Austin, Texas—May 26, 2017: Today, the Texas Senate approved Senate Bill 8 as amended by the Texas House of Representatives, which includes the Dismemberment Abortion Ban Amendment. Senate Bill 8 prohibits partial-birth abortions and regulates the disposition of victims of abortion victims. Although well intentioned, Senate Bill 8 as originally filed did not extend protections to pregnant Texas women or to living, viable unborn children. When SB8 reached the floor of the Texas House of Representatives, Pro-Life House members joined the efforts of the House Freedom Caucus to amend SB 8 with life-saving amendments, most notably the Dismemberment Abortion Ban Amendment.
The Dismemberment Abortion Ban, originally filed as HB 844 by Representative Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth) and SB 415 by Senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock), would prohibit the gruesome and inhumane practice of dismemberment abortion in Texas. In a dismemberment abortion, the child is killed in utero by being torn limb from limb while his or her heart is still beating. At the Republican Party of Texas convention, the Dismemberment Abortion Ban received support from 95 percent of the voting delegates, making the proposal the most strongly supported Pro-Life policy plank in the 2016 Republican Party Platform. Additionally, 70 state representatives co-authored the House version of the bill, Attorney General Ken Paxton supported the legislation in Alabama, and the Dismemberment Abortion Ban received overwhelming grassroots support.
Under the leadership of Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and State Senator Charles Perry, the State Senate passed the Dismemberment Abortion Ban on March 20 by a bipartisan vote of 22-9. Unfortunately, HB844 died in the vicious political games of the leadership in the Texas House. Texas Right to Life worked with Representative Klick and Pro-Life representatives to craft the Dismemberment Abortion Ban Amendment, which was successfully added to Senate Bill 8 by a bipartisan vote of 92-42.
Jim Graham, president of Texas Right to Life, described the importance of the Dismemberment Abortion Ban:
Due to the leadership of Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, the Texas Senate, and the House Freedom Caucus, and Representative Klick, the passage of SB8 with the Dismemberment Abortion Ban marks a tremendous victory not only for the Pro-Life cause, but also for pregnant women and their unborn children. This legislation directly saves innocent human lives and holds the abortion industry accountable for a barbaric and inhumane procedure that should be banned everywhere.
Governor Abbott is expected to sign Senate Bill 8 into law.