Texas Democrats Boycott Hearing on Bill to Stop Infanticide, Care for Babies Born Alive After Abortion

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Mar 25, 2019   |   4:15PM   |   Austin, TX

Pro-abortion Democrats held up a Texas bill to protect newborns from infanticide Monday, claiming it is a waste of time.

The lawmakers refused to attend a Texas House committee hearing on the bill, forcing Republicans to delay the meeting, including testimonies of three abortion survivors who traveled there to speak, the Dallas News reports.

The hearing could not go on because of an absence of a quorum; five of the nine members were absent, including Democrat Reps. Jessica Farrar, Yvonne Davis, Julie Johnson and Victoria Neave. Republican Rep. Morgan Meyer also was absent due to a flight delay, according to the Texas Tribune.

Up for debate was House Bill 16, which would require abortionists to provide basic medical care to infants who survive abortions. It would allow the child or parent to bring civil action against a physician who fails to do so. State Rep. Jeff Leach is the lead sponsor.

The four pro-abortion Democrat committee members said they skipped the hearing on purpose.

“While some members of the Texas Legislature insist on attacking as well as offending women directly and indirectly, we will not join this charade by participating in this political grandstanding on issues which are already codified in Texas and federal law,” they said in a statement afterward.

They described the anti-infanticide bill as a waste of time and an attack on women’s “access to healthcare.”

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Pro-life Republican lawmakers expressed frustration at the Democrats’ decision, and Leach personally apologized to the witnesses who traveled there to testify before the committee, some from as far as Tennessee, according to the report. They included abortion survivors Gianna Jessen, Claire Culwell and Carrie Fischer.

Texas Alliance for Life noted that Jessen, Culwell and Fischer waited 1 ½ hours to share their testimonies while “the Democrats refused to show up.”

Rather than accept responsibility for the hearing delay, one of the Democrat committee members, Farrar, blamed Republican Rep. Meyer in a comment to the Tribune.

“Really, their fifth vote wasn’t there,” she said. “That’s the real story — why wasn’t he there?”

Meyer reportedly was absent due to a flight delay caused by bad weather.

The Republican-backed bill is similar to legislation that pro-abortion Democrats blocked in the U.S. Senate in February. The Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would have required abortionists to provide the same level of medical care to an infant who survives an abortion as a doctor would to any other baby at the same stage of life.

Currently, 19 states do not have laws requiring medical care for babies born alive after botched abortions, according to research by Americans United for Life. However, Kentucky lawmakers are considering legislation similar to the Texas bill this spring.

Some states never passed laws prohibiting infanticide for babies who survive abortions, while at least one other, New York, recently repealed its law requiring basic care for infants who survive abortions.

Reports by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicate that there are infants born alive after botched abortions in the U.S. According to Congressional testimony:

Data that the CDC collects also confirms babies are born alive after attempted abortions.  Between the years 2003 and 2014 there were somewhere between 376 and 588 infant deaths under the medical code P96.4 which keeps track of babies born alive after a “termination of pregnancy.”

The CDC concluded that of the 588 babies, 143 were “definitively” born alive after an attempted abortion and they lived from minutes to one or more days, with 48% of the babies living between one to four hours.  It also admitted that it’s possible the number is an underestimate (B).

Data from other countries suggest the same. In 2018, for example, the Canadian Institute of Health Information reported 766 late-term, live-birth abortions over a five-year period. In Western Australia, at least 27 babies survived abortions between 1999 and 2016, according to the state’s health minister.

Several known abortion survivors, including Melissa Ohden, Josiah Presley, Jessen and Culwell have been giving news interviews and testimonies in government hearings across the country this year. Some of them recently appeared on Fox News to urge Congress to pass a law requiring abortionists to provide basic medical care to babies who are born alive in botched abortions.