Texas House lawmakers gave their initial approval of a bill Tuesday to protect newborns who survive abortions from infanticide.
State House Bill 16 would penalize abortion doctors who fail to provide care to infants who are born alive after a failed abortion attempt. Anyone convicted of the crime could face hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and prison time.
KVUE News reports the Texas House bill is not exactly like the Senate version of the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which passed last week. Which bill will see final passage in both houses is uncertain.
State Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, the sponsor of House Bill 16, said his bill provides “the nation’s strongest protections” for newborns who survive abortions.
“Texas will continue to be on the front lines in the fight for life…today we’ll prove that to the nation once again,” Leach said prior to the vote.
The Texas Tribune reports the bill passed 93-1, but 50 additional legislators did not vote at the request of pro-abortion state Rep. Donna Howard.
Howard slammed the bill as a waste of time.
“The aim of HB 16 is clear: further stigmatize abortion, misinform the public, intimidate physicians, and interfere with a woman’s ability to seek medical care,” Howard said on the House floor. “To debate this bill … would legitimize its false information. We refuse to waste limited time we have here by entertaining malicious and purely political attacks against women and doctors.”
Her comments echoed those from the abortion giant Planned Parenthood, which also opposes the bill.
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“HB 16 is a blatantly false, inflammatory and dangerous bill being pushed by anti-choice organizations to further stigmatize abortion, intimidate physicians and, once again, interfere with a woman’s right to seek medical care,” said Dyana Limon-Mercado, interim executive director of Planned Parenthood Texas Votes.
But government data and the testimonies of people who have survived abortions refute abortion activists’ claims.
Reports by the Centers for Disease Control 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, Giana Jessen and Claire Culwell have been giving their testimonies in government hearings across the country this year, including in Texas.
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 and North Carolina lawmakers are considering similar legislation this spring.
All three state bills are similar to federal legislation that pro-abortion Democrats are blocking in the U.S. House and Senate. The Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act requires 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.
Some states never have passed laws to protect abortion survivors, while at least one other, New York, recently repealed its law requiring medical care for infants who survive abortions.