UPDATED: Texas Right to Life has since pulled the tweet containing the allegations.
AUSTIN — “BREAKING: TX Capitol officers & staff are banning Pro-Life attire in the Senate!”
In a tweet on Monday afternoon, the pro-life nonprofit organization Texas Right to Life described how the Texas Senate is currently targeting citizens wearing pro-life attire in the halls of the state Capitol.
“Advocates came to testify today for Pro-Life bills & were forced to hide the Pro-Life messages on their clothing,” the tweet continued, including pictures of the two citizens. One wore a mask that simply said “pro-life,” while another wore a shirt that read, “I am the pro-life generation.”
BREAKING: TX Capitol officers & staff are banning Pro-Life attire in the Senate!
Advocates came to testify today for Pro-Life bills & were forced to hide the Pro-Life messages on their clothing.
— Texas Right to Life (Text ProLife to 56525) (@TXRightToLife) March 15, 2021
Texas Right to Life told Texas Scorecard that Senate officers did this multiple times throughout the day. As citizens wearing such attire tried to enter the public gallery to observe Senate meetings on proposed pro-life laws, gallery officials stopped them.
Citizens questioned the Sergeant-at-Arms and even the Senate administration office, asking for clarification on attire policy, but officials did not have any written rules nor documentation.
“The actions we’ve seen here are an egregious attack on free speech rights,” the organization said in a statement to Texas Scorecard. “These Texans have traveled hundreds of miles to advocate for life and should not be censored as they observe the process in the Legislature.”
“The Texas Senate is violating the First Amendment by engaging in content-based restrictions on pro-life speech,” said conservative lawyer Tony McDonald, who explained that the Senate has no rules prohibiting a citizen from wearing such attire.
“[The Senate’s] only possible defense is if they claim they have absolute legislative immunity, which is basically arguing that they are above the law,” McDonald added.
This is a developing story and will be updated as new information becomes available.