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A few months ago, Texas Right to Life released the Pro-Life legislative scores for the 2013 Texas Legislative sessions, and the results surprised many voters and elected officials.
Most legislators have thanked us for acknowledging their work by giving them credit and high marks for advancing the Pro-Life cause in 2013! Yet they are the ones to be thanked — for taking the arrows during committee hearings and floor debate, tolerating the angry mob, and enduring media and personal attacks. We just report who helps and who hurts the cause. Pro-Life legislators are the real heroes.
In addition to points for co-authorship of our priority bills, Texas Right to Life's scores are calculated on every single vote on bills dealing with Pro-Life issues that we deemed crucial (some very solid but not crucial Pro-Life bills were not included in our scoring), including measures that jeopardize — rather than protect — the sanctity of human life.
Because the majority of members in our State House are Pro-Life, they enjoy a healthy competition to outrank each other by never missing a vote, by carrying a bill or an amendment, and by adding their names to our bills. So many legislators added their names to Texas Right to Life’s priority bills as joint authors and as co-authors, even when our bills were stalled. These champs did so again during the special sessions, and their scores reflect their support of our bills. Our rankings and scores were carefully analyzed and calculated, and we are now in the enviable position of so many legislators tying for the top spots. An impressive number earned bonus points, scoring over 100% Pro-Life.
While there was an historic Pro-Life victory this year in Texas with the passage of House Bill 2 during the second special session, an extremely dangerous bill was also considered during the regular legislative session (Senate Bill 303 and House Bill 1444).
Seventeen other state and national Pro-Life and Pro-Family groups joined Texas Right to Life’s opposition to this bill, recognizing it as an outright expansion of involuntary euthanasia.
The proponents of the bill argued the bill was an improvement over current law; however, as the only organization in Texas that actually helps patients navigate the futility process, we can distinguish between patient protections and hospital power-grabs.
SB 303 and HB 1444 worsened the current anti-life law by giving doctors and hospitals more power over patients to deny life-sustaining treatment and to write unauthorized Do-Not-Resuscitate orders even if the measures did give the patient a couple of extra days to try and escape a death sentence given by a death panel.
Some legislators have complained about being penalized for supporting a bill that promotes involuntary euthanasia. SB 303 and HB 1444 included nuanced language that appeared to require some type of notice (not even consent) to a patient about a Do-Not-Resuscitate or Do-Not-Attempt-Resuscitation Order, but the fine print of the bill returned the final say about the DNAR order and medical treatment to the so-called “ethics committee” at the facility. Our analysis of SB 303 and HB 1444 can be found here.
Bottom line is that the members, directors, staff, and affiliated local chapters of Texas Right to Life seek to articulate and protect the Right to Life of defenseless human beings, born and unborn, based on our belief that each human being, from the moment of fertilization until natural death, has an immeasurable dignity and inalienable Right to Life. We work for the rights of the unborn (including the nascent humans created in laboratories), the disabled, the sick, the elderly, and the unloved in a world where the lack of respect for innocent human life has escalated to the point where we are all at risk.
Anyone who supported SB 303 or HB 1444 either does not share the mission and goals of Texas Right to Life or did not understand what the extremely tricky, deadly language actually would have done, and support for SB 303 or HB 1444 is reflected in our scores, as it must be. Each and every legislator was notified about the dangers of SB 303 and HB 1444 — there was no mistaking Texas Right to Life’s position, the position shared by 17 major conservative local and national organizations. In an era where the Pro-Life battles are drawing us into hospital board rooms –especially with the full implementation of ObamaCare looming, we must not leave that battlefield unmanned.
Legislators are free to support anti-abortion bills and euthanasia bills, but they don’t qualify for high rankings with Texas Right to Life. And what happens in Austin no longer stays in Austin. Texas Right to Life owes our success to our members, and we feel obligated to publicize who help and hurt the Pro-Life cause.
2014 is an election year, which we consider accountability season. If your elected official doesn’t measure up, hold him or her accountable by electing someone who will vote to protect life in all stages.
And if you don't agree with our belief that patient’s life, no matter how able or disabled, trumps hospital autonomy, we are probably not the right Pro-Life organization for you to support. However, when a hospital tries to remove treatment from you or a loved one against your will, you know whom to call. And we will be there for you.
Please take a few minutes to see if your elected official stood up for all innocent human life last year in Austin.
Even if you do not know who represents you, click the link above and click the “Find your representatives” button to find out.
Once you have found your legislator’s score, click his or her name so see their “Score Details” and find exactly how your legislator voted on every single Pro-Life measure in 2013.