Stating that “reproductive rights include first and foremost the fundamental human right to life,” the two pro-abortion groups attacked the Texas legislature for imposing tough new regulations on abortion clinics earlier this year.
“The Human Rights Committee (HRC), the body that monitors the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), has said the right to life should not be narrowly interpreted, and that fulfillment of this right requires governments to take proactive measures to reduce unintended pregnancies and unsafe abortion, which place women’s lives at risk,” the report, entitled “The Fight for Women’s Reproductive Health in the Rio Grande Valley,” stated. (See Nuestra Voz.pdf)
“As states chip away at human rights by choking off access to reproductive health care through legislation, we are nationally at risk of dangerous violations against basic human rights,” the report added.
It also criticized Texas for prohibiting “the distribution of state planning funds to health providers, including Planned Parenthood health centers, that do not perform abortions but share a name or trademark with clinics that do.”
However, except for footnotes, the report largely shied away from use of the word “abortion”. Instead, it focused on other “family planning” and “reproductive health services" not affected by the new state law, which passed this summer during a special session of the legislature after more than 2,000 pro-abortion demonstrators stormed the state Capitol in Austin.
The law includes a ban on abortions after 20 weeks, requires that abortion clinics meet the same medical standards as outpatient surgical centers, and that abortionists have admitting privileges at a local hospital located within a 30-mile radius of the clinic.
"This is good news both for the unborn and for the women of Texas, who are now better protected from shoddy abortion providers operating in dangerous conditions. As always, Texas will continue doing everything we can to protect the culture of life in our state," said Gov. Rick Perry, who signed the legislation on July 18.
But state Sen. Wendy Davis, whose 13-hour filibuster against the legislation made national headlines and propelled her to run for governor, called the law “an abuse of power by politicians in Austin.”
PP president Cecile Richards agreed with Davis. “This law is blocking women in Texas from getting a safe and legal medical procedure that has been their constitutionally protected right for 40 years,” Richards said.
However, Texas Attorney General Gregory Abbott, who is also running to succeed Perry, said in a statement that the state’s restrictions on abortion are “commonsense – and perfectly constitutional – regulations that further the state’s interest in protecting the health and safety of Texas women.”
Last month, Gov. Perry praised the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to intervene in a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood, which says the legislation has already forced at least 12 abortion clinics in Texas to close their doors.