AUSTIN — Texas could soon save countless children’s lives if state legislators finish their work to pass several proposed laws.

On Tuesday, after a marathon meeting earlier this week filled with hours of public testimony, the Senate Committee on State Affairs approved seven pro-life bills that could eventually enact numerous protections for Texas children.

Among them is Senate Bill 8, called the heartbeat bill, which would make it illegal for an individual to kill a child in the womb once the baby’s heartbeat is detected—effectively protecting the child’s life from abortion once they reach roughly six weeks old.

“Ten other states have passed heartbeat bills,” said State Sen. Bryan Hughes (R–Mineola), one of the bill’s authors, in the committee meeting this week. “We have to admit Texas is behind. This bill will protect the lives of our most precious Texans starting at the moment that little heart is beating.”

Another proposal is Senate Bill 650, which would outlaw local government officials from spending taxpayer cash on the logistical expenses of killing a child. The proposal is aimed at the Democrat-run Austin City Council, which has repeatedly forced citizens to pay for the costs along the way to executing a baby, such as hotel rooms, rides to abortion facilities, and ironically, childcare.

Then there’s Senate Bill 394, authored by State Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. (D–San Benito), which would prohibit chemical or “pill-induced” abortions after seven weeks of the child’s life in the womb. Common abortion pills disintegrate the child’s connection to his or her mother, then induce heavy bleeding and cramping to expel the dead baby’s body from the womb.

Other bills include actions to provide pregnant women with support and information about “perinatal palliative care,” to stop discriminatory abortions—killing a child because of their gender or race—and outright ban abortion completely by 2025.

Nearly 53,000 Texans were killed through abortions in 2017, according to the latest state data.

The nine-member senate committee, comprised of six Republicans and three Democrats, approved the bills on nearly straight party-line votes, with Democrats except for Lucio mostly opposing the protections.

“We’re proud to hear these bills, take important testimony from everyone who wants to testify, and move these bills forward to protect innocent human life,” said Sen. Hughes.

The pro-life bills will now head to the full Senate chamber for debate and a vote, then if passed, will travel across the Capitol to the Texas House. If approved there, the bills will then end up on the governor’s desk to be signed into law.

Concerned citizens may contact their state representative, senator, or Gov. Greg Abbott.

Jacob Asmussen

Jacob Asmussen is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard. He attended the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and in 2017 earned a double major in public relations and piano performance.