Texas Republican leaders are considering ways to make sure protections for unborn babies are being enforced as they begin the new legislative session this week.
In November, Texans elected even more pro-life Republicans to their state legislature, contradicting predictions that the state abortion ban would cause a blue wave in the southern state. Now, state lawmakers want to make sure its pro-life laws are indeed protecting unborn babies’ lives.
According to the Dallas Morning News, newly proposed legislation would take action against companies offering “abortion benefits” and prohibit local governments from helping pregnant mothers go out of state to abort their unborn babies.
State Rep. Briscoe Cain, R-Deer Park, a leader in pro-life legislative efforts, said he plans to introduce a bill to allow other authorities to prosecute abortionists for killing unborn babies if local district attorneys refuse to do so, the report states.
Meanwhile, state Reps. Candy Noble, R-Lucas, and Jared Patterson, R-Frisco, already have filed two other pro-life bills. Noble’s bill would prohibit local governments, such as the Austin City Council, from providing travel, lodging, childcare and other aid to women for the purpose of helping them travel out of state to abort their unborn babies. Patterson’s bill would ban tax subsidies to businesses that provide abortion travel benefits to employees, according to the report.
Texas already has laws that ban the killing of unborn babies in abortions. The state abortion ban and heartbeat law have saved tens of thousands of unborn babies’ lives.
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Abortionists who violate the abortion ban can face criminal charges with prison time and fines if they kill unborn babies. Additionally, the heartbeat law includes a private enforcement mechanism that allows individuals to sue abortionists and those who help them abort unborn babies with beating hearts. Both laws allow exceptions if the mother’s life is at risk, and both specifically exempt mothers from punishment.
“May 2023-24 bring the GOP new leadership PROUD to protect the unborn,” state House Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, wrote on Twitter earlier this month.
Phelan and others pointed to the November election results as evidence that voters support strong pro-life candidates.
Here’s more from the report:
Cypress Rep. Tom Oliverson, interim GOP House caucus chair, said the fact that Republicans maintained control of state government in the November elections, when Democrats made the state’s abortion ban a central line of attack, shows that voters feel they’re on the right track.
“I can tell you confidently from my community’s perspective,” he said, “that the overwhelming majority of them are very OK with the law as written.”
Texas Right to Life, the Texas Alliance for Life and other pro-life organizations are calling for legislation to ensure that unborn babies are being protected in the state.
“Simply because abortion is illegal in statute doesn’t mean it’s actually being followed everywhere in the state,” Texas Right to Life president John Seago told the news outlet. “We want to pass several bills that will address some of the new lawless trends that we have seen in the last 18 months.”
Pro-life leaders estimate that tens of thousands of babies have been saved from abortion since the Texas heartbeat law went into effect.
In September 2021, Texas became the first state in almost 50 years that the courts allowed to enforce a pre-viability abortion ban. Then, in June, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in a historic ruling and began allowing states to protect unborn babies from abortion again. Now, all elective abortions are banned in Texas.
New data from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission shows zero legal elective abortions and three medically necessary abortions legally performed to save the life of the mother in August 2022. In comparison, in August 2021, 5,706 unborn babies were aborted in Texas, according to state health data.
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