Abortion advocates rallied at the Texas Capitol on Wednesday to lobby the legislature for increased access and taxpayer funding for themselves as part of Planned Parenthood Lobby Day. In advance of the event, Texas Right to Life distributed signs saying, “Former Fetus” for Pro-Life legislators to display on their doors.
State Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford) was one of the many who received and displayed a sign.
“I always look for opportunities to reassure the folks back home that it wasn’t just campaign rhetoric for me,” said Stickland in a later interview with AgendaWise. “I am Pro-Life and I am going to fight tooth and nail on that issue no matter who shows up at the Capitol.”
Stickland affixed the sign outside his door and posted it on social media. Just minutes afterward, State Rep. (and self-appointed hall monitor) Charlie Geren came from his office on the other side of the Capitol. Geren then proceeded to rip the sign off the wall and throw it in the face of one of Stickland’s female staffers.
When Stickland later confronted Geren over the exchange, Geren responded: “I don’t care, they can get over it.”
After the scandal erupted, Geren backtracked publicly saying he did not intend to be rude and that his removal of the sign was simply enforcing compliance with a rule from the State Preservation Board. Such a defense strains credibility. For such a simple violation an email or phone call requesting the sign to be taken down would have sufficed. Then again, it was only last month that Geren bragged about being the “bad guy” on the Straus leadership team.
While Stickland’s sign was ripped down by Geren personally, nothing was done about the Planned Parenthood signs that were set up in a neighboring hall.
Underneath the surface, Stickland says the exchange may be indicative of what is coming next in the Texas House.
“I think the Kumbaya is about to be over,” Stickland said. “It’s time to start telling the voters where we stand. I think people are beginning to get anxious.”
Stickland further notes that the time is coming when the actions in the House will reach a breaking point and that lawmakers will no longer be able to hide behind procedures and excuses that prevent them from responding to the grassroots conservatives that elected them.