AUSTIN, Texas — On Tuesday, The Texas Senate passes Senate Bill 23 on its third and final reading, which would require doctors to provide medical treatment to babies who survive an abortion.
The Senate passed the bill - known as the “Born Alive Bill” - by a vote of 21-to-10.
Pro-life groups say this is a win, since they have been pushing for these kinds of laws all across the country.
“We’re really thankful Senator Kolkhorst has brought forth this bill. This bill is common sense, bipartisan. It’s ensuring children who survive an abortion is getting the same type of care that any other child would,” said Texas Values’ Nicole Hudgens.
Under SB 23, if doctors don’t provide treatment to abortion survivors, they can face a 3rd degree felony charge, which is punishable by 2-to-10 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
Ahead of the vote, Senator Lois Kolkhorst - who is one of the bill’s authors - spoke up.
“These rights are currently not protected by any civil or criminal enforcement. If violated, this bill creates accountability,” Kolkhorst said.
Pro-choice advocates say this is passing a law for something that does not happen, and instead is used to shame doctors and women.
“There’s a slew of attacks we’re following. They all have the same purpose, and that is to make abortion inaccessible for people who need it, and to shame providers, to put additional barriers in the way of people trying to access safe abortion care, which is their legal and constitutionally protected right,” said Amanda Beatriz Williams of the Lilith Fund, which helps women who need financial assistance to pay for an abortion.
Moving forward, Hudgens says she will push the House to pass SB 23.
“We want to make sure when a child is born alive, they get the protection they deserve,” Hudgens said.
Williams says she and other advocates will continue fighting against similar legislation the rest of this session.
“We’re going to keep pushing for comprehensive coverage of abortion care,” Williams said.
SB 23 now moves to the House.