Life! in the 88th Legislature of the State of Texas
Roe v. Wade has fallen, and Texas’ Human Life Protection Act is in full force and effect, banning abortion in the state. “So, what’s left to do in the legislature?” you ask. There’s more to do than you might think.
Most of the pro-life bills filed in the 88th Legislature deal with expanding and improving the Alternatives to Abortion Fund, protecting pregnant and parenting college students, reining in rogue district attorneys, who refuse to prosecute whole sections of law (five DAs have publicly pledged they will not prosecute violations of abortion laws) and bills to improve prenatal care.
There are also bills aimed at penalizing companies who pay for employees’ abortions and logistical support, such as travel, as well as bills to prevent government entities from funding logistical support for women seeking abortions out of state and prevent funding for abortion training of resident physicians or nurses.
Good bills on the move this session:
HB 17 by Rep. David Cook (R-Mansfield) & SB 20 by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) seek to rein in rogue District & County Attorneys, who have stated policies refusing to prosecute or enforce duly enacted state laws, including enforcement of the Human Life Protection Act, also known as the state’s Trigger Ban. The very low bill numbers of these bills indicate they have been given priority by the presiding officer of each chamber.
SB 20 has passed the Senate and HB 17 was voted out of committee on 4/4
SB 24 by Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) & HB 4049 by Rep. James Frank (R-Wichita Falls) will rename the Alternatives to Abortion (A2A) program, add some outcome monitoring, and along with those reforms, move the Prevention and Early Intervention programs from the regulatory agency Department of Family & Protective Services over to Health & Human Services (where the A2A program is), to better integrate care for families needing support beyond the 3-year window A2A addresses. Expect the Legislature to increase the A2A fund substantially to provide for the anticipated rise in births.
SB 24 has passed the Senate and is in the House as of 3/28
HB 1599 by Rep. John Bucy (D-Austin) would provide an express lane, of sorts, for pregnant moms applying for Medicaid. This is very important, because when we toured pregnancy centers last year, we learned early prenatal care was not happening, and there were barriers contributing to that. You may recall the state has been especially focused on postpartum outcomes after Texas reported poor numbers in that regard, especially with respect to African American women. Early prenatal care will impact those numbers, too.
HB 1599 has passed in the House and is over in the Senate
SB 412 has passed out of committee and has been placed on the Senate Intent Calendar; HB 1474 passed out of committee on 4/4
SB 2378 by Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) and HB 5249 by Rep. Stephanie Klick (R-Ft. Worth) seek to prevent public entities (state, cities, schools, etc.) from providing any “taxpayer resource transaction” to assist women in procuring abortion. The bill would also ban any public entity in the state from training staff or students (resident doctors) on abortion. The bill allows the Attorney General to enforce the statute, as well as provides a civil enforcement provision.
Both bills have been referred to State Affairs in each chamber and are awaiting hearings
There are also bills to establish a child support obligation of fathers from the beginning of pregnancy, and of course, we have identified close to two dozen bills that seek to undo all the pro-life gains we have made in the Texas legislature. Rest assured, Texans for Life is watching to be certain these bills neither move nor pass. Rest assured in a post-Roe world Texas continues to lead the way in caring for moms and babies!