Texas House passes Landgraf's bill to increase penalty for assaulting a pregnant woman

AUSTIN — State Representative Brooks Landgraf's (R-Odessa) legislation aimed at making it a felony to assault a pregnant woman in Texas was unanimously passed on Wednesday in the Texas House of Representatives.

Previously, the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee unanimously passed House Bill 902, which makes it a third degree felony for assaulting a pregnant woman if the actor knew the woman was pregnant at the time of the assault. A third degree felony is punishable by between two and ten years in prison.

"The Texas House joined me today in making a clear statement that when a pregnant woman is assaulted, both the mother and the unborn child are victims, a more severe punishment for the attacker is justified,” Landgraf said.

Currently, the assault of a pregnant woman is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in county jail. However, there have been several instances where the assault itself warranted an increased penalty, or where a longer sentence could have prevented additional assaults. HB 902 seeks to ensure that the punishment fits the crime by increasing the penalty for knowingly assaulting a pregnant woman.

"I want to make sure we protect both the pregnant mother and her child, as well as creating a greater deterrent for assaults of this kind," Landgraf added.

HB 902 now heads to the Texas Senate before being sent to Governor Greg Abbott for final approval. The 86th Texas legislative session is underway and will run through May 27, 2019.