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.
Being a freshman legislator did not slow Representative Valoree Swanson (R-Spring) down in her advocacy for preborn Texans during the 85th Texas Legislature. Swanson not only earned a perfect 100% Pro-Life score, but she was also the only female invited to join the newly-formed Freedom Caucus in the Texas House, a group of House members who negotiated and secured every Pro-Life victory in the House during the Sessions of the 85th Texas Legislature.
Representative Swanson has long been a leading activist, working in the trenches on campaigns to help elect conservative candidates. However, when her own state representative strayed from the Pro-Life movement and actively began working against Pro-Life legislation in Austin, Swanson stepped up to challenge her in the Republican Primary. The incumbent actively blocked Pro-Life legislation through the legislative process, authored weak, meaningless, and distracting Pro-Life bills. The former incumbent also co-authored anti-Life measures that endangered vulnerable patients in Texas hospitals. For all these reasons, the incumbent achieved a low Pro-Life score, and Representative Swanson offered House District 150 a truly Pro-Life alternative. The grassroots and voters responded favorably and voted Valoree Swanson to go to Austin to represent their Pro-Life values.
Representative Swanson stood ready for the fight and sought opportunities to advance Pro-Life policies. Swanson authored her own Pro-Life legislation in addition to co-authoring all the Pro-Life Priority bills. Her own House Bill 1049 filed during the regular session showed her ardent desire to stop the injustice of elective abortion in Texas. Her bill, like all other substantial stand-alone Pro-Life legislation, was killed in the House Committee on State Affairs by the Chair Byron Cook (R-Corsicana).
Representative Swanson explored alternative ways to advance the Pro-Life movement; she authored a Pro-Life floor amendment to House Bill 2962. Though the bill was merely a technical data collection bill on abortion, Swanson and the Freedom Caucus took advantage of this opportunity and strengthened the reporting requirements for complications of abortions. Swanson’s amendment would have required additional reporting on minors seeking elective abortions to ensure that parental involvement laws are being followed. This policy ultimately passed as a stand-alone bill during the special session after Governor Greg Abbott called the legislature back for unfinished agenda items, including stronger reporting requirements on minors seeking abortions in Texas.
Texas Right to Life is grateful for Representative Swanson’s consistent and unwavering support on all Pro-Life issues, and we look forward to continuing to work with her in upcoming sessions.
Click for Swanson’s full scorecard and the commentary on how she voted on each individual Pro-Life public vote scored by Texas Right to Life.