The Texas Legislature considered four Pro-Life Priority Bills in committee on Wednesday, April 7. Chairwoman Lois Kolkhorst led the Texas Senate Committee on Health and Human Services in hearing the Respecting Texas Patients’ Right to Life Act (SB 917) by Senator Bryan Hughes (R-Tyler), which would repeal the deadly 10-Day Rule. At the same time, Chairwoman Stephanie Klick’s House Committee on Public Health considered the Texas Heartbeat Act (HB 1515) by Representative Shelby Slawson (R-Stephenville), the Preborn NonDiscrimination Act (HB 3218) by Representative Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler), and the Texas Abolition Strategy (HB 3760) by Representative Tom Oliverson, M.D (R-Cypress). If passed, these Pro-Life Priority Bills will restore Texas among the top Pro-Life states in America, up from our current, shameful rank as the 20th Pro-Life state.
Dozens of families pleaded with each committee to end abortion and euthanasia in the hearings.
Huyen Huynh recounted her experience fighting the 10-Day Rule to save her mother. Under current law, hospital committees can pull the plug on patients against their will, placing a countdown on their lives. In 2020, Huyen’s mother, Lucy, faced this exact threat. Thankfully, because of Texas Right to Life’s patient advocacy team, the hospital committee did not impose the countdown on her mother, doctors treated her condition instead of hastening her death, and Lucy spent several more months with her family. Still, Huyen stated in her testimony to senators that she would not wish this trial on her worst enemy. SB 917 would eliminate the countdown placed on patients’ lives.
Adrienne Trigg spoke in support of the Preborn NonDiscrimination Act (HB 3218). PreNDA would prohibit abortions committed for discriminatory reasons such as the preborn child’s race, gender, or disability. Adrienne described her heartbreaking journey in which she lost her son due to a life-limiting diagnosis. She expressed sympathy for mothers who were pressured to abort in similar situations, advocating for PreNDA that would offer them life-affirming services and hope for those who face such a diagnosis in the future. Adrienne now devotes her time to defending children with disabilities through her service with Protect TX Fragile Kids.
Registered sonographer Alexandra Rafferty testified in support of the Texas Heartbeat Act (HB 1515), which would prohibit abortions after the child’s heartbeat is detectable. Every day, Alexandra aids mothers in seeing their beautiful children before they are born. As she shared her experience with the committee, Alexandra placed her phone by the microphone and played a recording of a six-week-old baby’s heartbeat and a recording of a preborn baby who is over 20 weeks old. Alexandra asked the representatives, “When you hear these heartbeats, can you tell the difference? Why is one of these heartbeats protected while the other is not?”
Rick Smith, better known as “Noah’s Dad,” urged the House Public Health Committee to pass the Texas Abolition Strategy (HB 3760). When doctors told the Smiths that their preborn son, Noah, would have Down syndrome, they were immediately met with negativity and little to no support. The Smiths knew, however, that Noah’s life was a blessing. Now, holding his 10-year-old son’s hand beside him in the Capitol, Rick shared, “This little boy right here is one of the best gifts of our life. And I wouldn’t change a single chromosome on him. If I had a time machine and could go back, I would do it all over again.” The Texas Abolition Strategy is a Pro-Life omnibus bill that combines the Preborn NonDiscrimination Act and Heartbeat Act to ultimately abolish abortion in Texas within four years.
Pro-Life advocates testified until almost midnight, highlighting the urgent need for the Pro-Life Priorities to be passed by the Texas Legislature. All the while, committee members in both chambers encouraged witnesses with grace and appreciation. We thank Senator Hughes, Representatives Slawson, Schaefer, and Oliverson for carrying these life-saving bills and applaud Chairs Kolkhorst and Klick for their leadership during the hearings.
The next step is for the committees to vote on the bills, then they will head toward the House and Senate floors, respectively. Next Wednesday, April 14, the House Committee on Public Health will hear two additional Pro-Life Priority Bills: the Respecting Texas Patients’ Right to Life Act (HB 2609) and Conscience Protections for Health Care Professionals (HB 1424).