State Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano) sounded alarm at the report, stating, “I call on the Texas Attorney General and the appropriate law enforcement agencies, with the full weight and force of Texas law, to investigate and unleash holy hell on those responsible for these heinous crimes.”
Leach authored the “Born Alive Infant Protection Act,” which became law in 2019 and requires medical professionals to “preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious physician would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.”
The legislation was supported by nearly all House Republicans and a dozen Democrats, though Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) called for members in her party to vote “Present” in protest of the bill.
Attorney General Ken Paxton responded to the report on Twitter, saying “My office will investigate this matter to the fullest extent of the law,” and referenced Leach’s bill.
“Today’s report from HHSC — namely that there have been multiple infants in recent years who were ‘born-alive’ following botched abortion attempts — should shock the collective conscience of the Lone Star State,” said Leach.
Howard replied to Leach, saying, “Please do not inflame w/o having better data. My understanding is these were not ‘botched abortions’ but rather induced in hospitals, several due to lethal issues for women. And life of fetus not sustainable.”
Christine Mann, the chief press officer for HHS, told The Texan that information is unavailable on whether these abortions were performed to save the life of the mother because “the reason for the abortion is not collected on the complications form.”
In addition to an increase in the number of infants born alive after failed abortions, the new HHS report showed the number of abortions among Texas residents also rose to the highest amount in five years.
Data from HHS dating back a decade showed a high of near-80,000 abortions performed in 2008, which steadily declined to a low of 53,000 in 2017.
Since then, the number of abortions has increased to 57,000.
From 2008 to 2019, the proportion of women under 30-years-old who received an abortion declined from 74 percent to 67 percent.
While the proportion of hispanic women in Texas who receive abortions has remained steady since 2008 around 38 percent, that of white women declined from 32 to 26 percent and that of black women increased from 25 percent to 28 percent.
2019 marks the first time in the past decade that black women in Texas received more abortions than white women.
The Census Bureau estimates that in 2019, 41 percent of Texas’ population was white alone and not hispanic, 40 percent was hispanic, and 13 percent was black.
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.