Lawmakers advanced three bills limiting abortions, all in less than one hour. All the measures received some Democratic support. One was even sponsored by a Democrat. But many say it was the shift of the balance of power in the last election that made the difference.
Representative Andy Mayberry has testified in front of the Public Health Committee before. In 2011, the East End lawmaker pitched The Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act before the body. He did it again Thursday.
"There's nothing different about the legislation," Mayberry said. "It's the exact same piece of legislation."
Mayberry also brought the same expert witness and showed the same video in the same presentation he gave in 2011 (highlighted by his wife, Julie Mayberry, who told how the birth of their daughter with spina bifida changed her views on abortion).
But this time was different. The committee passed Mayberry's bill on a voice vote, sending HB137 to the full House.
"Today was that first hurdle, we crossed it," Mayberry said afterward.
But Mayberry's bill didn't go unopposed. House Minority Leader Greg Leding says the measure banning abortions after 20 weeks was too restrictive.
"The (restrictive) exception for the health of the mother; the lack of exemption for rape and incest; the lack of exemption for serious fetal anomalies of the child," Leding said, citing issues with the bill.