Protecting Unborn Life
One of the key accomplishments of the 87th Legislature was the passage of
SB 8, which generally bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected. That legislation is one of the great victories for the pro-life movement in the United States over the last few decades. In addition to SB 8, the Legislature passed a number of bills that promote traditional values and strong families.
The Texas Heartbeat Act - SENATE BILL 8 generally requires a physician to search for a fetal heartbeat before performing an abortion and prohibits the abortion if a heartbeat is detected. A physician performing such an abortion and/or a person who provides assistance in obtaining such an abortion is civilly liable for such action. The bill significantly improves the protection of unborn life; a fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks. Under prior Texas law, abortions were generally prohibited only if the unborn child had reached 20 weeks.
SENATE BILL 4 codifies health and safety protocols in state law and ensures that Texas women are better informed of the potential risks and complications of drug-induced abortions. The bill prevents the distribution of such drugs through mail or delivery service and directs the state to better track associated complications and adverse events.
HOUSE BILL 1280 is a “trigger law” that goes into effect if and when Roe v. Wade is repealed. The bill imposes criminal and civil liability on a person (other than the pregnant woman) who performs an abortion unless the life or health of the mother is at stake.
SENATE BILL 766 prohibits the presence of individuals under the age of 18 in a sexually oriented business, and would prohibit people under 21 from working in a sexually oriented business. To ensure compliance, the bill would also require the use of e-verify for employment at such businesses.
HOUSE BILL 567 strengthens parental rights in several key ways. The bill prevents the state from investigating a parent or removing a child for activities a reasonable person would allow a child of a given maturity and age, such as walking home from school; preserves the rights of a non-offending parent when the other parent neglects a child; clarifies the standard of “neglect” with respect to a child; and strengthens due process rights for parents by requiring courts to enter an order within 90 days of hearing a case involving child protective services.
HOUSE BILL 2536 provides that a court may not terminate a parent-child relationship, and DFPS may not remove a child from his or her home, on the grounds that the parent(s) sought an opinion about the child’s medical care from more than one medical provider, transferred the child’s medical care to a new medical provider, or transferred the child to another health care facility. The bill is a necessary response to disturbing reports in recent years of well-meaning doctors misdiagnosing accidents involving children as suspected child abuse, leading to parents temporarily losing custody of their children.
HOUSE BILL 458 updates the law to treat “gig” workers such as Uber drivers as employees for child support withholding purposes, and similarly treats gig companies as employers for those purposes. The bill will ensure that parents fulfill their financial obligations to support their children.