so I chose to raise a baby. Not kill a baby because I was stupid.”
There was considerable debate among those posting at to whether abortion itself is considered murder, which was the stance taken by Brandee Scoggins.
“To kill the unborn is the same as killing your child within minutes after birth or anytime thereafter,” Scoggins said. “Women do have rights, but when they become pregnant, their personal rights take second place to the life created inside them and they are not to stand in the place of God to decide that child’s fate. The unborn are just as human as the born, just as worthy of life, whether a woman sees them as inconvenient or not. It is not her ‘right’ to kill a child. If it is, she should have the right to kill her child no matter what age, born or unborn. Anyone should be free to kill in that case. Human life should be sacred in all stages. We are living souls.”
“My body, my choice,” said Debbie Ladd Cheshire.