Regular 88th Legislative Session Pro-Life Summary

Heading into the first legislative session since the reversal of Roe v. Wade, Texas lawmakers had a historic responsibility and opportunity. However, the Texas Legislature chose to ignore new deadly threats to preborn children, but did improve protections for vulnerable patients. 

The Pro-Life Priorities for the Regular Session of the 88th Texas Legislature were comprised of three categories:

  • Fully enforce our Pro-Life Laws — ensure our strong Life-saving laws are not being thwarted by radical politicians or pro-abortion activists.
  • Build a Pro-Life Texas — affirm our state’s commitment as not just anti-abortion but truly Pro-Life through removing barriers for pregnant mothers, their children, and families.
  • Defending Pro-Life Values in Healthcare — restore legal protections for vulnerable Texas patients and healthcare professionals.

👎 Fully Enforce our Pro-Life Laws

Texas Right to Life prioritized several bills that would have ensured our state’s strong Pro-Life laws are being fully enforced. Before and since the reversal of Roe, district attorneys across the country declared their intent NOT to enforce Pro-Life laws, including several district attorneys in Texas. We prioritized bills that would hold prosecuting attorneys accountable for disregarding their duties in refusing to enforce Pro-Life laws, while simultaneously, and arguably more importantly, developing the tools to work around them.

This is critically important in a post-Roe Texas, where the abortion industry is already inventing new deadly ways to promote abortion. The abortion industry has doubled down their efforts to target students on college campuses facing unexpected pregnancies, has opened a floating abortion facility in federal gulf waters to commit illegal and unregulated abortions, and regularly trafficks abortion pills across the southern border.

None of these Pro-Life Priority Bills made it through the legislative process, despite the desperate need for tools to combat the threat of the abortion industry’s innovative measures to harm women and end preborn children’s lives.

❌ HB 200 (Rep. Leach) / SB 404 (Sen. King) — Relating to the reestablishment of the Prosecuting Attorneys Coordinating Council.
❌ HB 4549 (Rep. Toth) / SB 1195 (Sen. Hughes) — Relating to the duty of the attorney general to prosecute certain criminal offenses.
❌ HB 2690 (Rep. Toth) — Relating to abortion, including civil liability for distribution of abortion-inducing drugs and duties of Internet service providers; creating a criminal offense; authorizing a private civil right of action.
❌ HB 4026 (Rep. Schofield) — Relating to the creation of the office of state special prosecutor.
❌ SB 648 (Sen. Middleton) — Relating to the procedure for removing certain prosecuting attorneys for their policies on the enforcement of criminal offenses; providing a private cause of action.
❌ SB 1927 (Sen. Hughes) — Relating to the jurisdiction of the state prosecuting attorney.

Lawmakers’ negligence toward preborn children and distribution of illegal abortion pills sets a dangerous precedent in our post-Roe world: accepting lawlessness from abortionists.

✅ Thankfully, no weakening exceptions were added to our strong Pro-Life laws! This was a concern heading into the legislative session, but every attempt to add exceptions was blocked.

🟡 Build a Pro-Life Texas

The Texas Legislature successfully passed a few measures to provide protections for college students who are pregnant and parenting, but unfortunately fell short in providing the resources necessary to meet the demands in a post-Roe state.

🟡 Alternatives to Abortion Program — Fully fund and codify Pro-Life program into state law.

✅ HB 1474 (Rep. Guillen) / SB 412 (Sen. Paxton) — Relating to protections for pregnant and parenting students enrolled in public institutions of higher education.

✅ HB 1574 (Rep. Caroline Harris) / SB 459 (Sen. Paxton) — Relating to early registration for parenting students at public institutions of higher education.

❌ SB 411 (Sen. Paxton) — Relating to requiring public institutions of higher education to make available to students’ certain pregnancy-related informational materials published by the Department of State Health Services.

❌ HB 4138 (Rep. Schatzline) / SB 2560 (Sen. Middleton) — Relating to the establishment of the Texas Adoption Assistance Program.

❌ HB 4089 (Rep. Oliverson M.D.) — Relating to the Texas Alternatives to Abortion Program.

Texas’ Alternatives to Abortion program is currently the largest and most successful state-funded program in the nation that helps women choose Life. The program reimburses nonprofit pregnancy centers, adoption agencies, and maternity homes for the critical social services they provide to pregnant women and families before and after birth. Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe and Texas protected preborn children from elective abortion, these nonprofits have seen a 43% increase in demand for services. The Texas House of Representatives initially recognized this need and approved full funding to program at $200 million for the next two years. However, in the final days of session, lawmakers reduced that proposed amount and failed to meet the demand and projected growth of the Alternatives to Abortion program. As a result, countless pregnant women may not receive the life-saving help they need and may instead feel pressured into seeking illegal or out-of-state abortions.

