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U.S. senators hold hearing on abortion rights

Texas Democrats are criticizing the Supreme Court for its decision on a challenge to the new Texas abortion law.

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas Democrats are criticizing the Supreme Court for how it handled an attempt to challenge the six-week ban on abortion in their state. They argue that the Supreme Court allowed the law to take effect without deliberation.

On Wednesday, State Rep. Donna Howard testified in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, arguing that abortion rights should be protected.

"This is about personal freedom and respecting that women know what is best for them, their family and their destinies," she said. "This is about health care and trusting the doctor-patient relationship. This is about giving women control over their very lives, without government interference."  

A native of Austin, Rep. Howard earned a bachelor's degree in nursing and a master's in health education from the University of Texas. Before serving in politics, Howard was a critical care nurse at Brackenridge and Seton hospitals. She also served as Austin's first hospital-based Patient education Coordinator, was a former president of the Texas Nurses Association (District 5) and was a health education instructor at UT.

Lawmakers also discussed the wording and enforcement of the new law. Sen. John Cornyn applauded the law, defending it by quoting the Declaration of Independence.

"'We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal and they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, and among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,'" Cornyn read. "I would point out that since Roe vs. Wade was decided, approximately 62 million innocent lives were denied."

On Sept. 1, the day the nation's most restrictive abortion law went into effect in Texas, the Supreme Court denied an emergency request asking the court to block it.

Both Sens. Cornyn and Ted Cruz were at the hearing Wednesday and said they stand by the bill state lawmakers passed.

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