When the Texas Legislature adjourned sine die on Monday afternoon, Texas Right to Life sent the following message to supporters:
The Regular Session of the 86th Texas Legislature concluded today, and unfortunately, politicians passed no bills that stop abortion.
Yet the resounding message from Austin is that this was a “Super Bowl session”—not if you are an unborn child in Texas!
The state Senate took the lead and passed three major pro-life bills under the leadership of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Chairwoman Lois Kolkhorst (R–Brenham) ensured that pro-life bills received thoughtful and ample consideration in the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services and then quickly passed them to the full Senate for consideration.
The overall ambivalence by House Republican leadership about the pro-life cause is shocking, particularly since many of those in leadership have historically achieved solid pro-life voting records. Recent history of the Texas House proves that once a House member is tapped for leadership, principles are negotiable. Even the liberal Fort Worth Star-Telegram observed:
“Texas Republicans this year have conspicuously stayed on the sidelines. They’ve instead let other conservative states lead efforts aimed squarely at the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.”
Throughout this session, we heard, “We all must focus on 2020 and ensuring Republicans can win their re-elections.” Leaders in the Capitol and of the Republican Party were maniacally focused on maintaining political power in the upcoming election. They overlook that they were elected to deliver advances on issues for which they campaigned, and they should be re-elected only when they have done so. Pro-life activists across the state are asking, “Maintain political power for what? How can we trust you to fight for the preborn and vulnerable patients if you do win your re-elections?”
These fumbled opportunities would have saved lives, and the House had the pro-life majority to pass them but lacked the drive, inner fortitude, and moral courage. During this 86th Legislature, House Republican leaders dropped the ball on life issues and achieved little to earn voters’ trust.