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Rep.Farrar, Jessica

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Rep. Farrar Files Pro-Choice Alternative to HB 246/SB 319  print page

by: Rep. Farrar, Jessica
03/04/2003

Austin, TX - Representative Jessica Farrar (Houston) filed HB 1589 today, as a pro-choice alternative to HB 246, and its companion SB 319. Currently, Texas law doesn’t allow for either civil or criminal penalties for causing a women to miscarry a wanted child. In response, HB 246/SB 319 seek to create civil and criminal penalties for these offenses. However, language in the bills provides clear support for restricting a woman’s constitutional right to decide for herself whether or not to carry a child to term. Rep. Farrar filed HB 1589 to ensure a woman has the right to pursue criminal or civil penalties in these cases but removes language that would undermine a woman’s right to choose.

Specifically, critics of HB 246 and SB 319, point to the fact it defines an individual as an unborn child beginning with fertilization in both the Penal Code and the Civil Practice and Remedies Code. This is a marked departure from current law, and whether intended or not, creates a way to attack abortion rights. "We shouldn’t be muddying the issue of protecting pregnant women by inserting language into bills that can be used to attack abortion rights. This is too important of an issue to make it into an abortion issue," stated Rep. Farrar.

Representative Farrar’s HB 1589 provides both criminal and civil penalties for causing a woman to miscarry a child. Unlike HB 246, HB 1589 leaves out the contentious language that pro-choice and anti-choice groups will be fighting for or against. Rep. Farrar went on to say, "My heart goes out to those who have lost a wanted pregnancy because of the acts of someone else, and then realize they have no recourse in the courts. HB 1589 gives them the needed recourse whether it be making sure a criminal spends time in jail or a negligent doctor has to pay out damages."

"Every year I have served in the Texas House, we hear bills concerning abortion, and with them come contentious and bitter battles. While I don’t expect all abortion bills to stop, lets make sure pregnant women are protected and ensure that this issue doesn’t become a contentious one," explained Rep. Farrar.

Contact: Phillip Dupr
(512) 463-0620

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