As disappointing 83rd legislative session ends, pro-life Texans hope for special session

Unfinished business.


Texas Capitol building.

This week, Planned Parenthood cheered the pro-life failure of the 83rd legislative session in Texas, which ends today. To the organization’s great relief (which we hope will be short-lived), no major pro-life measures were passed. Texas had a full pro-life agenda at the beginning of the session, working towards such measures as a twenty-week “fetal pain” abortion ban, implementing ambulatory surgical center standards at abortion mills to protect women and their unborn children, requiring abortionists to secure admitting privileges at nearby hospitals as a safeguard following incidents like botched abortion, and ensuring that any Health Insurance Exchange established in Texas does not include coverage for abortion.

On May 24, pro-life stalwart and whip in the Texas House of Representatives Rep. Bryan Hughes (R- Mineola) drafted the following letter to pro-life Governor Rick Perry, which garnered signatures from 62 of the 150 House members. The letter thanks the governor for his staunch pro-life stance and encourages him to recognize the rights of Texas’s unborn children by pursuing the pro-life bills that never made it to the House floor in a possible special session this year.

Dear Governor Perry,

Thank you for the strong stands you take for life and for liberty.  The undersigned members of the House share your commitment to protect the sanctity of human life.  Despite an overwhelming pro-life majority in the House, not a single pro-life bill filed during this 83rd session reached the House floor.

Since pro-life values are fundamental to us, and since the majority of Texans share these convictions, we are not willing to give up the fight.  In the struggle to defend life, we cannot take a day off – much less a legislative session.

In light of the increasing likelihood of a Special Session, we ask that you exercise your constitutional power and add pro-life bills to the call.

More specifically, we ask that you add the following matters to the call:

1.Protection of pain-capable unborn children from abortion at 20 weeks gestation;

2.Protection of women and unborn children by requiring abortion facilities to meet the same health and safety standards as ambulatory surgical centers; and

3.Protection of women and unborn children by requiring abortion doctors to secure and maintain privileges at an emergency room within thirty miles of the facility where they commit abortions.

4. Legislation ensuring that any Health Insurance Exchange (whether state or federal) set up in Texas does not include coverage for abortion.

On these matters of life, the will of the people has been frustrated thus far in the Regular Session. By adding these fundamentally important issues to the special session agenda, you can enable your pro-life House Members to defend innocent human life.

Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of our request, and thank you for your service to Texas.

Texas Right to Life director Elizabeth Graham stated that if a special session is called by the governor, Texas may have the opportunity to address the “unfinished business” that the legislative session overlooked. That unfinished business, she says, is “the 80,000 tiny Texans who will be aborted this year” without the life-saving legislation that the session failed to implement.

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