Sen. Eddie Lucio, the only Democrat in the Texas state senate to support the new law banning abortions after 20 weeks of gestation, says he’ll continue to push for a requirement for women to complete an adoption course before having an abortion.
Lucio first proposed the measure in July. The Texas legislature is in a special third session due to failure to pass a transportation bill. If Lucio’s proposal isn’t added to the agenda, which it isn’t likely to be, he said he will refile his bill early in the 2015 session.
In 2007, there were only 1,302 infant adoptions in Texas and more than 81,000 abortions, according to a National Council for Adoption study. Lucio believes his bill, if made law, would increase the number of infant adoptions.
“This is just one way I think I can really help do that,” Lucio said. “We’re not trying to hurt the mother, we’re trying to help the unborn be born. I want to give them a chance to live.”
Finally, a Democrat who gets it: Conservative pro-life efforts are about protecting the lives of the unborn and helping women maintain optimal physical and emotional health, not depriving women of their “reproductive rights” as liberals would us believe.
Not surprisingly, Lucio’s efforts are not without skeptics. “What I don’t like about it is it seems punitive,” Rory Hall, executive director of Adoption Advocates Inc., said. Hall argued that the proposed classes would be unlikely to change minds, and that the decision to give a child up for adoption is a long and heart-wrenching one. “It’s another hoop for women to jump through when they face an unplanned pregnancy.”
That hoop seems worth it, especially if it opens women’s minds to the possibilities of adoption as opposed to abortion. And the hoop really isn’t that large; under Lucio’s proposal, the class wouldn’t last more than three hours and could be accessed on a website for free. A woman would need to present the certificate of completion at least 24 hours before the abortion. Current requirements for abortion clinics in Texas mandate that women receive a 22-page informational booklet that warns of potential side effects of the procedure and emphasizes fetal development. However, the booklet only references adoption in passing.
Elizabeth Graham, head of Texas Right to Life, sums it up perfectly: “If we do want women to make fully informed decisions, then they should know all the options.”
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