What we believe
The members, directors, and officers of Texas Right to Life join together in the defense of innocent human life. We seek due process of law and equal protection of the law for all human beings from the moment of fertilization until natural death and without regard to their age or physical and mental competence. Human life is a sacred gift of our Creator, and only He has the power to end human life. Our purpose is the furtherance and implementation of our view of human life through legal and peaceful means.
TRTL opposes abortion at any point of gestation, as abortion destroys a living, growing human life. In the rare case that the mother's life is indeed endangered by a continuation of the pregnancy, sound medical practice would dictate that every effort be made to save both lives. In the extremely rare case that both lives cannot be saved, TRTL holds that life of the mother must be preserved until that day when technology will allow for both mother and unborn child to live.
TRTL supports adoption as one possible, positive solution for a woman bearing a child she is unable or unwilling to raise. We support legislation designed to facilitate easier placement of children with eligible couples.
See also WILL TO LIVE.
Coupled with a medical power of attorney, a will to live or advance directive can be a helpful tool should you or a loved one become incapacitated and unable to make health care or medical decisions for yourselves. Your living will/advance directive should be written with a Pro-Life mindset, requesting not only basic treatment such as nutrition and hydration, but also what treatment you wish to receive or refuse if you cannot speak for yourself. Important to note is that your will to live or advance directive cannot encompass all the possible medical situations, health care needs, or treatment options, and thus, your advance directive must be very carefully crafted. A medical power of attorney is someone whom you have designated to make these decisions for you if you cannot speak for yourself. Once you become incapacitated, this person, usually a spouse or grown child, automatically has the power to decide what treatment to seek or refuse. The responsibility for this designee is less taxing and confusing if you have carefully crafted a Pro-Life advance directive or will to live.
Many hospitals have implemented "futile care" policies, allowing them to withdraw or deny lifesaving treatment when they deem the care futile, or more commonly, too expensive. Families of loved ones often have little or no recourse in challenging the decisions of these institutions. Preparing and discussing your wishes, your Pro-Life advance directive or will to live with your family and your medical power of attorney can not only eliminate some angst at the time, but also provide clear direction for the doctors.
TRTL opposes any non-therapeutic, prenatal diagnosis for non-treatable genetic disorders and handicaps if the results of the diagnosis are intended to lead to abortion.
TRTL takes no position on birth control methods that are contraceptive rather than abortive in their actions. We are opposed to those birth control methods which act as abortifacients, including IUDs and those forms of the birth control pill which act to prevent implantation of the newly fertilized human into the lining of the womb. We are also opposed to prostaglandin suppository drugs, which act to cause delivery of an unborn baby regardless of size or weeks of gestation.
TRTL takes no position on capital punishment. Those in the Pro-Life movement who oppose the taking of a life by capital punishment do so on grounds similar to their opposition to abortion; that is, that all life is sacred. Others consider the crucial difference to be "due process of the law": a criminal is found guilty through due process, whereas an unborn child killed in abortion has been denied the same.
TRTL abhors child abuse but rejects abortion as a means of preventing unwanted, battered children. Studies have shown that up to 91% of battered children were planned pregnancies.1 Child abuse is a medical, legal, social, moral, and psychological problem for the family, and a solution requires the involvement of all those disciplines. Sadly, studies have also definitively shown that child abuse has skyrocketed since the 1973 legalization of abortion.2
TRTL denounces and opposes all violence that occurs at abortion clinics, including the violent attacks against women and their unborn children occurring inside the clinics.
TRTL asserts the need for a Constitutional amendment, which would annul the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion and return to the people the power to protect all innocent human life, from fertilization until natural death. We note that constitutional amendments are not self-enforcing, so legislation will be necessary to mandate the protection empowered by a Human Life Amendment. On the other hand, legislation without such an Amendment is not necessarily a permanent solution.
See BIRTH CONTROL and SCHOOL-BASED CLINICS.
EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT
TRTL is opposed to an ERA that would allegedly protect the "right" to abortion created in 1973 and even promote a broader range of abortion "rights." We oppose discrimination, which leads to death on the basis of sex, age, race, condition, religion, and place of residence, whether discrimination occurs within or outside of the womb.
TRTL opposes genetic screening or eugenics programs for the identification of non-treatable, genetically defective children if the testing results are intended to lead to the abortion of "unfit" or non-perfect children.
See both ADVANCE DIRECTIVE and WILL TO LIVE.
