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Texas Senate prioritizes defenseless preborn children with slate of pro-life bills

Texas, el paso

The state of Texas is prioritizing the pro-life agenda as seven pro-life bills have advanced to the full chamber of the Texas Senate.

The Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs voted early Wednesday morning to approve all seven pro-life legislative initiatives. The bills cleared the committee with support from all six committee Republicans and at least one of three Democrats for each. According to the Texas Tribune, the vast majority of residents who testified at the hearing were in favor of the bills and in some cases advocated for more stringent abortion restrictions.

Senate Bill 8, known as the “Texas Heartbeat Act,” requires a test for a preborn child’s heartbeat and outlaws committing abortions if a heartbeat is detected. The only exception is if the physician diagnoses a “medical emergency that prevents compliance.” The law defines a medical emergency as that which “places the woman in danger of death or a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function unless an abortion is performed.” In this case, the law requires the physician to provide written certification in the woman’s medical record with a description of the condition, and which must be kept on file. 

Senate Bill 9, the “Human Life Protection Act of 2021,” would ban most abortions in Texas if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. The only exceptions are for “life-threatening physical condition aggravated by, caused by, or arising from a pregnancy.” Physicians who violate the law would have their licenses revoked and be subject to further penalties.

Senate Bill 1173, titled the “Preborn Nondiscrimination Act,” bans abortion of preborn babies based on “the race, ethnicity, sex, or disability of the woman’s preborn child” to include situations of a “probability of diagnosis that the child has a disability.” The law would also ban third-trimester abortions altogether in the absence of a medical emergency. Any woman  “who receives a diagnosis of a life-threatening disability of the woman ’s preborn child” must be provided with information about perinatal palliative care and other support services.

READ: VICTORY: Judge rules Texas can remove Planned Parenthood from Medicaid

Senate Bill 802 requires a woman seeking abortions to be presented, at no cost, with resources and counseling by a licensed medical professional, social worker, or therapist referred to as a “care agent.” The care agent must provide medically accurate information about abortion; education about public and private assistance available to the family; and screening for coercion, neglect, family violence, human trafficking, and abuse.

Senate Bill 394 seeks to ensure greater safety for women obtaining the abortion pill by outlawing its distribution by “courier, delivery, or mail service,” and allows a physician to administer it only after an in-person examination and verification of pregnancy. The measure would also require physicians to rule out the presence of a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy. Additionally, the physician must also assess the woman’s gestational age, since after 49 days the abortion pill would be outlawed in Texas. This bill is likely in response to a pro-abortion push for “no-test abortions.”

Senate Bill 1647, called the “Texas Abolition Strategy” bill, is described as an omnibus provision that includes a heartbeat ban, preborn nondiscrimination measures, and the abolition of all other elective abortions by 2025.

Finally, Senate Bill 650 prevents any government entity in Texas from providing logistical support using taxpayer money to facilitate a woman’s procurement of an abortion, likely a response to Austin’s public funding of abortion support services. 

State Affairs Chairman Bryan Hughes admitted it is time Texas caught up with pro-life legislation in other states. “Ten other states have passed heartbeat bills, [and] we have to admit Texas is behind,” he said, according to the Austin Chronicle

Americans United for Life currently ranks Texas 20th on the list of 50 states with the most pro-life laws.

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