Memorial Day: the 83rd Session of the Texas Legislature was drawing to a demoralizing close. The collusion of anti-Life Democrats and Establishment bulls ensured the futility of tireless efforts by Texas Right to Life and dedicated Pro-Life elected officials to pass Texas Right to Life Priority Bills. The exhaustion of Pro-Lifers was tangible. But a glimmer of hope for Pro-Life victory was on the horizon: on June 11, Governor Rick Perry called a Special Session to address redistricting. Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst asked Gov. Perry to add consideration of Pro-Life legislation to the agenda.
June 12: Senator Glen Hegar and Representative Jodie Laubenberg, both of whom carried Texas Right to Life’s Priority Bills during the regular session, introduced companion Pro-Life bills in the Senate and House (SB 5). Debate over Senate Bill 5 dangled precariously at the close of the Special Session. Our Texas Right to Life Legislative Team worked furiously to secure timely support and ensure that the voices of Pro-Life constituents across the state were heard and heeded by their elected officials. Containing protections for some pain-capable preborn children and crucial health and safety reforms, the majority of SB 5 began as an aggregate of Texas Right to Life Priority Bills for the 83rd Session of the Texas Legislature. Working against the sluggish Republican Establishment in the House and belligerent Democrats, Texas Right to Life galvanized elected officials to heed the voices of Pro-Life Texans.
June 25: Enter Wendy Davis. The senator from Fort Worth strutted onto the floor in now-infamous pink sneakers and commanded the floor for eleven hours. She droned on for hour upon precious hour, regurgitating every dishonest soundbite in the abortion cartel’s playbook in a filibuster attempt. The window of hope for Pro-Life progress in the biennium narrowed as Davis refused to yield the floor.
Cecile Richards, NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, and buses full of anti-Life rent-a-protesters nearly tasted victory. The clock ran out, and hope for Pro-Life progress in 2013 seemed lost. Texas Right to Life staff and Pro-Life legislators knew that Davis’ filibuster was a sham. The question was whether the powerful Establishment would acknowledge that Davis failed to abide by filibuster rules. They did. While the filibuster was stopped, anti-Life pandemonium broke loose in the Capitol and abortion activists prevented the Texas Senate from finishing their vote before the deadline. SB 5 was dead.
June 26: Governor Perry acknowledged that the will of the Pro-Life majority had been maligned by a radical fringe ideology and called a second Special Session. The Pro-Life Omnibus Bill that was SB 5 reemerged as House Bill 2, again authored and sponsored by Texas Right to Life’s Hegar-Laubenberg duo. The fate of thousands of pain-capable preborn children and innumerable Texas women hung in the balance as Pro-Lifers from across the state flooded Austin. A sea of peaceful Texans clad in blue gave witness to the strength of the state’s Pro-Life conviction. Texas Right to Lifedocumented the historic events.
July 18: Three weeks into the second Special Session, victory was secured as Governor Perry signed HB 2 into law alongside Texas Right to Life’s Legislative Team. Bucking the rancorous anti-Life minority with successful Pro-Life efforts was gratifying, but that’s not what sustained our staff – both in Austin and back home at the Houston headquarters – awake through sleepless nights of research and vigilant in the face of backroom deals with Establishment cronies who tried to derail Pro-Life efforts. What kept us going was the hope that our success would save tiny Texans from the excruciating pain of an elective abortion, and that our refusal to concede would protect Texas women from the predatory antics of Big Abortion.
We’re galvanized by the knowledge that our success will blaze a trail for other states to follow. Make no mistake: HB 2’s journey to the Supreme Court of the United States is a testament to the strength of the law, which was only secured by the unyielding Pro-Life dedication of our team, Pro-Life elected officials, and Pro-Life Texans who answered the call to reinforce the historic legislative effort in Austin. We hope and pray that SCOTUS Justices will acknowledge the constitutionality of HB 2. Our team will continue to pursue ever greater victories until abortion ceases to threaten anylives on Texas soil.