TRTL opposes both voluntary and involuntary euthanasia, also known as 'mercy killing.' Euthanasia is the intentional killing of a dependent human being for his or her alleged benefit whether by active intervention or by omitting treatment. We approve the accepted medical practice of administering pain-relieving drugs in whatever dose necessary to alleviate the suffering of a terminally ill patient as long as there is no intent to administer or to withhold treatment from a patient in order to bring about or hasten the patient's death. TRTL does not oppose the withdrawal of inappropriate treatment, which serves only to prolong the act of dying when there is irrefutable evidence that a person is within minutes to hours of biological death.
Regarding "death legislation," TRTL supports the position taken by the National Right to Life Committee, Inc., in its statement of January 21, 1980:
The predictable outcome of so called "death with dignity," "right to die, "living will," or "natural death" acts has been a growing legal and social acceptance of euthanasia.
Even though a very ill patient may become unable to take part in medical decision-making, the legal doctrine of proxy or substitute consent has been abused to justify killing those who are not legally competent. No legislature should authorize the surrender of a patient's right to life to an agent, committee, or court.
TRTL opposes any fetal experimentation, which either requires or results in the death of an unborn child. When parental consent is given, we do not oppose experiments which do no harm to the unborn child or the mother and which are conducted to further medical knowledge.
TRTL supports Texas' current Prenatal Protection law, which criminalizes any intentional, negligent or illegal activity that harms a pregnant woman and results in the death of her unborn child.
TRTL opposes any non-therapeutic, prenatal diagnosis for non-treatable genetic disorders and handicaps if the results of the diagnosis are intended to lead to the abortion of "unfit" or non-perfect children. Although some benefit may be realized, these tests can cause a miscarriage.
While recognizing the possible benefits of genetic screening for couples at risk of chromosomal abnormalities, TRTL opposes genetic screening or eugenics programs for the identification of non-treatable, genetically defective children if the testing results are intended to lead to the abortion of "unfit" or non-perfect children.
TRTL strongly supports a comprehensive ban on human cloning. There is no circumstance or reason to ever clone a human being. Therapeutic cloning (also called research cloning) is especially sinister as human embryos are created for the sole purpose of lethal experimentation. We believe that society would be better served to encourage the scientific community to direct knowledge and resources toward efforts that help all mankind, rather than devalue even nascent human life.
HUMAN LIFE AMENDMENT
See also CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT above.
TRTL supports an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which would guarantee the right to life of all persons from the moment of fertilization until natural death.
TRTL board members, employees, chapter officers, and chairpersons are prohibited from participating in illegal activities. As an organization, we denounce illegal activity of any kind and refuse to affiliate with any organization or person involved in Pro-Life related illegal activities.
Pregnancies as a result of incest constitute less than 2% of all pregnancies in America.3 TRTL opposes abortion for pregnancy resulting from rape or incest. We recognize the trauma involved in such abhorrent situations, yet the unborn child conceived is no less human than one conceived under more favorable conditions. We stress the need to help the entire family correct the situation which led to the pregnancy.
As an extension of our opposition to abortion, TRTL opposes the killing of newborn infants either by direct commission of an act or by omission of necessary care for their survival. We are devoted to the protection of all innocent human life regardless of the age or stage of life.
Until our goal of total protection for the unborn is reached, TRTL supports legislation designed to empower women making decisions regarding their pregnancies. A Woman becomes empowered by having full knowledge of the development of her unborn child, the physical and psychological complications which could result from the abortion, medical risks of each type of abortion procedure (including the increased risk of developing breast cancer), and most importantly, the availability of alternatives to abortion.
Texas has an informed consent law called the Woman's Right to Know Act, which passed the State Legislature as House Bill 15 in 2003. The booklet that women receive prior to undergoing an abortion contains the vital information listed above. Under this legislation, women also receive a Resource Directory that lists abortion alternatives by geographical region. Click here to view the Woman's Right to Know booklet.
IN VITRO FERTILIZATION
TRTL considers in vitro fertilization a technology that ignores rather than enhances respect for human life. While we sympathize with infertile couples, we cannot ignore the fact that research and clinical trials for this procedure have involved the destruction of newly conceived human embryos in the laboratory. Furthermore, there are currently over 400,000 tiny embryonic human beings "stored" in fertility clinics. The vast majority of these children will die in storage or be sacrificed to medical research.
