The bill passed with 93 “Yeas,” 50 as present-not-voting (PNV), and the lone “No” vote belonging to Rep. Harold Dutton, Jr (D-Houston). Eighty-one of the “Yes” votes were Republicans, who were joined by 12 Democrats: Terry Canales (Edinburg); Joe Deshotel (Beaumont); Ryan Guillen (Rio Grande City); Tracy King (Uvalde); Oscar Longoria (Mission); Eddie Lucio (Brownsville); Armando Martinez (Weslaco); Sergio Muñoz (Palmview); Poncho Nevárez (Eagle Pass); Leo Pacheco (San Antonio); Richard Raymond (Laredo); John Turner (Dallas). Those twelve bucked their party even after Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) encouraged all Democrats to vote “Present.”
Rep. Sarah Davis (R-West University Place) was the lone Republican who did not vote for HB 16. Davis was presiding over the vote in the Speaker’s chair at the time, in which it is customary to vote “Present.” Davis is a prominent pro-choice Republican. She won re-election by 5,640 votes in 2018 over her Democrat opponent in the general election after overcoming a conservative primary challenge from Susanna Dokupil, who had the backing of Gov. Greg Abbott.
By presiding over the vote, Davis effectively avoided taking a position on the issue of whether an infant’s life should be protected should a child survive an abortion procedure.
House Bill 16 was authored by Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano). About the bill, Leach said in a statement, “I am proud to join my colleagues in setting in stone the strongest protections in the nation for babies who survive abortion.” Leach then encouraged other states to follow Texas’ lead.
The bill will now move to the Senate for debate.
Earlier this month, Sen. Lois Kolkhorst introduced a similar bill (SB 23) that was approved on April 9 and was received by the House the next day. Lt. Governor Dan Patrick lauded SB 23 for its “defen[se of] the lives of babies who survive an abortion.” Gov. Abbott praised both HB 16 and SB 23 for “ensur[ing] the most vulnerable among us are protected.”
The “Born Alive Protection Act” is not the only bill to address abortion in the Lone Star State this session. Rep. Tony Tinderholt’s (R-Arlington) “Abolition of Abortion in Texas Act” gained national attention due to its inclusion of abortion as a crime within the state’s penal code. The bill would codify the physician and mother as wrongful parties according to chapters 19 and 22 (criminal homicide and assaultive offenses, respectively) of the Texas penal code.
However, the abortion abolition bill has yet to make it out of the Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Leach.
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- Abolition of Abortion in Texas Act
- Armando Martinez
- Born Alive Infant Protection Act
- Dan Patrick
- Donna Howard
- Eddie Lucio III
- Greg Abbott
- Harold Dutton
- HB 16
- Jeff Leach
- John Turner
- Joseph Deshotel
- Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee
- Leo Pacheco
- Lois Kolkhorst
- Oscar Longoria
- Poncho Nevárez
- Richard Raymond
- Ryan Guillen
- Sarah Davis
- SB 23
- Sergio Muñoz
- Susanna Dokupil
- Terry Canales
- Tony Tinderholt
- Tracy King
Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.