When beloved Texas Right to Life founder, Dr. Joseph Graham, passed away last summer, we mourned the loss of a great hero and advocate for Life. But we also knew that Dr. Graham would continue to work for a Pro-Life Texas from his new home.
During his life, Dr. Graham constantly sought new ways to be a voice for the defenseless—writing, demonstrating, leading, teaching, building – in a word, using all of his talents for the good of others. Dr. Graham’s achievements were vast, including his foresight and vision in founding our grassroots organization, Texas Right to Life. Because of Dr. Graham’s dedication and other-centeredness, Texas Right to Life grew from humble origins into a prestigious state affiliate of National Right to Life, the premier Pro-Life organization of Texas, and the largest Pro-Life group in the South. Thanks to Dr. Graham, we are a multi-faceted and successful organization that has played an indispensable role in saving hundreds of thousands of lives in Texas.
Today, on what would have been Dr. Graham’s 89th birthday, the Texas Legislature took the first steps toward protecting vulnerable Texans that we have seen in the 84th Legislative Session. The Texas House of Representatives waited until the very last minute to accomplish these Pro-Life victories, but today we saw the passage of two critical reforms that have been sought by the entire Pro-Life community in Texas for many years.
First, this morning the House passed House Bill 3994, which reforms the judicial bypass process for minors seeking secret abortions without parental consent. Current law is riddled with anti-Life loopholes allowing abortion mills and attorneys to exploit sexually abused teens and to take advantage of their parents’ lack of involvement. The bill, sponsored by Representative Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria) and fortified with important amendments by Representative Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth), offers long-awaited protections to minor girls and their parents.
This afternoon also saw the passage of House Bill 3074 by Representative Drew Springer (R- Gainesville). The bill is a first crucial step toward protecting vulnerable Texas hospital patients from the draconian Texas Advance Directives Act (TADA), which allows doctors and hospitals to starve and dehydrate patients without their knowledge or consent. There is still much work to be done to reform and overturn TADA, but HB 3074 ensures that doctors cannot remove artificially administered nutrition and hydration (AANH) from their patients (importantly, patients who do not want or cannot assimilate AANH are not forced by HB 3074 to receive them).
Earlier in this “birthday week” of Dr. Graham, Pro-Lifers witnessed two other victories. First, in Texas, the McKinney Planned Parenthood referral center closed. According to McKinney 40 Days for Life: “After four 40 Days for life campaigns and 7 years of prayer, McKinney is once again free of Planned Parenthood! That’s right! According to McKinney Planned Parenthood’s own webpage, today May 12… is the last day they were open.” Pro-Life activism works, and McKinney has proven the effectiveness of the grassroots movement with Tuesday’s Planned Parenthood closure.
Finally, on Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a monumental piece of legislation that seeks to protect pain-capable preborn children from the excruciating pain of abortion. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act passed the House by a margin of 242-184 after months of dedicated commitment by Pro-Life legislators, who faced opposition not only from Democrats and anti-Life lobbyists, but also from rogue Pro-Lifers in their own party.
We cannot think of a better way to have celebrated Dr. Graham’s birthday than with these four victories!