One of the great responsibilities that we have as a community is to create just laws that protect the most defenseless members of our society. The last two legislative sessions were the most pro-life in memory, and Rep. Burns was front and center during those debates.
In 2017, Rep. Burns co-sponsored Senate Bill 8, banning partial birth abortions in Texas once and for all, and imposing felony charges on anyone who performs one unless the life of the mother is at risk. The bill also bans "dismemberment" abortions, a truly barbaric attack on innocent life.
Additionally, the 2017-2019 budget allocates $18.3 million to the state’s Alternatives to Abortion program which offers a network of crisis pregnancy centers, adoption centers, and maternity homes across Texas to provide support for women in need.
House Bill 2858 was a key piece of pro-life legislation that Rep. Burns filed to defend the unborn and protect innocent victims of human trafficking networks. He added this legislation as an amendment to House Bill 2552 which passed unanimously in May of 2017 and also focused on the growing issue of sex-trafficking. The amendment creates criminal penalties for compelling a minor to seek an abortion through force or the threat of force, as well as for killing the unborn child of a minor who is being trafficked against her will.
This summer, Texas also became the 25th state in the union to pass limits on health insurance coverage for abortions. House Bill 214 removes the mandatory coverage for elective abortions that was previously required in government and private health insurance plans.
House Bill 3074, which was passed in 2015, now limits the ability of a hospital or doctor to withdraw food and water from a patient. Before this law was passed, the Texas Advanced Directives Act allowed them to stop feeding a patient with only ten days notice, regardless of the wishes of the patient or his or her family. Tragically, this practice had become far too common in our hospitals, and it resulted in the inhumane dehydration and starvation of patients.
And House Bill 3994, which also became law in 2015, was a great step forward in eliminating abortions on minors in Texas. A "judicial bypass" is the process of a judge issuing an order for a doctor to perform an abortion on an underage girl without notifying her parents, much less obtaining consent from them. This law limits an attorney's ability to change the court venue in search of a favorable judge to obtain the bypass. It also stops the bypass from being automatically granted if the judge does not rule on the petition.