If parents agree to implant into the womb all of their embryonic children created via in vitro fertilization, then TRTL is neutral on the procedure. However, parents typically fertilize more embryos than they are prepared to implant into the womb.
TRTL is committed to restoring legal, moral protection to all innocent human life. Laws are to be made for the common good and the effective attainment of human values. To establish protection for all innocent human life, legislation is necessary and appropriate. Currently, the law of the land reflects the morality of the abortion advocate; therefore, ordinary citizens must ultimately choose carefully when electing those who enact public policy that either protects or diminishes the right to life.
TRTL asserts the need for a Constitutional amendment, which would annul the 1973 Supreme Court decisions Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton which legalized abortion. Such a Constitutional amendment would return to state legislatures the power to protect all innocent human life from fertilization until natural death. Constitutional amendments are not self-enforcing; thus, legislation would then be necessary to empower a Human Life Amendment. On the other hand, legislation without such an amendment is not assured of being a permanent solution.
Until such a Constitutional amendment is passed, Texas Right to Life will continue to spearhead the Pro-Life lobbying activities in Austin. The Texas state legislature convenes every odd-numbered year for 140 days during which time our legislative team works full time in Austin. We aggressively pursue the enactment of state laws that further buttress our mission of protecting innocent human life.
See both ADVANCE DIRECTIVE and WILL TO LIVE.
MARCH OF DIMES
TRTL supports the boycott of the March of Dimes (MOD) common in the Pro-Life movement across America. The MOD does not pay for or engage in abortions; however, they encourage mid-trimester genetic screening and do not discourage aborting "unfit" or non-perfect unborn children. More recently, the MOD has refused to change their policy supporting fetal tissue research and embryonic stem cell research. The Pro-Life alternative to the MOD is the Michael Fund.
Until our goal of total protection for the unborn is reached, TRTL supports and pursues legislation requiring parental notification or consent before an abortion is performed on a minor child. The involvement of the family could be crucial in helping the girl make decisions regarding an unplanned pregnancy.
TRTL urges the public to object to Planned Parenthood's anti-life activities. Planned Parenthood may have many worthwhile goals and activities, yet they remain the largest abortion provider in the world. Planned Parenthood is ideologically and financially committed to abortion ''rights'' and has been a key leader in the abortion movement.
TRTL views human beings as producers and problem solvers rather than mere consumers and problems. We accept the conclusion of experts who find the earth's resources and agricultural lands capable of supporting 2 to 10 times the earth's present population.
TRTL takes no position on those issues that do not have a direct bearing on the threats to innocent human life such as abortion, euthanasia, and infanticide. TRTL members are concerned about many issues, including those which affect the family, and many of our members have differing views on these issues. However, we are united in our belief that the right to life of every individual should be protected by law and society.
PUBLIC FUNDING OF ABORTIONS
Because TRTL is opposed to abortion, we also oppose the use of tax dollars to pay for the counseling, promotion, referral, and performance of abortions.
QUALITY OF LIFE
TRTL rejects the notion that a person's quality of life is a measure of the person's humanity. TRTL embraces the sanctity of human life ethic as the basis of each person's inalienable right to life.
Pregnancies resulting from rape constitute less than 2% of all pregnancies nationwide.4 In the case of rape, we assert the need to educate women to seek immediate medical attention after they are victimized. Instead of furthering the violence of rape with the violence of abortion, we believe women should be provided with compassionate health care. The unborn child is an innocent party and should not be destroyed as a ''solution'' to the abhorrent act of rape.
TRTL accepts that ethical judgments are often guided by religious conviction, and our members belong to many, or possibly no, religion. Religion is not necessary to recognize that current science affirms that human life begins at fertilization. As such, we have a duty to respect and protect human life from the moment of fertilization.
TRTL opposes the RU 486/prostaglandin abortion technique because this drug kills unborn babies whose hearts have begun to beat and has also injured and even killed women. We join numerous other Pro-Life groups in boycotting Danco, the company that manufactures and distributes this human pesticide. RU-486 is also often referred to as a 'therapeutic' or 'non-surgical' abortion.
SCHOOL BASED CLINICS
TRTL opposes establishing school based clinics (SBC) that exploit the school's authority to funnel a captive clientele of pregnant teenage girls to abortionists without involving the girls' parents in the decision. In addition to providing confidential abortion counseling and referrals, many SBC's promote abortion through sex education. Studies by SBC proponents show that SBC's do not reduce the incidence of teenage pregnancy.5
TRTL takes no stand on who should teach children about sexuality, but we oppose the inclusion of abortion, forms of the IUD, and those birth control pills which are abortifacient in sex education courses. We also assert the need to teach the sanctity of innocent human life from fertilization until natural death and object to teaching abortion as an option for addressing teen pregnancy.
