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Spring in Texas Brings Signs of Life

Spring is all about the celebration of new life. April showers have indeed brought May flowers. The natural beauty of Texas wildlife is on display and new flowers have begun to bloom. As we enjoy the sunny weather and celebrate signs of new life. We should also celebrate all the work done by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick in the Senate and Chairman Byron Cook in the House to promote and support a culture of life in Texas.

Texas is blessed with an abundance of pro-life ministries, including approximately 200 pregnancy help centers. Our state has birthed many innovative, original and international movements (Gabriel’s Angels, Forty Days for Life, Embrace Grace, And Then There Were None, Heroic Media and more). It is also home to several pro-life groups who advocate for state laws to protect moms and babies from abortion.

Our coalition includes four such groups: Christian Life Commission, Texans for Life, Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops and Texas Alliance for Life, and together we work with 10 million Texans.

We are working closely with Governor Greg Abbott to pass his pro-life priorities, in addition to several other great measures. Once again, the legislature is poised to make this another banner session for Life!

Our groups have also urged Governor Abbott and lawmakers to substantially increase funding to the state’s alternative to abortion program to assist with the growing numbers of women seeking help from life-affirming pregnancy help centers.

These are by no means all the pro-life bills being considered by the Texas Legislature, but we believe them to be the best bills to continue our winning strategy; and the ones best able to withstand court challenges—an even bigger concern after the Supreme Court raised the burden of proof when it struck down portions of HB 2 last summer.

Texas taxpayers are already on the hook for as much as $4.5 million in attorneys’ fees for the abortion provider plaintiffs in the HB 2 challenge. The last thing any of us wants is to send millions more to radical abortion activists if they successfully challenge another pro-life law.

Only a few years ago, pro-lifers were overjoyed to get one, maybe two bills in a legislative session, now we are more likely to celebrate the passage of four or more! Our pro-life legislature continues to demonstrate its strong commitment to protecting our unborn with multiple life-saving bills each session, and statistics demonstrate the incredible results.

Not only have we saved over 50,000 babies just since the sonogram law was passed in 2011, but our abortion numbers for 2014 are down to what they were in 1977—when our population was less than half what it is now. Our abortion rate (per 1000 women) is one-third of what it was in1977 (9.53, down from 29.18). Our pregnancy help centers are overflowing with women who are choosing life! Hearts and minds are being changed and lives are being saved.

Our coalition is very grateful to the Senate, led by Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, for having already passed several of these priorities. We are also especially grateful to Chairman Byron Cook in the Texas House, who has worked with us tirelessly to advance these measures in the House. Most of these measures are already in Calendars and we look forward to the full House to be voting on them soon!

Texas continues to lead the way when it comes to protecting unborn babies and their moms, and we won’t rest until abortion is unthinkable, and every child is welcomed into life and protected by law.

Governor Abbott’s priority life bills address much of the horror we saw in the Center for Medical Progress expose’ video showing abortion providers willing to sell the organs of unborn babies and alter abortion procedures to facilitate organ sales, among other atrocities. The videos also suggested some clinics were performing illegal partial birth abortions to preserve organs for sale.

In response, Governor Abbott vowed to make partial birth abortion a felony, strip funding from Planned Parenthood COMPLETELY and eliminate the sale of fetal tissue by abortion clinics.

SB 8 by Senator Charles Schwertner and HB 200 by Representative Cindy Burkett make partial-birth abortion a felony that Texas authorities can prosecute (Texans cannot enforce the federal ban) and bans fetal tissue research from elective abortions.

HB 35 by Representative Byron Cook further requires that the remains of these tiny victims be disposed of with the respect afforded all other human beings—no more babies in the trash or down the garbage disposal!

HB 1936 by Representative Drew Springer and SB 855 by Senator Donna Campbell would put an end to the practice of state and local governments from entering into contracts with abortion providers or their affiliates. Texas continues to seek every opportunity to de-fund Planned Parenthood, and we are excited to help.

SB 1602 by Senator Donna Campbell and HB 2962 by Representative Giovanni Capriglione would ensure that abortion complications are reported properly—apart from regular maternal health complications. The Supreme Court ruling last summer struck down two important components of HB 2, citing a lack of empirical data. Currently, all reporting laws are aimed at abortion facilities, but those facilities circumvent the law by referring women to the hospital in the event of complications. Better data will help us determine better policy and legislation in the future which can withstand the court challenges sure to come, and Texas is once again pioneering the way other states will surely follow.

HB 434 by Representative Ron Simmons and SB 25 by Senator Brandon Creighton would end wrongful birth lawsuits. Wrongful birth lawsuits are filed when parents seek to recover the costs of raising the child for a lifetime from the doctor when, through no fault of the doctor, their child was born with birth defects the parents were not informed of in time to abort the child. According to the CDC, the majority of birth defects are discovered in the year after birth. No birth is a wrongful birth, and no doctor should be punished for birth defects he or she did not cause.

SB 1377 by Senator Dawn Buckingham and HB 2858 by Representative DeWayne Burns would protect women and girls from forced abortions, especially in the course of human sex trafficking. A UT study published earlier this year estimates 79,000 minor girls are sexually trafficked in Texas, and forced, even dangerous underground abortion, practices put them at even greater risk.

Just as Spring reminds us to celebrate life, we are proud of all the work the Texas Legislature and Governor Abbott have done to celebrate life through laws designed to protect the unborn and their moms.

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