The Coerced Abortion Prevention Act, HB 1648 and SB 831, addresses the rampant problem of women being pressured and coerced into abortion against their wishes.
Coerced abortion has become a greater problem in Texas with the expansion of sex trafficking in the Lone Star State. Sex trafficking victims report being forced to undergo forced abortions not only to conceal sex crimes, but also to ensure their continued work as sex slaves.
More than half of post-abortive women report that the decision to abort their preborn child was not made of their own free will. In fact, studies indicate that upwards of 60% of mothers felt forced to abort. The Coerced Abortion Prevention Act will address the problem from all angles. First, the bill criminalizes the act of any person (including spouses, partners, employers, etc.) to coerce a woman into an abortion. The Texas Penal Code will be amended to include abortion coercion as a Class A misdemeanor.
Secondly, the bill requires abortion mills to display signage about coerced abortion, informing women who feel coerced that they can take time to call assistance hotlines and abuse shelters before agreeing to the abortion. Signage will also announce that abortion coercion is against the law, to encourage victimized women to communicate their plight to staff at the office of the abortionist.
The bill also requires law enforcement to respond and investigate the reported coercion, and, when the mother is a minor, the involvement of Child Protective Services.
The House bill was filed by Representative Molly White (R-Belton), a longtime Pro-Life advocate and founder of the Pro-Life organization Women for Life. Senate Bill 831 has been filed by Senator Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), who achieved a Pro-Life score of 96% in 2013 and 115% in 2011, when she served in the State House of Representatives.