House hearings on abortion bills to conclude Thursday
By The Star Staff
After seven public hearings and the testimonies of some 30 organizations, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Orlando Aponte Rosario said that on Thursday he will end public hearings on bills that would limit abortion rights.
He said in a radio interview that he was going to meet with the Popular Democratic Party caucus in the House of Representatives caucus later on Tuesday to discuss the controversial topic.
“And there I am going to ask for space [to inform] the delegation what has been happening in recent months concerning this issue and to decide which of the bills we will approve and if they will receive amendments,” he said.
Lawmakers will decide the fates of five bills. The first is Senate Bill 693, which would restrict the time limit for a pregnant woman to have an abortion to 22 weeks. The second is House Bill 1084, which would create the Heartbeat Law of the Unborn in Puerto Rico, and the third is House Bill 1715 to amend the Penal Code so that the murder of a pregnant woman is classified as a double murder.
The fourth is House Bill 1410, which calls for a referendum on a constitutional amendment recognizing the fetus’s right to life, and the fifth is House Bill 1403, which creates the Law for the Protection of the Reproductive Rights of Women and Pregnant People.
Aponte Rosario said that before going to the House’s plenary session so all legislators can vote, the committee he chairs must hold a public hearing for final consideration, or “mark-up session,” for each of the five bills. The committee will then file a report recommending a vote on the bills in the House.
For those purposes, the legislator noted that he does not have a date for the mark-up sessions since he needs to meet with the caucus, apart from the fact that he will have to discuss it with the members of his committee. However, he warned that Nov. 10 is the last day to approve measures, while the regular session must end on Nov. 15.