AUSTIN, Texas — A bill that creates penalties for doctors and practitioners who don’t treat infants who survive an attempted abortion has passed the Texas Senate.
SB 23 passed the Republican-controlled Senate on Tuesday with a vote of 21-10, meaning two Democrat votes for it. It will now head to the Texas House.
The bill is similar to a measure that recently came before the U.S. Senate, where it failed.
Under the bill, doctors would face a fine and up to 10 years in prison. Opponents argue attempted abortion births are rare and measures to protect newborns are already in place.
“Republican extremists are endangering Texans’ public health through unnecessary and inaccurate legislation,” said Sam Robles, advocacy director of Progress Texas.
“Texans need lawmakers that trust, respect, and grant access to affordable reproductive care, instead of pursuing the interests of an anti-abortion extremist minority.”
During the debate on the Senate floor, author of the bill Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) acknowledged these instances are rare and there is already federal law requiring doctors and providers to provide care in these instances, but she said SB 23 increases the penalty for denying care and shows this is a priority for Texas.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said “Texans remain firmly committed to protecting life.”
“I commend Sen. Kolkhorst on the passage of Senate Bill 23, the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, which defends the lives of babies who survive an abortion,” he said.
“We have watched in horror as lawmakers in other states have put forth monstrous proposals that attack life and expand abortion, even for children that have been born.”
Last week the Texas Senate passed a bill banning cities and counties from giving abortion providers tax dollars.
PEOPLE ARE ALSO READING: