Today, the Texas Senate passed Senate Bill 415, the Dismemberment Abortion Ban, on second reading. The bill was preliminarily approved by the Senate on a bipartisan 22-9 vote. In addition to every Republican of the Senate supporting the measure, two Democrats – Senators Eddie Lucio Jr. (D-Brownsville) and Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) – voted for the life-saving measure.
Senate Bill 415 and House Bill 844, the Dismemberment Abortion Ban, outlaw the barbaric and inhumane procedure that ends the life of a living, conscious preborn child by tearing her limb from limb. The goal of this violent procedure, like other abortion procedures, is to deliberately end human life. This is distinct from medical procedures to save the life of the mother in rare severe medical emergencies. The Dismemberment Abortion Ban is Texas Right to Life’s Priority Pro-Life Legislation for the 2017 Legislative Session.
Today’s reading on the Senate floor comes after the Senate Health and Human Services Committee hearing on February 15. Senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) authored SB 415, and during the Senate HHS Committee hearing he called the procedure “heinous, torturous, and inhumane.” Witnesses at the hearing, including legal scholar Mary Spaulding Balch, defended the constitutionality of the Dismemberment Abortion Ban, which has passed in seven other states.
In addition to the vocal support of 17 Pro-Life groups, the Dismemberment Abortion Ban has also gained tremendous grassroots support over the past year. At the Convention of the Republican Party of Texas, 95% of voting delegates supported the Dismemberment Abortion Ban.
The Dismemberment Abortion Ban also received the most votes of any Pro-Life policy recommendation in the 2016 Republican Party Platform. To date, 2,610 Texans have signed Texas Right to Life’s petition or sent a message to their legislators supporting the Dismemberment Abortion Ban.
Since the summer of 2015, Pro-Life Texans have made their voices heard in support of the Dismemberment Abortion Ban. Failing to pass this legislation will result in the violent deaths of thousands of preborn children before the next meeting of the Texas Legislature.
The Senate is expected to favorably consider SB 415 on final passage Monday, March 20. Texas Right to Life hopes that the Senate’s approval of SB 415 will lead to the quick and favorable consideration of the bill by the House of Representatives, which has yet to have a hearing on the measure. Texas Right to Life will continue to encourage the House to pass this important legislative step in undermining the legal framework of Roe v. Wade. After the Texas Legislature successfully passed the Preborn Pain Act in 2013, which prohibits elective abortions after 20 weeks post-fertilization (a law that has not been struck down by a court, nor even challenged despite claims that the legislation was unconstitutional), the next logical step in the Pro-Life legal strategy is the Dismemberment Abortion Ban. Both measures further solidify the state’s interest in protecting fetal Life, reveal the humanity of the preborn child, and outlaw practices that are abhorrent and barbaric and have no place in Texas.