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Texas Senate
May 20, 2003   
(512) 463-0300

Abortion Bill Requiring 24-Hour Wait Gains Preliminarily Approval

Senator Tommy Williams
Senator Tommy Williams of The Woodlands and Senator Eliot Shapleigh of El Paso debate CSHB 15, which will require a woman to wait 24 hours before receiving an abortion.

Austin - Women will have to wait twenty-four hours to consider their decision to receive an abortion under a measure given tentative approval by the Senate today.

The Committee Substitute to House Bill (CSHB) 15 requires women to view certain informational materials published by the Texas Department of Health before the procedure can be performed. The materials include a list of services available to assist women through pregnancy and color pictures representing the development of the child at two-week gestational increments.

The bill, referred to as the Women's Right to Know Act by Senate sponsor Tommy Williams of the Woodlands, also requires that an abortion of a fetus 16 weeks or older be performed only at an ambulatory surgical center or a hospital licensed to perform abortions.

The bill passed by a 21-10 vote of the Senate, with Democrats and Republicans voting on both sides of the issue. The Senate is scheduled to vote on final passage of CSHB 15 tomorrow.

Legislation was also approved that would prohibit any new billboards from being installed along certain Texas roads. Senate Bill (SB) 511, authored by Flower Mound Senator Jane Nelson, creates a program for designating specific highways as State Scenic Byways.

Other legislation passed include:

  • SB 1045 which calls for the creation of an Innocence Commission to investigate the causes of wrongful criminal convictions in Texas. Houston Senator Rodney Ellis said that thirteen Texans were recently exonerated because it was determined that they had been wrongfully convicted. The commission would be required to identify appropriate improvements in the criminal justice system to prevent future wrongful convictions.
  • SB 1477, a bill that would allow deferred adjudication convictions to be erased from a criminal record. Many people accept a conviction on deferred adjudication with the expectation that the offense will not affect their permanent record. Dallas Senator Royce West said that since current law states that these records remain on a permanent criminal record, a person's ability to obtain a desired job or position may be impeded for many years after the offense, even though the offense may have been minor and committed many years ago.

The Senate will reconvene Wednesday, May 21, 2003, at 11:00 a.m.

Session video and all other Senate webcast recordings can be accessed from the Senate website's Audio/Video Archive.