Texas House Approves Born-Alive Bill With Extra Bells And Whistles

Grace Carr | Reporter

The Texas House approved a bill Wednesday protecting infants who survive abortion and giving parents the right to sue physicians who violate the law, among other provisions.

House Bill 16 mandates that physicians must “exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the [survived] child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious physician would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age,” according to the text.

Under the bill, “the child’s parent or legal guardian, may bring a civil action against a physician who performed or attempted the abortion if the physician violates [the law].” The measure also requires abortion doctors to immediately transport and admit the baby to a hospital, according to The Texas Tribune.

Doctors who violate the law would be charged with a third-degree felony and face up to $100,000 in fines.

Republican state Rep. Jeff Leach authored the bill. “Where other states are passing legislations protecting abortionists … and where Washington, D.C., can’t even bring the bill up for a vote, Texas will act,” Leach said during a hearing on the bill.

“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,” Democratic state Rep. Harold V. Dutton Jr. said Tuesday criticizing the measure, according to The Texas Tribune. He also called it a “malicious and purely political attacks against women and doctors.”

Chamber members haven’t decided if they will move forward with HB 16 or a similar bill, Senate Bill 23. SB 23 posits that physicians must provide care for infants who survive abortion, but it does not include the special provisions spelled out in HB 16. (RELATED: House Democrats Nix Born Alive Bill For A 20th Time)

A pro-choice activist holds a Planned Parenthood sign while awaiting the Supreme Court’s ruling on abortion access in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on June 27, 2016. Shutterstock/Rena Schild

The North Carolina legislature also passed the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act” this week, mandating physicians provide care to babies who survive abortion.

A number of other states have passed born-alive and fetal heartbeat bills. Arkansas, North Dakota, Iowa, Mississippi and Kentucky have proposed bills or enacted laws outlawing abortion in the presence of a fetal heartbeat. Many of the abortion bans, however, have remained ineffective following court orders prohibiting enforcement, Cleveland.com reported.

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