Today, Senator Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) and Representative Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler) filed the Disabled Preborn Justice Act in the Texas Senate and House, respectively. Senate Bill 1427 and House Bill 1971 would ban the practice of discriminatory abortions in Texas, protecting babies from abortions due to disability, ethnicity, or gender. Under current law, most babies are protected from abortion after 20 weeks gestation, the stage of development at which they undeniably feel pain. However, babies who may have a disability can be killed in an abortion through all nine months of development in the womb.
Babies who may have a severe genetic abnormality or congenital condition still feel the pain of the violent abortion procedure that results in their death. No matter what disability a child may have, he or she is still an innocent human being. The deadly discrimination in Texas law denies these children the Right to Life and the opportunity to overcome their disability. The anti-Life exemptions in the law also ignore the possibility of misdiagnoses. A 2014 report by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting found alarming misuse of unregulated prenatal screening that results in misdiagnoses and discriminatory abortions.
Even when the disability is fatal, abortion is not the solution. Life-affirming options exist, primarily through perinatal hospice. The growing network of perinatal hospices provide care for children with terminal conditions and support for grieving families. The Disabled Preborn Justice Act requires that women receiving a diagnosis of a fetal abnormality or disability receive information about perinatal hospice resources available to them.
The Disabled Preborn Justice Act would also ban the practice of sex selective abortion and outlaw force or threats of force for anyone, including physicians, attempting to coerce a woman to undergo an abortion due to her preborn child’s ethnicity, sex, or disability.
Texas Right to Life Director Elizabeth Graham praised the legislation stating, “Current provisions singling out disabled preborn children for death are not only embarrassing for the state but morally unconscionable. Our Pro-Life protections should be extended to all children in the womb, and we are grateful that Senator Hancock and Representative Schaefer stand with Texas Right to Life to close this loophole.”