The Texas Senate gave a green light on Monday to a bill promoting a “culture of life” in the state that mandates doctors performing abortions to treat babies who are born alive during the procedure.
While it remains especially rare for infants to survive the abortion procedure, Republicans legislators say that in the event of such occasion, doctors must do everything to save the life of the infant.
“If it's one life, one life out of a million, it's worth saving,” said state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, the Austin American-Statesman quoted as saying.
“If it's one life, one life out of a million, it's worth saving.”
— State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst
The bill states that doctors must “render aid, to do all they can to save that child” following the abortion, she added.
The bill also imposes penalties for those doctors who oppose treating the infant abortion survivors, including a third-degree felony and a prison sentence of two to 10 years.
The Texas attorney general could also sue such doctors and collect a civil penalty of “not less than $100,000,” the newspaper reported.
Some Democrats came out against the measure, saying the law isn’t needed because Texas already has strict abortion laws and doesn’t allow abortion past 20 weeks. A fetus up to 20 weeks old won’t be able to survive outside the womb, state Sen. Nathan Johnson said.
“Is this about protecting life, or is this about persecuting the physician, or harassing the physician, or intimidating the physician?” Johnson was quoted as saying.
“Is this about protecting life, or is this about persecuting the physician, or harassing the physician, or intimidating the physician?”
— Democratic state Sen. Nathan Johnson
“I don't see this bill as truly being aimed at a real problem, at a real threat,” he added. “What I see it aimed at is physicians who want to practice their own profession consistent with their own beliefs and the constitutional rights of their patients.”
The state Senate gave initial approval of the bill based on party lines, except for one Democrat who voted in favor of the measure.
The bill is still facing a vote in the Senate this week and, if approved, will be then sent to the state House for further approval.