In conjunction with the 2017 Pro-Life Scorecard for the Regular and Special Sessions of the 85th Texas Legislature, Texas Right to Life published a 2017 Pro-Life Heroes list and a 2017 Disappointments List, highlighting specific legislators. This article is part of an ongoing series to explain how specific elected officials earned the title as a Pro-Life Hero or a Disappointment.
The sixth most liberal Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives, Lance Gooden (R-Terrell) scored a 90% on the Pro-Life Scorecard. Although this may seem like a respectable Pro-Life score, Gooden’s role in killing Pro-Life legislation earned a place on Texas Right to Life’s 2017 Disappointments list.
Gooden took an outrageously bad vote against Life during the regular session. Current Texas law does not protect unborn babies with disabilities from late-term abortion. Representative Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler) offered an amendment that would have closed this current anti-Life loophole. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana), another 2017 Disappointment who recently announced that he will not seek re-election to the Texas House, moved to table the amendment. Gooden sided with the anti-Life Democrats, and Straus henchman, Byron Cook, and opposed protecting unborn children with disabilities from discriminatory late abortions.
One of Gooden’s lesser known anti-Life roles during the regular session was his leadership in killing Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform. The Senate added the legislation as an amendment to House Bill 3124, a bill authored by Gooden. When HB 3124 returned to the House for a concurring vote, strengthened with Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform language, the Speaker of the House ruled that the amendment was not germane to the bill, thereby killing the Pro-Life insurance policy. However, this motion by the Speaker requires the consent of the bill’s author. Instead of defending the Pro-Life amendment language, Gooden acquiesced to the Speaker, killing his own bill and taking this Pro-Life Insurance Reform down along with it.
Thankfully, Governor Greg Abbott was not willing to let the moderate leadership and apathetic House members stand in the way of this widely supported Pro-Life priority policy. When Governor Abbott called a special session to address twenty specific policies left undone by House leadership during the regular session, he specifically named the Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform bill, which passed and was signed into law during the special session, despite the House’s anti-Life antics.
The voters of House District 4 deserve a member who will courageously defend Pro-Life policies, rather than obstruct Life-saving legislation.
Click for Gooden’s full scorecard and the commentary on how he voted on each individual Pro-Life public vote scored by Texas Right to Life.