News Roundup: House Considers Bill Requiring Counseling For Those Seeking Abortions

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelMay 5, 2019 1:00 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Texas lawmakers have advanced a bill that would require pregnant people seeking an abortion to get counseling. State senators gave initial approval to the measure on Thursday, followed by final approval Friday. The bill would require a counselor to give informational materials on the medical risks of abortion and alternatives to the procedure. Counselors would not be required to be licensed medical professionals.

Democratic Sen. Jose Menendez of San Antonio raised concerns about the qualifications of these counselors with the bill’s author, McKinney Republican Angela Paxton.

“Why don’t we require that the counselor have some sort of medical background? Maybe a nurse, maybe a licensed medical professional. That’s a concern for me because if it’s medically accurate information, maybe they should have a little healthcare background,” Menendez said.

Supporters argue the bill would ensure people make informed decisions, but opponents say counseling would be burdensome and include medically inaccurate information.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection built two new tent facilities in Texas, where they will hold and process migrants who have recently crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. The agency says its current holding facilities are full.

As Mallory Falk reports, the new sites are located in El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley.

The tent-like structures, which federal officials are calling “soft-sided facilities,” will hold up to 500 migrants each and cost nearly $37 million. There are spaces to eat, take a shower, and sleep on vinyl covered pads, said Roger Maier with CBP. On a media tour of the El Paso site, he said the plan is to use these facilities for families and unaccompanied minors.

We’ve been over capacity for weeks, months at our existing facilities, which weren’t designed for families and children,” Maier said. “They were designed for single males in and out within two, three four hours.”

Maier said the goal is to process migrants within three days, before handing them over to another agency or nonprofit, or directly releasing them.

The towering, 7-foot-3-inch actor who played the beloved “Star Wars” character, Chewbacca, has died. Peter Mayhew, who was born in London, passed away at his North Texas home Tuesday at the age of 74. His family released a statement Thursday. 

In a 2013 interview, Mayhew said the beloved wookie was like a teddy bear.

“I bet everybody here had a security of blanket of some sort during their childhood therefore this character represents the guy next door, the person who looked after you in the group,” Mayhew said.

Mayhew is survived by his wife Angie and their three children.