After the eruption of a national debate on protecting babies who survive abortion, the Texas Legislature is considering a strong state law to protect abortion survivors, the Texas Born-Alive Infant Protection Act. Key leaders in both chambers are pushing the bill on a fast track despite opposition from NARAL Pro-choice Texas, the League of Women’s Voters, and other pro-abortion organizations.

Introduced at a News Conference

Last week lawmakers from both chambers gathered for a news conference announcing the high priority bill. Jeff Leach (R-Plano) filed HB 16 in the House and Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) filed the companion SB 23 in the Senate. Stories quickly followed in major media outlets.

This bill requires appropriate medical treatment for infants born alive after an abortion.  Strong civil and criminal penalties would follow in the event the doctor failed to attempt to save the life of the baby. The mother would continue to be protected from any liabilities, in accordance with the current state law.

At the new conference – 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.”

Sen. Kolkhorst said on behalf of the bill:

“Texans stand united in protecting innocent life and that’s why I’m proud to file Senate Bill 23, the Texas Born-Alive Infant Protection Act. Any baby born in Texas is going to be respected as a human being. Where the U.S. Congress was unclear, we’re going to be very clear. Where Washington is divided, Texans are united.”

The Texas Born-Alive Infant Protection Act has the support of high-profile statewide officials, including U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, Attorney General Ken Paxton, Land Commissioner George P. Bush, and Comptroller Glenn Hegar.

Additionally, Austin resident and abortion survivor Claire Culwell shared her story at the news conference. She lived through the abortion that took the life of her twin brother and left her with physical wounds requiring corrective measures from the effects of the abortion on her own body. For those who question whether born-alive abortion survivors really exist, she had this to say, “Babies do survive abortions. We exist. We have names. We have faces. We have stories and I’m here because I want to share mine.”

To further drive the need to protect newborn babies home, Mia Garza McCord, president of the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute, shared the story of her own son, a preemie, born at 23 weeks, who received the appropriate medical care necessary to provide him a fighting chance at life. She said:

“Lawmakers are talking about making it legal to provide minimum care to a full-term baby while the physician and mother decide whether to euthanize the child. A child born alive after an attempted abortion deserves the same care and chance of life that my 1-pound son received when he was born.”

Committee Hearings

The Senate Health and Human Services Committee quickly passed SB 23 out of committee after a hearing this week. Texas Alliance for Life’s executive director Dr. Joe Pojman testified in support. He explained that the Legislature passed a bill to “recognized that a child born after an abortion has the same rights and privileges as any other child born alive.” However, that law has no penalties.

The House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee will consider HB 16 on March 25. Both are expected to reach the House and Senate floors within weeks.

Texas Alliance for Life fully supports the Texas Born-Alive Infant Protection Act. We are proud that our elected officials place a high priority on protecting the unborn and the newly born. We thank Sen. Kolkhorst and Rep. Leach for authoring the bill.