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Governor Greg Abbott has signed into law HB 16, known as the Texas Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, which ensures legal protection for infants born alive in attempted abortions. The law will go into effect September 1, 2019.
The legislation states, “The physician must exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious physician would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.” HB 16 also requires a physician to ensure that the infant be immediately transferred and admitted to a hospital.
Anyone who violates the law by withholding the appropriate medical treatment will be charged with a third-degree felony and must pay a fine of at least $100,000.
Hearings for this bill were delayed earlier this year when four female Democrat lawmakers refused to attend on the day of testimonies from abortion survivors Gianna Jessen and Claire Culwell.
While there is a federal law, the 2002 Born Alive Infants Protection Act, it does not impose any penalties for abortionists who fail to comply with the law. It also does not mandate life-saving treatment for abortion survivors, including neonatal resuscitation or immediate transportation to the nearest hospital.
Earlier this year, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act fell short of the 60 votes needed to move forward in the Senate, with 53 senators voting in favor and 44 against. The legislation would have required health care providers to first “exercise the same degree of care as reasonably provided to any other child born alive at the same gestational age,” and to transport the child to the hospital. Violation of the law would result in penalties of a criminal fine, up to five years in prison, or both. Individuals who specifically prevent the survival of an abortion survivor could be prosecuted for murder. The bill would also require the mandatory reporting of violations.
“I applaud Texas legislators for protecting the lives of precious babies that have survived an abortion and are fighting for life,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “If this protection is not implemented, the abortion provider simply backs away from the table and leaves the baby to suffer and die. We must continue the fight to making the womb a safe place once again in America,” said Staver.