Technical Difficulties

The Texas legislature is trying -- really trying -- to be evil, but keeps getting foiled by its own incompetence. A bill requiring minors to get parental consent for abortions has been delayed by a technicality, while another bill that, according to the Houston Chronicle, "would have reduced incentives to develop affordable housing for the poorest Texans" was also temporarily shelved due to procedural errors. The legislature did, however, succeeded in passing a law to limit asbestos-related lawsuits - the bill's author, Joe Nixon (R-Houston), works for a law firm that fights asbestos claims.

Unfortunately, technicalities won't ward these bills off forever. The Chronicle on the abortion bill:

Abortion rights advocates also note that in a state with one of the highest teen-pregnancy rates, King's bill does nothing to help prevent pregnancy.

"They're obsessed with restricting and obstructing as opposed to preventing," said Kae McLaughlin, executive director of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League.

"It just makes it one step more difficult," she added. "Anything that makes it more difficult causes women to seek avenues other than safe, legal procedures."
Current law allows a minor to seek a judicial bypass for notifying parents in any Texas county, but King's bill would limit court venues to the county where the minor resides or where she would have the abortion.

"Perhaps one of the most heinous parts is the judge now changes the evidentiary burden of proof from a preponderance of the evidence to clear and convincing evidence," said Peggy Romberg, chief executive officer of the Women's Health and Family Planning Association.

The issue is key, abortion rights advocates say, because it could make it more difficult to prove that a minor might be abused if a parent learns she is pregnant.