AUSTIN, TX – State Representative DeWayne Burns (Cleburne) has filed House Bill 2858, a groundbreaking piece of pro-life legislation designed to defend the unborn and protect innocent victims of human trafficking rings. Senator Dawn Buckingham (Lakeway) has filed the companion bill, Senate Bill 1377, in the Senate. These bills would create 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.
“Pregnant women, particularly those who are being trafficked or coerced into an abortion, are among the most vulnerable women in our state,” Rep. Burns said. “Our criminal laws should take into account the tragic circumstances of a forced abortion – both the woman being victimized and the unborn child being aborted without the mother’s full and voluntary consent.”
Senator Buckingham added, “I stand for life and this legislation addresses two horrendous practices that are victimizing women across Texas: human trafficking and coerced or forced abortion. The perpetrators of these crimes must understand Texas is serious about punishing those who commit such heinous crimes.”
This legislation was immediately met with praise from individuals and organizations across Texas within the pro-life community.
“We applaud Representative Burns and Senator Buckingham for courageously filing HB 2858 and Senate Bill 1377 to protect women, especially young girls, who are forced to abort their unborn child during the course of human sex trafficking. This legislation will allow the aggressive prosecution of this appalling injustice.”
Joe Pojman, Executive Director of Texans Alliance for Life
“HB 2858 and Senate Bill 1377 provide greater opportunities to identify and rescue victims of sex trafficking while providing increase penalties for the horrendous crime of sex trafficking and forced abortion. We applaud Representative Burns and Senator Buckingham for their leadership in seeking rescue and restoration for victims while enacting justice against those predators who so callously abuse and exploit vulnerable women.”
Jennifer Carr Allmon, Executive Director of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops
“The horror that many of the 313,000 sex trafficking victims in Texas (79,000 believed to be minors) are already facing should not be compounded by the trauma of forced abortion. We are grateful for Representative Burns and Senator Buckingham for their hard work to protect women and hold their perpetrators accountable.”
Kyleen Wright, President of Texans for Life