2017 was the most successful year in the history of Texas Right to Life, formally incorporated in 1973.
Most notably, 2017 yielded several monumental legislative victories, a substantial growth in the number of Dr. Joseph Graham College Fellows, the forced retirement of several of the most anti-Life Republican members of the Texas House of Representatives, and record financial support for all of Texas Right to Life’s life-saving programs and projects.
The Texas Resistance grows on all fronts of the culture war.
The highlight of the 2017 85th Sessions of the Texas Legislature was the passage of the Dismemberment Abortion Ban as an amendment to a related Pro-Life bill. The Dismemberment Abortion Ban protects preborn babies from the barbaric and inhumane second trimester procedure in which the child is killed by being torn limb from limb and removed from his or her mother’s womb while his or her tiny heart is still beating. Political games by the Republicans In Name Only (RINOs) in the leadership of the Texas House prevented the passage of the Dismemberment Abortion Ban as a standalone bill, but the Texas Right to Life legislative team and the Freedom Caucus of the Texas House successfully strategized to pass the ban as an amendment after House leadership killed the bill. Throughout the session, Texas Right to Life earned more media (local and national) coverage for the Dismemberment Abortion Ban than any other Texas Pro-Life legislative measure in 2017.
During the First Called Special Session of the 85th Texas Legislature, Texas Right to Life worked with Pro-Life champions to successfully pass Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform after this measure had been thwarted by political games by the Texas House RINOs. The legislation removes elective abortion coverage from standard health insurance benefits offered by private and state employee plans; automatic coverage of abortion was also removed from the public plans subsidized by the Affordable Care Act (So sorry, Obama). During the special session, Pro-Life legislators secured another important victory years in the making: Patient Consent for Do-Not-Resuscitate (DNR) Orders, ensuring that patient or surrogate consent is obtained before a DNR is placed on a patient. The days of doctors or hospitals placing a secret DNR on a Texas patient against his or her will or even without his or her knowledge are over.
In addition to the many legislative efforts and triumphs in 2017, Texas Right to Life’s educational outreach remained a priority. In January, over 200 college students from across the state attended Texas Right to Life’s annual Boots on the Ground conference in Austin to learn more in-depth Pro-Life strategy. In the spring, Texas Right to Life made a leap of faith and selected the largest class ever, 40 students, for the Dr. Joseph Graham Fellowship for College Pro-Life Leaders. With the new students, the program has expanded to 77 Fellows on 29 campuses, including four brand new groups at colleges and universities that did not previously have Pro-Life groups. Texas Right to Life has now built the largest Pro-Life farm-team in the world. Some of these students will become Pro-Life state leaders, doctors, engineers, lawyers, teachers, etc. More importantly, these fellows will one day become staunch Pro-Life mothers and fathers, rearing yet another generation of Pro-Life warriors. The fellowship is a fundamental part of the long game played by Texas Right to Life to ensure a Pro-Life future.
Texas Right to Life engaged supporters across the state through many events. Without the dedicated support of Pro-Life advocates, the life-saving work of Texas Right to Life would not be possible. Events, with 1,000 people like the 20th Annual Celebration of Life in Houston, are an opportunity to inform members about the depth and breadth of Texas Right to Life’s work. In addition to the Houston Celebration of Life, Texas Right to Life hosted events in North Texas, the Permian Basin, South Texas, and San Antonio.
Texas Right to Life continued efforts to engage supporters, especially young professionals, through service events and social activities. In online engagement, Texas Right to Life achieved 300,000 likes on Facebook.
We delivered our message through one on one meetings, special events, traditional publications, and state-of-the-art social media platforms, challenging Texans to choose between us, a real Pro-Life organization that actually saves lives, and the fake establishment groups. Our media outreach and fundraising and development increased member support by 25% over 2016’s record level of support. We are now the largest Pro-Life organization in the entire South.
Christmas came early this year when anti-Life members of the Texas House members began to announce their retirements after the conclusion of the 85th Sessions of the Texas Legislature. The two biggest frauds, House Speaker Joe Straus and Chairman of the House Committee on State Affairs Byron “Election Thief” Cook announced on the same day that they would not be returning to the House. There are now 13 House members who worked against Life and against Texas Right to Life who will not be standing for reelection. The State House in 2019 will be a far more Pro-life chamber, but we still have quite a few more RINOs to remove from the Texas capitol and from all levels of government.
Although 2017 was not an election year, Texas Right to Life Political Action Committee was already preparing for the 2018 elections, especially the Texas Primary Election on March 6, 2018.
Thus, the PAC team recently completed an extensive, statewide vetting campaign of candidates for office at all levels of government who seek our endorsement, which is a rigorous process. This involved dozens of interviews in three different parts of the state, meeting with more than 70 candidates, and conducting countless hours of research. Before the close of 2017, Texas Right to Life PAC issued scores of endorsements, and therefore, begins 2018 poised for an aggressive campaign strategy for races across the state to elect the most solid, Pro-Life leaders in the history of our Texas government.
As an added bonus, Texas Right to Life recruited a record number of Pro-Life women to run for the Texas House of Representatives and United States House of Representatives, including Texas Right to Life General Counsel, Emily Kebodeaux Cook, and long-time supporters and activists Kathaleen Wall, Susanna Dokupil, and Jill Wolfskil.
2017 was a year of historic growth and accomplishment in legislative victories, educational training, media outreach, candidate recruitment, and donor support for Texas Right to Life.
In Texas, the Pro-Life Resistance is defeating the establishment and their culture of death, demonstrating to all of America that victory can be won.
Join us in 2018 for another exhilarating year of saving innocent human lives and advancing the Culture of Life in Texas.