Texas House Passes Three Pro-Life Bills


May 14, 2015

Leah Brown

AUSTIN, TX — Today the Texas House has passed three substantial pro-life bills as the midnight deadline approaches for the House to give preliminary approval to its own bills. Three more pro-life bills are on the calendar for consideration. The legislative session ends on June 1.

The House gave its preliminary approval to HB 3374, by Rep. Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria), to require physicians to provide state-provided educational materials to parents of an unborn child newly diagnosed with Down syndrome. An amendment by Rep. Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) assures that the state materials do not advocate for abortion. The Landgraf amendment passed on a 96-38 vote, and the bill passed unanimously afterward.

The House also gave preliminary approval to HB 3074 by Rep. Drew Springer (R-Muenster) to give patients at the end of life the right to food and water if requested by the patient or the patient’s family. A large coalition of pro-life and disability rights organizations supported HB 3074. The vote was unanimous.

Third, the House gave its final approval to HB 3994 by Rep. Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria), a pro-life bill to reform the judicial bypass process in Texas law for abortions on minor girls. The House passed HB 3994 on 93-46 vote.

Under the judicial bypass process, judges can issue an order allowing physicians to perform secret abortions on minor girls, 17 years of age and younger, without notifying or obtaining the parent’s consent. HB 3994 strengthens parents’ rights to protect their minor daughters from abortion by tightening 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 indicates that some counties experience a disproportionate number of bypass proceedings.

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

“We are on track to have a sensational session,” said Joe Pojman, Ph.D., Texas Alliance for Life’s executive director. “We are extremely grateful to Speaker Joe Straus and his leadership team for the success of these pro-life bills in the House. We look forward to working with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and the Senate to pass these bills in that chamber.”

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