The Regular Session of the 87th Texas Legislature begins on Tuesday, January 12, 2021. Republicans debunked the myth of a “blue wave,” holding the majority in the Texas House and even building a stronger Pro-Life coalition. Additionally, a new speaker will lead the Texas House. But even with other important topics to consider like the pandemic and redistricting, Texas Right to Life is demanding big things from the 87th Session and will advocate for life-saving legislation protecting all Texans from fertilization to natural death. Below are the Pro-Life Priorities for the 87th Texas Legislature:
1. The Texas Abolition Strategy (TAS)
SB 1647 by Senator Charles Perry and HB 3760 by Representative Tom Oliverson
The Texas Abolition Strategy combines three major policies into one Pro-Life omnibus bill to end elective abortion in Texas:
- Preborn NonDiscrimination Act (PreNDA): abolish discriminatory abortions motivated by the sex, ethnicity, or disability of the child and the remaining late-term abortions.
- Heartbeat: abolish elective abortions after twelve weeks when the preborn child’s heartbeat is detectable by the most common methods.
- Abolition: abolish every remaining elective abortion in Texas.
Each of these policies is a key step in the overall strategy to ending abortion. Texas Right to Life fully supports each of these policies individually but believes packaging them within one bold bill with different effective dates is the best approach.
The Preborn NonDiscrimination Act and Texas Heartbeat Act are also filed as standalone bills:
- Preborn NonDiscrimination Act: SB 1173 by Senator Kelly Hancock and HB 3218 by Representative Matt Schaefer
- Texas Heartbeat Act: SB 8 by Senator Bryan Hughes and HB 1515 by Representative Shelby Slawson
2. Repeal Anti-Life “10-Day Rule” in the Texas Advance Directives Act
SB 917 by Senator Bryan Hughes and HB 2609 by Representative Tan Parker
This bill would reform the Texas Advance Directives Act by repealing the 10-Day Rule, which imposes a countdown on the lives of vulnerable Texas patients. Currently physicians and hospitals are authorized to deny patients basic life-sustaining medical treatment against the patient or surrogate’s expressed medical decision. Texas law imposes a 10-day countdown on patients after a hospital committee agrees with the physician’s decision to remove the life-sustaining treatment. When the 10-day countdown expires, the physician and hospital have complete criminal, civil, and administrative immunity to remove the life-sustaining treatment, thereby imposing death on the patient.
This Pro-Life bill repeals the 10-Day Rule so that patients will continue to receive life-sustaining treatment until the patient is transferred to a more appropriate care setting or to another physician who will honor the patient’s life and death medical decisions.
3. Conscience Protections for Health Care Professionals
SB 1674 By Senator Bob Hall and HB 1424 by Representative Tom Oliverson
This bill would enact clear protections for health care workers who object to training, procedures, or elective medical decisions that violate their consciences. The bill ensures that all medical professionals, no matter their positions or credentials, are not discriminated against or subject to adverse action because of their religious or other moral convictions. The policy also establishes in law how health care facilities should accommodate all medical professionals when a conscientious objection is raised to non-elective medical interventions, while safeguarding patient access to treatment and protecting against discrimination.
4. Protect the Life-Saving Alternatives to Abortion Program
This statewide program serves Texas women and families who choose Life in difficult circumstances by providing social support services to them during pregnancy and up to three years after the birth of their child. Nonprofit pregnancy centers, adoption agencies, and maternity homes are reimbursed for providing women with parenting classes, job placement assistance, job skills training, pregnancy options counseling, adoption assistance, childcare supplies, and other social services focused on helping parents achieve social and financial independence. This program is proven to be highly effective and must be protected, especially in the midst of the health and economic crises Texas is facing as a result of COVID-19.
In Texas, the Pro-Life movement has so many factors working in our favor – a Republican governor, Republican majorities in both chambers, a strong Circuit Court of Appeals and a Supreme Court of the United States that will allow Texas to protect Life. There is no excuse not to make 2021 a landmark year for preborn Texans by passing each Pro-Life Priority and saving lives.