DALLAS — Two Texas lawmakers have introduced bills in the state legislature that could impose a $100,000 civil fine on abortion providers if they don’t care for a baby that is born alive during an abortion procedure.
“The Texas legislature cannot and will not remain silent,” said state Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano. “The Texas legislature will draw a line in the sand proclaiming clearly and loudly by the Texans we represent that a baby who survives in abortion deserves the full protection of the law.”
Leach and state Senator Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, announced the Texas Born-Alive Infant Protection Act on Thursday morning flanked by two dozen other lawmakers.
“Any baby born alive in Texas is going to be respected as a human being and protected from harm under the law,” said Kolkhorst.
She said she will file the legislation tomorrow as Senate Bill 23. In the House, Leach said the Texas Born-Alive Infant Protection Act will be House Bill 16.
“This is common sense legislation. This legislation ensures that infanticide and that’s what it is has no place in Texas now or in the future,” Rep. Leach added.
The legislation lets the Texas Attorney General take legal action against an abortion provider who does not care for an infant born alive during an abortion.
“The woman who seeks the abortion is shielded from liability,” Leach added.
The Texas version is similar to a bill that failed in the U.S. Senate last week.
U.S. Senator Ben Sasse, R-Nebraska, introduced the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, but there weren’t enough votes to pass it last week.
“Where D.C. is unclear, we’re going to be very clear in Texas,” Kolkhorst said. “Where D.C. is divided, we’re going to be very united.”
But opponents say babies born in those rare instances are already considered legal persons, after President George W. Bush signed a bill into law in 2002.
The Texas Born-Alive Infant Protection Act is one of a dozen abortion-related bills under consideration right now in Texas.
Dr. Leana Wen, the new national president of Planned Parenthood, said the flurry of state legislation is part of a wider strategy by Republicans – to create a legal challenge for the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe versus Wade.
“In 2019 alone, there have been over 200 laws that have been introduced in state legislatures around the country that could prompt a challenge to Roe,” Dr. Wen told WFAA this week.
The landmark Roe vs. Wade decision is in jeopardy, she added, after President Trump has named two new justices giving the U.S. Supreme Court a conservative majority.