On Thursday, Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) filed Senate Bill 8, known as the "Pre-Born Protection and Dignity Act." If passed, Senate Bill 8 would ban the sale of fetal tissue from elective abortions and prohibit partial-birth abortion in state law.
"The idea that anyone would seek to profit from the sale of fetal tissue is beyond abhorrent. It's evil," Schwertner said in a prepared statement. "The Pre-Born Protection and Dignity Act I've filed today will put a definitive end to the sale or exchange of fetal tissue and outlaw the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion in state law."
Senate Bill 8 comes in the wake of a series of videos released last summer showing senior Planned Parenthood executives casually discussing the potential sale of fetal tissue to benefit the organization's bottom line.
On July 29, 2015, Schwertner convened an emergency hearing of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services to investigate the business practices of Planned Parenthood and examine the regulatory framework governing the sale or donation of aborted fetal tissue.
"People of conscience can't stand by while unborn babies are monetized and traded like some sort of perverse commodity," Schwertner added. "The state has a moral obligation to protect our most vulnerable Texans — a group that certainly includes the unborn. As we enter the session, I'm confident the Texas Legislature will continue to stand for the sanctity of innocent life and adopt the kind of pro-life policies that are consistent with Texas values."
Establishing a state ban on the sale of fetal tissue was a key priority of Gov. Greg Abbott's LIFE Initiative, which he announced in August of last year. Senate Bill 8 also carries the support of several prominent pro-life organizations, including Texas Right to Life, the Texas Alliance for Life, the Texans for Life Coalition and the Texas Catholic Conference.
Joining Schwertner in authoring the Pre-Born Protection and Dignity Act are senators Donna Campbell, (R-New Braunfels), Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham), Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) and Charles Perry (R-Lubbock).
A medical doctor by training, Dr. Schwertner currently serves as chairman of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services. Schwertner is currently serving his second term as the senator for Senate District 5, a 10-county region of Central and East Texas that includes Walker County.