State Representative Jeff Leach (R-Plano) is a pro-life champion. During his eight years in the Texas Legislature, Rep. Leach earned an outstanding 100% pro-life voting record. What an honor it is to have representatives in the State of Texas like Rep. Leach who refuse to stay silent on the life issue. Texas Alliance for Life is grateful for his strong stand to protect unborn babies in the state of Texas.
As chair of the House Judicial and Civil Jurisprudence Committee, Rep. Leach conducted hearings on several pro-life bills including HB 2350, the Trigger Ban on Abortion, and HB 4199, the Ban on Wrongful Birth Lawsuits, and HB 16, the Born-Alive Infant Protect Act, top priorities for Texas Alliance for Life this past session.
Additionally, during his time in the Texas Legislature Rep. Leach authored or supported these pro-life policies that are saving lives today:
- HB 1 — Doubled funding for the highly successful Alternatives to Abortion program to $80 million for the biennium and excluded Planned Parenthood from women’s health programs.
- HB 16 – Authored this bill that protects babies who survive an abortion by creating criminal and civil penalties for a physician who fails to attempt to save the life of the baby.
- SB 22 — Bans contracts between cities, counties, hospitals, and school districts and abortion providers or their affiliates. Caused Planned Parenthood to lose $1 million in Travis County alone.
- SB 24 — Requires doctors to “hand” the state’s “A Woman’s Right to Know” brochures to women before consenting to an abortion. Requires that any phone consultation between the patient and physician be in private, not a conference call with multiple clients.
- SB 1 – Increased funding for the state’s Alternatives to Abortion program to $40 million for the biennium and excluded Planned Parenthood from women’s health programs.
- SB 8 – Shut down Planned Parenthood’s trafficking of baby body parts. Banned partial-birth abortions and dismemberment abortions. Banned the sale and donation of organs and tissues after elective abortion. Banned research and tissues and organs of victims of elective abortions. Required humane disposition of the bodies of babies who die from abortion and miscarriage.
- HB 3859 – Created conscience protection for foster care providers to prevent mandatory referrals for abortion.
- HB 785 — Requires physicians involved in IVF to provide information regarding the option of donation of unused human embryos.
- SB 1107 — Banned drug-induced abortions by telemedicine.
- HB 13 – Increased reporting of complications from abortion.
- HB 214 – Removes abortion coverage from health insurance plans.
- HB 215 – Increased reporting for abortions on minor girls.
- HB 1 – Increased funding for the state’s Alternatives to Abortion program to $18 million per biennium and excluded Planned Parenthood from women’s health programs.
- HB 3374 —Created educational materials for parents of unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome without referrals for abortion.
- HB 416 — Require abortion facility workers and volunteers to undergo training to recognize and assist victims of human sex trafficking.
- HB 3994 – Protected minor girls from abortion doctors by removing loopholes in the judicial bypass process.
- SB 1 – Allocated $10.3 million for the state’s Alternatives to Abortion program and defunded Planned Parenthood from women’s health programs.
- HB 2 — Banned abortions after 20 weeks and increased abortion facility safety standards.
- SB 67 — Required institutes of higher education to report human stem cell research.
Born-Alive Infant Protection Act
One of Rep. Leach’s latest pro-life accomplishments, HB 16, the Texas Born-Alive Infant Protection Act (mentioned above under 2019), passed by overcoming enormous opposition on the House floor. It is the first of its kind in any state so far this year to become law in the United States. At the Congressional level, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act has been stalled for years. We are proud that Rep. Leach paved the way for Texas to lead in this endeavor to protect not only the lives of the unborn but also the lives of abortion survivors.
At a news conference for HB 16, Rep. Leach, joined by a strong coalition of lawmakers from both the Texas House and Senate, stated,
The collective conscience of our Nation has been shocked in recent weeks as we have witnessed elected policymakers advocate for and support measures that equate to legalized infanticide. Texans, however, reject this callous disregard for human life, and we cannot and will not remain silent. With the filing of the Texas Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, the Texas Legislature will draw a line in the sand, proclaiming clearly and loudly, on behalf of the Texans we represent, that a baby who survives an abortion deserves the full protection of the law and the highest standards of medical care.
Strong for the Babies
Nevertheless, Rep. Leach drew criticism from some. One particular group advocating for a bill to “abolish abortion,” resorted to bullying Rep. Leach for his lack of support for an ineffective policy idea: HB 896, which would not have saved any babies’ lives.
This bill sought to ban abortions throughout pregnancy, including on non-viable babies. While this is the goal of the pro-life movement the Supreme Court has made clear that it does not permit pre-viable abortion bans at this time. (Even Justice Clarence Thomas voted in June with the other eight justices of the Supreme Court to not consider a lower court’s decision to strike down Alabama’s ban on “dismemberment” abortions.) Without a doubt, HB 896 would not have survived a federal court challenge and would have resulted in more bad precedent strengthening, not weakening, Roe v. Wade.
HB 896 had even more problems. It would have required the Texas Attorney General to ignore the Supreme Court, which is not possible. It sought to criminalize abortion for women on whom an abortion is performed when women have never been prosecuted in Texas or in any other state prior to Roe v. Wade. Lastly, it would result in substantial attorneys’ fees – in the thousands or millions of dollars — the State of Texas would be required to pay to the plaintiffs. That would strengthen the abortion industry and the organizations that represent them in court, such as the ACLU and the Center for Reproductive Rights.
The stark reality is that, if passed, HB 896 would have seriously set back, rather than advanced, protections for unborn children.
Rep. Leach refused to be swayed by a sustained social media campaign of false accusations and even numerous protestors at his church. He did not advance this harmful bill out of his committee.
We are grateful to Rep. Jeff Leach for supporting strategic pro-life policies that provide loving alternatives to abortion to women in crisis pregnancies, rather than jail cells, and actually save as many unborn children’s lives as possible.