In the Texas House of Representatives, Byron Cook (R-Corsicana) is singlehandedly obstructing all priority Pro-Life legislation that will save lives, move the cultural conversation in the right direction to opposing abortion, and advance the Pro-Life movement toward the reversal of Roe v. Wade. Cook chairs the House Committee on State Affairs where Pro-Life bills are commonly heard and voted to the next step in passage. While stalling the real Pro-Life bills, Cook and other establishment Republicans are wasting time on weak legislation (fake, symbolic bills that do not save lives) that serves as campaign fodder for primary re-elections. These fake bills are not only ineffective or non-priority, but these bills are detrimental to the Pro-Life movement.
Below is a summary of the weak ‘Pro-Life’ measures that have been passed by Byron Cook in the House Committee on State Affairs, measures that are deceptively touted as legislative victories:
1. HB 35 by Byron Cook
Summary: Codify the rules at the state health department for the remains of victims of elective abortion.
Reality: While showing dignity to a victim of abortion is a noble gesture, the limited time frame of the Texas Legislature requires lawmakers to stop abortions before they occur, not merely regulate what happens to the body of a dead child after the abortion.
2. HB 200 by Cindy Burkett
Summary: Ban on partial-birth abortion and the sale or donation of tissues and organs after an abortion.
Reality: Partial birth abortions are already illegal in the United States; thus, prioritizing such legislation is a waste of time and resources. Again, the limited time frame of the Texas Legislature requires lawmakers to stop abortions before they occur, not merely dress up the process of burial.
3. HB 434 by Ron Simmons
Summary: Ban lawsuits through which parents sue a doctor when their child is born with a disability.
Reality: No data is available to prove that wrongful birth lawsuits are a problem deserving legislative attention. This legislation does not prevent abortions, nor will a ban on this type of legal action lead to overturning Roe v. Wade. In order to promote the sanctity of all innocent human lives, House leadership should instead work to pass legislation closing the “Cook” loophole that does not protect babies with disabilities from abortion. Because Cook will not protect unborn disabled children, he has stalled House Bill 1971 in the House Committee on State Affairs; HB 1971 would close the loophole and extend to disabled unborn children the same protections in the womb as other unborn children.
4. HB 3771 by Byron Cook – Addresses definition of abortion to ensure that treatment for ectopic pregnancies is not reported as abortion.
Reality: Treatment of ectopic pregnancy is currently not considered abortion in Texas abortion law. HB 3771 does not reduce the number of abortions and does not contribute to overturning Roe v. Wade.
5. HB 2962 by Giovanni Capriglione
Summary: Enacts rules that require abortionists and physicians to report abortion complications and follow-up care.
Reality: This requirement is already in the Texas Administrative Code. Again, prioritizing legislation that does not reduce abortions is a misuse of the limited time left in the 85th Session of the Texas Legislature. Furthermore, there are more comprehensive and meaningful reforms to abortion reporting that are being stalled by Byron Cook. This bill would need extensive language additions before being considered helpful to the Pro-Life cause.