Texas Governor Rick Perry announced July 8 that he will not run for another term. It is fitting, then, for him to have signed the pro-life omnibus bill as one of his one last acts as governor. Perry has had an extensive pro-life record as governor, and during his presidential run, he was convinced by Rebecca Kiessling, a pro-life figure conceived from rape, to oppose abortion in cases of rape and incest as well.
The state’s de-funding of Planned Parenthood brought plenty of controversy and attention. And in response to the Texas Women’s Health Program excluding abortion providers as qualified providers receiving state funds, the Obama administration rejected the state’s waiver, and the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it would cut off Medicaid funding for the program. The Obama administration was willing to kill an entire women’s health program even though Planned Parenthood made up less than 2 percent of providers.
However, Governor Perry was committed to continuing the program in a way that helped women while staying consistent with Texas values. And the state was able to find a way to still fully fund the program. The state was also victorious in the courts, when the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court ruled that Texas can de-fund Planned Parenthood.
This is where Greg Abbott comes in. State officials appealed the initial ruling in favor of Planned Parenthood from Federal District Judge Lee Yeakel, and as attorney general, Abbott filed an emergency motion for state in the Fifth Circuit Court. The attorney general also explained why de-funding Planned Parenthood is constitutional in a letter to State Senator Robert F. Deuell.
From the start of Rick Perry’s announcement not to run, it was likely that Abbott would seek to replace him. Abbott officially announced his run on July 14.
Abbott was left paralyzed after being hit by an oak tree 29 years ago, and as a result he uses a wheelchair. The candidate for governor has discussed his disability in connection with his being pro-life, as he did at the National Right to Life convention in Texas back in June. LifeNews.com reported on Abbott’s statements:
The accident serves as a reminder that regardless of someone’s circumstances, he or she deserves a chance at life, Abbott has said.
“As I laid there motionless on the ground, gripped with pain, as helpless as a child in the womb, I knew my life had changed forever,” he said at the National Right to Life convention in June.. “Some people think it’s easy to write off the lives of the disabled or the different. But every day, God reminds us that all life has value, no matter the form.”
During the speech, the Dallas Morning News said “Abbott lauded Texas’ strict abortion laws, such as requiring a minor to receive parental consent before an abortion and requiring doctors to perform sonograms before abortions. The crowd gave him a standing ovation when he described the Legislature’s efforts to pull taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood’s women’s health clinics.”
Governor Perry declining to run for another term as governor need not mean that the state will cease its dedication to the pro-life cause. Whether Greg Abbott or someone the people of Texas find more fitting to run their state holds office, let us hope that he or she is committed to standing up for the unborn.