May 18, 2015

May 18, 2015

Leah Brown

AUSTIN, TX — The Senate Health and Human Services Committee will consider two pro-life bills at its meeting at 8 a.m. today, both of which are strongly supported by Texas Alliance for Life. The two bills are HB 416, to require abortion facility workers to undergo training to identify and help women who may be victims of sex trafficking, and HB 3994 to reform the judicial bypass process under which judges can issue secret orders allowing physicians to perform abortions on minor girls, 17 years of age and younger, without notifying or obtaining the consent of a parent.

Last Thursday, the House gave its final approval to HB 3994 authored by Rep. Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria), to reform the judicial bypass process in Texas law for abortions on minor girls. The House passed HB 3994 on a 93-46 vote. Rep. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth) authored an amendment that added several provisions to strengthen the bill. Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) is the Senate sponsor.

“We are extremely grateful to Rep. Morrison for authoring this important bill,” said Joe Pojman, Ph.D., Texas Alliance for Life’s executive director. “We also thank Rep. Krause for his floor amendment to improve the bill and better give parents the right to protect their minor daughters from abortion. We look forward to working with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, Sen. Charles Perry, and the pro-life majority in the Senate to make HB 3994 even better.”

HB 3994 tightens a number of loopholes in the judicial bypass process. For example, HB 3994 changes the provision in current law that allows a minor to have a judicial bypass hearing in virtually any court in Texas via teleconference, regardless of where she resides. Data from the Texas Department of State Health Services indicate that some counties experience a disproportionate number of bypass proceedings.

Rep. Krause’s amendment addresses several issues including venue, nonsuiting, and requirements that judges and abortion facility staff report abuse of the minor.

The House gave it final approval to HB 416, authored by Rep. Debbie Riddle (R-Spring) and sponsored by Sen Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels), on May 7 on a unanimous vote. The Senate Health and Human Services Committee has already approved the identical companion bill, so the committee is expected to approve HB 416 today, making it eligible to reach the Senate floor in a matter of days.

Both bills are on Texas Alliance for Life’s list of priority bills.

# # #