Public testimony on a pro-life bill was scheduled to be heard Monday morning in a House committee.
That is, until four Democrats united to delay the hearing.
The House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence was set to take public testimony on House Bill 16 by State Rep. Jeff Leach (R–Plano), known familiarly as the “Texas Born-Alive Infant Protection Act.” Modeled after similar legislation that failed in Washington D.C. earlier this year, the bill simply ensures that the lives of babies born alive after failed abortions are protected following the botched procedure.
The committee, which consists of five Republicans and four Democrats, was scheduled for 8 a.m. When Republican State Rep. Morgan Meyer (Dallas) experienced a flight delay preventing him from attending the Monday morning meeting, the four Democrats on the committee seized the opportunity to prevent a quorum, thus delaying the hearing of the bill until Meyer could arrive in Austin.
When the committee was rescheduled for later in the day, Democrat members refused to attend and listen to testimony from abortion survivors and other pro-life activists who made the trip to Austin to share their stories.
Democrat State Reps. Julie Johnson (Carrollton), Yvonne Davis (Dallas), Victoria Neave (Dallas), and Jessica Farrar (Houston) released a joint statement in which they said they would not join what they called “political grandstanding,” adding, “We refuse to offend our fellow Texas women, their families, and licensed physicians by wasting time on unnecessary legislation designed to intimidate and restrict women’s access to healthcare.”
Leach, who also chairs the committee, said he was disappointed by the Democrat lawmakers’ decision to abdicate their duties on the committee.
“I’m extremely disappointed and disheartened in the decision by my friends and fellow committee members to skip this morning’s hearing simply because they don’t agree on the issue at hand,” said Leach. “In doing so, they have blatantly disregarded and silenced the voices of Texans and have greatly undermined our legislative process.”
It is unsurprising that Democrats are doing everything in their power to prevent HB 16 from reaching the floor.
On the issue of life, the modern Democrat party has raced to the far-left of most Texans. If the bill, which affirms the lives of children already born, receives a vote in the House, many Democrats would be forced to reveal how extreme and out of touch they are with the voters who elected them into office to represent them.
That’s not a good look for a party trying desperately to gain control of the state legislature in 2020.
In the meantime, Democrat members of the committee are now on the record showing their unwillingness to participate in the committee process for legislation they oppose. With this new precedent established, perhaps we will soon see additional pro-life bills referred to the committee, such as Republican Party of Texas’ priority legislation to abolish abortion in Texas, receive a hearing in the near future.