On Friday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed HB 16 into law, codifying legal protection for infants born alive in botched abortions. HB 16, the Texas Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, will go into effect September 1, 2019.
Hearings for the bill were delayed earlier this year when four female Democrat lawmakers refused to attend on the day of testimony from abortion survivors Gianna Jessen and Claire Culwell.
The law establishes a relationship between a child born alive in an attempted abortion and the abortionist who attempted the abortion, stating, “The physician must exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious physician would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.” Anyone who violates the law by withholding appropriate life-saving care can face felony charges in addition to a civil penalty.
Similar legislation protecting babies born alive in attempted abortions was vetoed by the governor of North Carolina earlier this month. While there is a federal law, the 2002 Born Alive Infants Protection Act, the legislation does not enforce any penalties for abortionists who fail to comply with the law, and the 2002 measure does not mandate life-saving treatment for abortion survivors. Despite the clear lack of any penalties or requirement in the federal law, pro-abortion politicians continue to insist that no further protections are needed for abortion survivors. The U.S. House of Representatives has refused dozens of times to bring a similar bill to the floor for a vote this legislative session.
As Live Action has previously reported, babies are still being born alive in attempted abortions, according to the Centers for Disease Control, which reports that at least 143 babies died after being born alive during abortions between 2003 and 2014. The true figure, they say, is likely even higher.
In a press release from the advocacy group Texas Values Action, Senior Policy Analyst Nicole Hudgens said, “With the signing of this law, Texas has drawn a line in the sand against the barbaric infanticide policies of other states. Every life is precious and deserves to be protected. We thank Gov. Abbott for signing this common-sense bill into law and for the hard work of Rep. Leach and Sen. Kolkhorst for their leadership on this issue.”
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