Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law Friday to provide stronger protections to infants who survive abortions.
“Children who survive an abortion should be, and now will be, protected and given lifesaving care in Texas,” Texas Values Action wrote on Twitter in celebration of the news.
Texas House Bill 16, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Jeff Leach, requires abortion practitioners to provide basic medical care to infants who survive abortions. It allows third-degree felony charges and a fine of up to $100,000 for violations.
“We’re drawing a line in the sand,” Leach said, according to the Texas Tribune. “We’re proclaiming clearly and loudly together that a baby who survives an abortion deserves the full protection of the law and the highest standard of medical care.”
The legislation passed the state Senate by 21-10 in May with bipartisan support, and the state House by 93-1 with 50 abstentions in April.
Pro-abortion Democrats slammed the bill as a waste of time, and delayed a hearing where several abortion survivors were scheduled to speak.
“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,” said state Rep. Donna Howard on the House floor in April. “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.”
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Abortion groups, including Planned Parenthood, also lobbied against the bill.
“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 given their testimonies in government hearings across the country this year, including in Texas.
More than a dozen states do not have laws requiring medical care for babies born alive after botched abortions, according to research by Americans United for Life. This year, Kentucky, Montana, North Carolina and Wisconsin lawmakers also advanced legislation to protect newborns from infanticide, but Democrat governors in Montana and North Carolina vetoed the bills and Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers has threatened to veto the bill in his state.
The 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 Illinois and New York recently repealed their laws requiring medical care for infants who survive abortions.