May 7 in the Houston Chronicle

An anti-abortion tactic that has garnered some success in other state legislatures has so far fizzled in Texas, as bills aimed at forcing a significant decline in the controversial procedure have stalled in both the House and Senate.

Many of the proposals before Texas lawmakers reflect a growing national trend to reduce abortions with supply-side economics rather than trying to lower the demand among women.

Case in point is a bill by Sen. Bob Deuell to require abortion providers to meet the standards for ambulatory surgical centers, including costly equipment and building upgrades that opponents say are not medically based.

Unless the Greenville Republican can convince a Democratic colleague to change his or her mind, Senate Bill 537 is all but dead. “I’ve got 20 votes, and I need 21,” Deuell said.

Though he insists the measure is rooted in health and safety, abortion-rights advocates argue the measure, and others before lawmakers, have no scientific basis and are simply veiled attempts to close facilities that provide abortions.

Opponents say Deuell’s bill is another in a series of efforts nationwide to narrow access to abortion rather than trying to decrease demand.

“If your goal is to reduce the number of abortions, it seems like an effective strategy within state boundaries,” said Theodore Joyce, a researcher on the economics of health care policy at the City University of New York. His study of the 2003 Texas Woman’s Right to Know Act found that regulating providers cut the number of abortions more steeply than provisions seeking to change women’s minds.

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