A so-called 'Born Alive' bill, similar to measures defeated in the Virginia and New York Legislatures and in the U.S. Congress, is sparking very emotional testimony in the Texas Legislature, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The bill, introduced by State Sen. Lois Kolhkhorst (R-Brenham) would require that abortion doctors immediately provide all appropriate care to a baby who may have survived a bungled abortion. Failure to do so would result in a $100,000 fine and up to ten years in prison on a third degree felony conviction.
The State Senate Health and Human Services Committee heard heart-wrenching testimony on the bill, from a woman who survived a bungled abortion.
Warren Coldwell's adopted daughter Lauren was born alive 31 years ago when her 13 year old birth mother thought she was having her aborted.
Her testimony was read by her father.
"She had been pregnant with twins, and I had survived her abortion," Coldwell read to a hushed State Senate chamber. "They attempted to seek a second abortion in Kansas, but due to the infection after leaking amniotic fluid, she was denied the abortion. Two weeks later, after realizing she was still pregnant, I was born."
Lauren said that when she was born, she was a newborn baby like any other.
"As you can see from my pictures, I am a human being deserving of medical care, and I certainly deserve more than to be left to die after my birth mothers abortion," she said. "These are living, breathing, kicking, crying babies just like I was. I am trying to understand what makes someone like me, who survived an abortion, different from someone like you who was wanted and planned. The answer is, we're not."
Opponents of 'born alive' laws say they are another attempt, like the law approved by the Texas Legislature four years ago that would have required abortion clinics to only employ doctors who have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, to make an 'end around' to Roe vs. Wade by dissuading physicians from working in abortion clinics. They say the threat of a huge fine and a long prison sentence will simply convince doctors not to work at the clinics.
Kolhkhorst said her bill covers medical doctors, not nurses or other abortion clinic employees.
Lauren said it is important that survivors of abortion speak out on this issue.
"We have names, we have faces, we have stories, we are human," she said. "We deserve to have a voice, and a chance at life."