Thursday morning, with the deadline to pass House bills looming, the Texas House of Representatives approved House Bill 3994 on a 93-46 vote.
The bill reforms the process by which minors seek permission from a judge to undergo secret abortions without any parental involvement. HB 3994, sponsored by Representative Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria), addresses these loopholes to strengthen parental rights and to protect pregnant teens.
Facing and defeating more than a dozen weakening amendments by House Democrats on second reading, HB 3994 was successfully amended by Representatives Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth) and Stephanie Klick (R-North Richland Hills) to make the bill an even stronger Pro-Life initiative.
Texas Right to Life with the help of many Pro-Life legislators have made reforming the loophole-ridden judicial bypass system a top priority for several sessions. Multiple bills on the issue were filed in the 84th Legislative Session seeking to amend and tighten the many escape clauses that allow pregnant minors to be shepherded through a broken judicial system and into the doors of abortion centers.
After long hours of intense debate on the House Floor, the Pro-Life movement in Texas saw a huge victory through the passage of House Bill 3994. The final version of the bill encompasses many needed reforms to the judicial process available to minors seeking an abortion without involvement from their parents. This judicial bypass process should be written to protect minors from abuse as well as from being escorted through the loopholes of the process by the abortion industry trying to enhance their profit margin.
~ Emily Kebodeaux, Texas Right to Life General Counsel
HB 3994 limits “forum-shopping” by abortion attorneys, changes the court venue requirements, requires judges and abortionists to report abuse immediately, and ends the practice of automatically granting the bypass if the judge does not rule on the petition.
The final passage in the House of HB 3994 comes on the birthday of the late Dr. Joseph Graham, founder and former president of Texas Right to Life. Dedicated to the advancement of Pro-Life initiatives in Texas, Dr. Graham held a special place in his heart for women victimized by the abortion industry and would be pleased by the passage of such legislation that seeks to protect minor girls.
HB 3994, as amended, marks the first Pro-Life bill passed by the House of Representatives during this 84th Session of the Texas Legislature. HB 3994 is a tremendous victory in parental rights, strengthening Texas families, and protecting teens from sexual predators.
Texas Right to Life applauds this Pro-Life bill and the legislators who were eager to work to ensure that HB 3994 would pass with the strongest language possible.