SINGLE ISSUE VOTING
The Pro-Life vote is completely void of self-interest or economic gain. Additional issues that have influenced elections are unemployment, economic trends, environmental issues (including protecting the bald eagle and baby seals), foreign policy, terrorism, taxes, health care, and many others. These issues have continually had a strong influence on the way we vote. Yet throughout history the electorate has made the greatest impact when a single issue captures the hearts and minds of a majority of those voting and when they demand that their representatives in Congress and state legislatures protect the innocent. The Right to Life is such an issue.
As Pro-Life voters, we are called to a single issue of such magnitude that we cannot stand idle, but this single issue is the defense of all innocent human life, not only the unborn. Often Pro-Lifers are accused of voting on just abortion, which is a noble vote indeed, but a Pro-Life vote entails more than just voting to ban or limit abortion because the Pro-Life position encompasses many issues. As the biotech industry leads us into the unchartered territory of Brave New World science, our obligation is to defend innocent human life from the moment of fertilization until natural death, whether fertilization occurs in the laboratory or the womb. During all elections, voters must learn of the Pro-Life or pro-death convictions of the candidates for whom they vote. Because elected leaders make decisions regarding the future of our fellow citizens and our democratic republic, voters have a moral responsibility to make an informed decision. Embryonic stem cell research, public funding of abortion, parental involvement, depletion of the Social Security fund due to 45 million missing aborted workers and taxpayers, plus the end-of-life and euthanasia issues constitute more than one issue. Please keep in mind the millions of elderly, disabled, terminally ill, embryonic humans, expectant mothers, and unborn children either protected or threatened by your one vote.
TRTL supports legislation requiring that a husband be notified when his wife is considering aborting their unborn child. The husband has personal and compelling interests in the future of his unborn child and should be consulted before such irreversible action is taken to deprive him of his unborn child.
STEM CELL RESEARCH
TRTL supports research that can save the lives of human beings without causing harm to other lives. TRTL supports and promotes all forms of adult stem cell research; adult stem cells can be found in the placenta and umbilical cord blood of live births, and in teeth, hair, skin, fat, nasal cavity, bone marrow, and other places in the body. Approximately 58 diseases and health conditions have been successfully treated with adult stem cell therapies, which do not involve the destruction of innocent human life. We oppose all forms of research where living human embryos are destroyed, including destructive embryonic stem cell research and fetal tissue research.
TEST TUBE BABIES
See IN VITRO FERTILIZATION.
TRTL opposes volunteering or donating money to United Way agencies that support such groups as Planned Parenthood, America's largest abortion provider (see PLANNED PARENTHOOD). We have no position concerning United Way agencies that do not support organizations that counsel, promote, refer for, or provide abortions.
See also CLINIC VIOLENCE.
TRTL denounces and opposes violence, in or out of the womb, and condemns any violence directed against persons and property. We seek the furtherance of our goals and mission only through legal and peaceful means.
WILL TO LIVE
See also ADVANCE DIRECTIVE and EUTHANASIA.
Coupled with a medical power of attorney, a will to live or advance directive can be a helpful tool should you or a loved one become incapacitated and unable to make health care or medical decisions for yourselves. A Pro-Life will to live must be carefully written to avoid misinterpretation by attending physicians. Prior to crafting a will to live or advance directive, become familiar with the health care terms and possible treatment options. If you have prepared one, doctors and hospitals will rely on your will to live or advance directive as well as your medical power of attorney for direction. Once you become incapacitated, doctors will most likely follow the guidelines recorded in your advance directive-even if you then decide you want different treatment. Be sure to consult several Pro-Life medical specialists and several Pro-Life health care attorneys prior to finalizing any advance directive or will to live.
- E. Lenoski, Heartbeat, vol. 3, no. 4, Dec. 1980
- U.S. Dept. H.H.S., Nat. Center of Child Abuse, Child Maltreatment 259
- Family Planning Perspectives , July/August 1988 issue, page 170
- Family Planning Perspectives , July/August 1988 issue, page 170
- Whitehead, Barbara Dafoe, "The Failure of Sex Education", Atlantic Monthly, October 1994 issue