On Tuesday, Texas Right to Life joined State Rep. Matt Schaefer (R–Tyler) and the Texas House Freedom Caucus in demanding that House leadership allow pro-life legislation to come to a vote. While there are roughly 27 days left in the legislative session, lawmakers have deadlines of action that will arrive as early as next week—making these days literally do or die for citizens trying to protect life.
Despite Texas being a conservative state, pro-lifers are having a tough time advancing legislation this session, a point of contention for Texas Right to Life and pro-life activists.
“Texas used to be within the top five of Pro-Life states in the nation; we are now ranked 17th. With 95 Republicans in the Texas House of Representatives, passing conservative legislation should not be this difficult,” said Emily Cook, general counsel for the organization.
Texas Right to Life has two major, lifesaving bills that it considers must-pass legislation: Senate Bill 415 which prohibits dismemberment abortion (a barbaric practice in which an unborn child is ripped limb from limb in the womb while still alive), and Senate Bill 20 which prevents Texas citizens from being forced to subsidize abortion through their insurance carrier.
Since then, they’ve been languishing in the House Committee on State Affairs where Chairman Byron Cook (R–Corsicana), House Speaker Joe Straus’ hatchet-man, has refused to hold a hearing on either item of legislation.
Cook has also refused to hold a hearing on House Bill 948 by State Rep. Tony Tinderholt (R–Arlington) which would abolish abortion in the state of Texas. Tinderholt has accused Cook of lying and misleading citizens about why he is refusing to advance the legislation.
If Cook does not act soon—and few believe that he will—all three bills will die at his hands.