The emotional 'Born Alive' debate, which has caused serious controversy in the U.S. Congress and in Virginia and New York, is coming to Texas, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
State Rep Jeff Leach (R-Allen) introduced the Texas Born Alive Infant Protection Act would allow major lawsuits to be filed against any abortion doctor and abortion facility that failed to provide life saving care for a baby who is born alive following a bungled abortion.
"This legislation creates statutory civil causes of action for the surviving child, the parent, and the legal guardian, to pursue against that abortion provider," Leach told News Radio 1200 WOAI.
"The baby who survives an abortion deserves the full protection of the law, and the highest standards of medical care."
Under the law, people could anonymously report physicians for violating the law.
Unlike similar bills which have been proposed in other states, Leach's proposal does not contain criminal penalties for failing to save the life of a 'born alive' fetus.
The abortion industry immediately criticized the proposal as a threat to women's health.
Tara Pohlmeyer of Whole Women's Health said it is part of a new effort by social conservatives to wipe out abortion by 'intimidating' doctors into not performing abortions out of a fear of civil lawsuits.
"These extremist lawmakers are using abortion as a political wedge issue, even if it involves sacrificing women's health care and bodily autonomy," she said.
"This bill is being used as a way to divide Texans, by sacrificing Texans' right to health care."
This bill takes a different tactic than measures which were approved in New York and Virginia. In those cases, the measures held doctors harmless for not making an effort to provide emergency health care for a child born alive following a botched abortion.
Opponents say the bills are the latest 'end around' to the Roe vs Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. Like the 2015 Texas law which would have required all physicians at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, they argue that the social conservative effort now focuses on drying up the number of doctors who are willing to perform abortion, thereby making abortion much harder to get.