At the same time, legislation was approved that could be used to water down the program’s unique Pro-Life mission. Lawmakers failed to sufficiently amend Senate Bill 24 by Senator Lois Kolkhorst (R – Brenham), sponsored by Representative James Frank (R – Wichita Falls). Although SB 24 is well-intentioned, Texas Right to Life is concerned that this bill allows the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to pivot the previously earmarked funding to services that do not directly benefit pregnant moms and new families. Thus, Pro-Life nonprofits could receive less funding next year because the program’s resources would be spread more thinly among organizations not directly focused on the program’s Pro-Life mission. Texas Right to Life hopes to be proven wrong in this concern, but will continue to closely monitor bureaucratic changes to the program and enlist legislators to help prevent these concerns from coming to fruition when implementing this legislation. 

However, the Legislature did pass some reforms to benefit pregnant and parenting college students. Senate Bill 412 by Senator Angela Paxton (R – McKinney), sponsored by Representative Ryan Guillen (R – Rio Grande City), codifies federal protections for pregnant women and parenting college students into Texas state law. This legislation will clarify students’ rights related to pregnancy and parenting, protecting them from discrimination. 

The Legislature also passed Senate Bill 459 by Senator Angela Paxton (R – McKinney), sponsored by Representative Caroline Harris (R – Round Rock), which will offer parenting college students the opportunity to have early registration for academic courses. These measures illustrate how Texas is moving toward being truly Pro-Life, not simply anti-abortion, and not forcing college students to choose between parenthood and achieving their academic and career goals. 

House Bill 4138 by Representative Nate Schatzline (R – Fort Worth) would have established the Texas Adoption Assistance Program. This state program would pay up to half the adoption costs for families if a church or nonprofit matched, making adoption more accessible and affordable by removing cost barriers. While this bill did not ultimately pass, we are hopeful to see this Pro-Life, pro-family policy added to a special session call or addressed during the next regular legislative session. 

Texas Right to Life also was hopeful to see medical insurance extended to cover one year after a woman has given birth or suffered a natural miscarriage. As this was the top recommendation by the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee to reduce preventable deaths among new mothers. House Bill 12 by Representative Toni Rose (D – Dallas), sponsored by Senator Lois Kolkhorst (R – Brenham), did ultimately pass, and is an important policy for building a truly Pro-Life Texas, both before and after birth for women and children. However, both the House and the Senate refused to add a substantial amendment clarifying that this coverage would not unintentionally incentivize illegal and out-of-state abortions. 

🟡 Defending Pro-Life Values in Healthcare

✅ HB 3162 (Rep. Klick) / SB 1724 (Sen. Springer) — Relating to advance directives and health care treatment decisions made by or on behalf of patients, including a review of those directives and decisions.

❌ HB 319 (Rep. Oliverson, M.D.) — Relating to protection of persons from participation in a health care service for reasons of conscience; providing a civil remedy; authorizing disciplinary action.

❌ SB 2199 (Sen. Hall) — Relating to protection of individuals from participation in a health care service for reasons of conscience; providing a civil remedy; authorizing disciplinary action.

For the last 20 years, Texas Right to Life and Pro-Life Texans have been advocating to repeal the anti-Life 10-Day Rule of the Texas Advance Directives Act (TADA). This session’s most notable victory is a reform to protect hospital patients, achieved through House Bill 3162 by Chairwoman Stephanie Klick (R — Fort Worth). This bill is an important, incremental step toward providing better protections for Texas patients facing the TADA process. The current broken process enables a hospital to override a patient’s advance directive or medical power of attorney. After only 10 days’ notice, a hospital has full immunity to remove treatment, usually resulting in the patient’s death. 

HB 3162 helps make this process more balanced and humane, modifying several aspects of TADA, including the deadly 10-Day Rule. These include:

  • requiring the hospital to perform any procedures necessary to facilitate a transfer before the countdown may begin
  • specifying that the process cannot be imposed on competent patients
  • preventing decisions from being based on perceived “quality of life” judgments, and
  • providing the family more notice of the ethics committee meeting and more days to secure a transfer. 

HB 3162 will take effect on September 1. 

While we are disappointed to see the state Legislature fail to address illegal abortions and fully provide needed resources for preborn children in the historic first session after Roe, we remain hopeful for this new chapter of our movement. Thank YOU for enabling our advocacy in the Capitol on your behalf, and for making your voice heard to elected officials at critical moments during the session. These accomplishments would not have been possible without you. Texas Right to Life will continue petitioning Texas lawmakers to pass substantial Pro-Life laws, and partnering with Pro-Life Texans to hold elected officials accountable to the cause of Life.