SB 8

85(R) - 2017
Senate Health & Human Services
House State Affairs
Senate Health & Human Services
House State Affairs

Vote Recommendation

  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral
  • Neutral


Charles Schwertner


Cindy Burkett

Bill Caption

Relating to certain prohibited abortions and the treatment and disposition of a human fetus, human fetal tissue, and embryonic and fetal tissue remains; creating a civil cause of action; imposing a civil penalty; creating criminal offenses.

Fiscal Notes

No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.

Bill Analysis

SB 8 would prohibit partial-birth abortions. This ban would relate to abortions in which the physician performing the service has the intention of killing a partially delivered living baby, unless necessary to save the mother’s life. The penalty for performing a partial-birth abortion would be a state jail felony. The bill explicitly prohibits prosecution of a woman on whom a partial birth abortion was performed.

This bill would allow the father of the baby to bring a civil action, and to obtain relief including monetary damages for physical injury, mental anguish, and emotional distress. If the mother of the baby is younger than 18 a parent of the mother may bring a civil action. If the person consented to the partial-birth abortion, or if the person’s criminally injurious conduct resulted in the pregnancy, they may not pursue a civil action. A physician who is the subject of a criminal or civil action under the provisions of this bill would be entitled to a hearing before the Texas Medical Board to determine if the partial birth abortion was necessary. 

This bill would also add restrictions related to the donation of fetal tissue and other tissue resulting from pregnancy.

Under this bill, if a person offered a woman monetary or other considerations to have an abortion for the purpose of donating fetal tissue, or if she consented to the donation of human fetal tissue, or if someone knowingly or intentionally solicited or accepted tissue from a fetus gestated solely for research purposes, the penalty would be a Class A misdemeanor punishable as a fine of not more than $10,000. 

This bill would require health care facilities that provide services to pregnant women to dispose of the embryonic and fetal tissue in certain ways. A person who violates these rules would be subject to a civil penalty in the amount of $1,000 for each violation. A health care facility that violates these rules may have their license suspended or revoked.

This bill would create a registry of participating funeral homes and cemeteries that are willing to provide free common burial or low-cost private burial. The registry would also include non-profit organizations that are involved with the services. The registry would be available upon request by a physician or health care facility. 

This bill would now create an ethical fetal remains grant program that uses private donations to provide financial assistance for the costs associated with disposing of embryonic fetal tissue remains. 

If this bill passes, a person would commit an offense if they knowingly offer to buy or sell, or acquires, receives, sells, or otherwise transfers any human fetal tissue for economic benefit, and they would be subject to a state jail felony. 

Vote Recommendation Notes

This legislation deals with what we view as primarily a social issue. Texas Action does not make vote recommendations on social issues. For this reason we remain neutral on SB 8.

Organizations Supporting

Christian Life Commission
Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops
Texas Values Action

Organizations Opposed

League of Women Voters of Texas
NARAL ProChoice Texas