87th LegislatureState HouseTexas Lawmaker Seeks to Ban Race-Based Abortions

“It is appalling that such a large number of abortion surgical centers are located within walking distance of minority communities,” said Shaheen.
February 5, 2021
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Black children have accounted for at least a third of the nation’s abortions in recent years. In Texas’ last report, black and Hispanic children made up a solid majority of those aborted: over 66 percent. Going forward, state Rep. Matt Shaheen (R-Plano) wants to ensure race does not determine their fate.

Shaheen’s House Bill (HB) 1432 proposes a ban on race-based abortions.

“It is appalling that such a large number of abortion surgical centers are located within walking distance of minority communities,” Shaheen stated.

“Racial discrimination is alive and well in this industry, and we must fight it while at the same time expanding resources and access to care for all women struggling with unexpected pregnancies.”

The law targets discrimination rather than the act of abortion and would not block the path to abortion itself.

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“A person may not knowingly perform, induce, or attempt to perform or induce on a pregnant woman an abortion based on the race, ethnicity, or national origin of the unborn child,” the text reads.

Like the “Sanctuary Cities for the Unborn” initiative, the “Heartbeat Bill,” and the proposed abortion ban, Shaheen’s bill does not target the mother. Instead, it would punish the physician with possible license suspension or other penalties. Recommending or carrying out a race-based abortion would be tantamount to practicing medicine with a fake license or performing an abortion on a minor without the parent’s consent. Unlike some malpractice crimes, race-based abortions would not count as a felony.

While prominent Texas pro-choice groups like the Texas Equal Access Fund or Avow have not publicly released statements on the proposal, the national pro-choice giant Guttmacher Institute has characterized non-discrimination laws like Shaheen’s as unnecessary.

“Bans on sex-selective abortions place a burden on providers, who are forced to not only question all women’s reasons for seeking an abortion, but to also second-guess and stigmatize Asian-American women and communities,” the group argued.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, four states have successfully cracked down on race-based abortions: Arizona, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. Indiana and Kentucky have passed similar laws, but court challenges prevent their enforcement.

Between the two foremost pro-life groups in the state, Texas Right to Life and Texas Alliance for Life, the former has voiced support for Shaheen’s bill and others that ban discriminatory abortions as one rung on the ladder to total abolition. Other non-discrimination abortion laws include bans on abortions motivated by the gender or disability of the unborn child. Texas Right to Life has encouraged the passage of the Preborn Non-Discrimination Act (PreNDA), mainly aimed at protecting children in the womb with Down Syndrome, which would abolish abortions motivated by sex, race, or ability of the fetus.

“Among the many atrocities committed over the course of world history, elective abortion… is uniquely appalling, barbaric, and morally offensive,” the group stated.

“Texas must enforce and defend PreNDA first so as to force the Supreme Court of the United States to build a court record affirming the preborn child’s humanity.”

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Isaiah Mitchell

Isaiah Mitchell

Isaiah Mitchell is a reporter for The Texan, a Texas native, and a huge Allman Brothers fan. He graduated cum laude from Trinity University in 2020 with a degree in English. Isaiah loves playing music and football with his family.