As Gov. Greg Abbott repeatedly refuses to act on several priority child protection laws, Texas’ new pro-family organization continues to pressure him and top state lawmakers.

On Tuesday, the American Principles Project released its “Big Family Pledge” ahead of the March 1 statewide primary election, to “help voters by getting candidates on the record regarding the most important issues facing America’s families.”

The Pledge

The nonprofit wrote:

Candidates who sign the pledge promise to “actively support legislation, litigation, and other efforts that would”:

    • Defend girls’ sports by prohibiting biological males from participating, including at the collegiate level;
    • Protect children from experimental “gender transition” procedures, including irreversible surgeries, chemical castration, and psychiatric neglect;
    • Let kids be kids and protect them from dangerous and divisive propaganda being taught in schools, such as critical race theory and gender ideology;
    • Safeguard children from exposure to pornography, obscenity, and indecency.
    • Protect life from conception to natural death.

Three of Abbott’s Republican primary challengers—Allen West, Don Huffines, and Chad Prather—have already signed the pledge. Gov. Abbott has so far declined to sign.

The Issues

APP’s pledge comes amid troubling storylines in the state of Texas, particularly regarding child mutilation procedures.

Currently in Texas, medical professionals are permitted to perform “transgender” operations on children, such as cutting off their healthy body parts or giving them sterilizing cross-sex hormones and puberty blocker drugs.

The overall issue drew an international spotlight in Texas several years ago with the child abuse case of Dallas-area 9-year-old James Younger, whose mother told him he was a girl and wanted to force him—against his father’s wishes—to take sterilizing drugs and eventually be castrated.

James’ case became a statewide rallying cry on the issue, with the Republican Party of Texas making it a legislative priority and more than 2 million GOP primary voters supporting a ban on the operations. However, at the state Capitol in Austin last year, top Republican lawmakers repeatedly killed the effort, and Abbott refused to bring up the issue in the Legislature’s multiple special sessions.

“The most alarming fact about these matters is that Gov. Greg Abbott is fully aware of these atrocities and has yet to do anything about it,” said APP’s Texas director Chris Hopper. “He was asked to put these items up during all of his 3 special sessions and yet he has continually skirted the issues. At APP Texas, we expose politicians and policies that hurt the family and Gov. Abbott fits the bill … Maybe it’s time Texas families serve an eviction notice rather than another term.”

The Election

“Parents will be perhaps the most important group of voters in the upcoming midterm elections,” said APP President Terry Schilling. “As we saw in Virginia last fall, family issues are deciding factors, and parents are motivated to vote for candidates who will fight for them in office. But first, they need to know which candidates they can trust. This is the reason for APP’s Big Family Pledge.”

“For too long, political leaders have been allowed to campaign on being ‘pro-family’ without making any specific promises to parents. That time is over,” Schilling concluded. “We’ve taken the Big Family Pledge to Texas candidates first, as Texas has one of the earliest primaries in the country and is a state of unique importance to families. However, we plan to ask candidates nationwide to sign in the coming weeks, and we will continue to provide updates as we learn which leaders are willing to back up their rhetoric with a firm commitment.”

Early voting in the Texas March primary begins on February 14, and Election Day is March 1.

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.