GOP Texas lawmaker introduces bill mandating doctors try to save infants born after abortions

GOP Texas lawmaker introduces bill mandating doctors try to save infants born after abortions
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A state lawmaker in Texas introduced legislation on Thursday that would require doctors to provide “appropriate medical treatment” if a fetus lives through an attempted abortion, the Dallas Morning News reported.

Texas Rep. Jeff Leach (R) filed the Texas Born-Alive Infant Protection Act on Thursday. The legislation would allow a parent or guardian, or the infant itself, to sue a physician for damages if it is proven that such treatment was not given.

Under the bill, the Texas attorney general could also impose a $100,000 fine.

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The bill requires that medical attention provided in the event that a fetus survives an abortion attempt be "the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious physician would render to any other child born 18 alive at the same gestational age."

Women seeking an abortion would not be liable under the law. The legislation would create an anonymous system for reporting physicians who did not provide medical treatment.

Leach said at a news conference that the measure will “draw a line in the sand, proclaiming clearly and loudly on behalf of the Texans we represent, that a baby who survives an abortion deserves the full protection of the law and the highest standards of medical care.”

A similar bill failed to pass in the U.S. Senate earlier this year after Democrats blocked the legislation.

"Where D.C. is unclear, we're going to be very clear here in Texas," state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R) said. "This is about saving the life of infants." Kolkhorst will sponsor the bill in the Texas Senate. 

Opponents of the measure say that such kinds of birth are rare, the Morning News reported.

“Kolkhorst's and Leach's bill proves to us that the extremist lawmakers are hellbent on using abortion as a political wedge issue, even if it means promoting lies," NARAL Pro-Choice Texas Executive Director Aimee Arrambide said in a statement. "Its true intent is to intimidate abortion providers, interfere in the patient-doctor relationship and create an even more hostile environment for doctors to provide care in."

A Texas woman who said she was born several weeks after her birth mother had an abortion spoke at the conference in support of the measure.

Claire Culwell said she was born 2 1/2 months early after her mother aborted her twin.

"Do babies really survive abortions?" she asked. "I am here because we do. ... If I had been given a choice, I would have wanted to live. I would have wanted to be a Texan."

Culwell said she knows of five other people like her in the state.