Four Democrats boycott hearing, delay Texas anti-abortion bill

March 25, 2019

AUSTIN — A team of Democrats stymied an anti-abortion measure in the Texas House by not appearing at a Monday morning committee meeting to hear the bill.

The four Democrats on the Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee boycotted the early morning hearing, calling the bill a “charade” to “offend our fellow Texas women, their families and licensed physicians” on measures that are already addressed in state and federal law. Rep. Morgan Meyer, R-Dallas, was also also absent.

With five of nine members absent, the committee was unable to meet or hear House Bill 16, which would open doctors to civil penalties if they fail to try to save the life of a baby that survived an abortion. Such scenarios are rare, according to FactCheck.org, a project out of Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

The committee could pass the bill if all Republicans vote for the measure. However, Meyer’s vote would be needed. Although he has a 100 percent voting record with the anti-abortion group Texas Right To Life, the Republican is considered politically vulnerable in his district. Meyer won his last election by 220 votes, or less than one percent. In 2016, he won that district handily by more than 70 percent of the vote.