Good riddance, Keffer: Political posturing with patients and the preborn

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60,000 or more innocent babies will die from abortion in 2016 in Texas because only one substantial Pro-Life bill passed in the recently adjourned 84th Session of the Texas Legislature.  Many Pro-Life bills were introduced, only to languish in committees while those in House leadership (Republicans, of course) played unfortunate political games with innocent human Life, holding hostage the protection of preborn babies.

No fewer than five members of the House of Representatives have reported to Texas Right to Life on the extreme measures by House Leadership to avoid passing any of Texas Right to Life’s priority legislation.

Jim Keffer (R-Eastland) who announced his retirement from the Texas House, ran this not-so-covert seek and destroy operation and reportedly told his colleagues, “Fall in line and support these other bills and not Texas Right to Life’s Pro-Life legislation.”  Oddly, Keffer achieved a strong Pro-Life voting record in previous sessions, and Texas Right to Life had neither ever considered him as opposition nor ever worked against his re-election.

In fact, despite an attractive, hard-working opposing candidate in the primary election of 2014, Texas Right to Life opted not to be involved in Keffer’s race because other races took priority over his, and, at one point, Keffer was considered an ally.

Although Keffer undertook a personal mission against Texas Right to Life and our Life-saving bills, his real victims are the unborn who will still be sacrificed at the altar of choice…and then resold as chopped up body parts for profit.

These copycat “Pro-Life” bills that Keffer supported and co-authored included NO real safeguards for pregnant women.  Instead, the feel-good-sound-good bills aimed to simply check off the following boxes:

 Pass one and only one bill out of the State House that “sounds” Pro-Life enough for campaign purposes.

 Make sure the token bill is not too controversial, too strong, or takes too much time so the anti-Life Democrats and the Republicans In Name Only (RINOs) don’t break up the coalition that unites the progressive House Leadership.

Stop Texas Right to Life’s legislative successes so they will quit permanently ending the political careers of RINOs (e.g. Bob Deuell, John Carona, Dan Branch, etc.).

An in-depth comparison of Texas Right to Life’s bills to the copycat bills can be found here.

In attempts to marginalize Texas Right to Life during this 84th Session of the Texas Legislature, a few House members held a meeting in front of three members of the press at which Keffer served as the master of ceremonies.  During the meeting, Keffer was asked about funding issues, and he turned to his colleagues, obviously rattled, “Does anyone know the answer to this?”  Pro-Life champion Representative Jodie Laubenberg (R-Parker) covered Keffer’s ignorance of a foundational Pro-Life Texas program by explaining how the Texas Women’s Health Program does not include abortion-affiliated clinics.

Even more surprising for one who considers himself Pro-Life, Keffer called the legislation he was championing “anti-abortion bills.”  That’s Pro-Life 101 and so 70’s.  Try “Pro-Woman,” “Pro-Life,” or “Pro-Child” to discuss protecting the unborn…but “anti-abortion?”  Such negative terminology is used by the liberal press to keep the focus off the baby or the mother.  Despite holding office since 1997, Keffer has obviously had little if any experience publicly discussing – never mind defending – Pro-Life issues.

So did Keffer get his groove back in 2015?

The citizens of Eastland seem fed up with Keffer’s fealty to leadership, which has left their businesses over-regulated, over-taxed, and under-represented, and with his mere lip service to their family values—values that Keffer historically has shared.  Most of the business and community leaders offered their support to the brave soul who filed to challenge Keffer in the Republican Primary Election before the 84th Legislature had even adjourned. 

Any victory of Texas Right to Life marks a victory for the Lives saved by our policies and our programs: a victory for the women who are spared the lifelong effects of abortion—an irreversible decision; a victory for the babies allowed to grow, be born, be loved, love, and make a mark on the world; a victory for hospitalized patients whose Lives hang in the balance.  In his heart of hearts, Keffer likely would agree.

But over the years, the maintenance of power seemed to cloud Keffer’s passion for the Pro-Life cause.  If he and others in leadership want a Pro-Life victory, why not make the victory count with strong, enforceable measures?  Why spend the political capital, time, and energy and shed blood on weak, do-nothing bills?  Why only one substantial bill when other states pass multiple Pro-Life bills during their legislative sessions?  Why would Keffer have drawn first blood against Texas Right to Life, an organization that espouses his own personal views?

Texas Right to Life will neither cover nor fear any politician, no matter how powerful.  Our job is to formulate and advocate Pro-Life policies and help re-elect those who advance our mission and goals.  Keffer threw the first punch against a strong Pro-Life agenda, and he was likely to be knocked out in March of 2016 at the Republican primary ballot box.

Keffer likely did the math on his fealty to leadership impacting the fealty of his constituents to him.  In this respect, he took the high road and resigned, paving the way for fresh, new, true, conservative, Pro-Life leadership in House District 60.  For that, we are grateful.

However, we also did the math on how much Keffer’s “service” will continue to cost Texas taxpayers after finishing the current term.  Keffer will draw a minimum of $57,500 per year in pension benefits from the State of Texas for the rest of his life.

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