Last week, the Republican Party of Texas Convention convened and began the diligent process of establishing the recommended rules, platform, and legislative priorities of the Republican Party of Texas (RPT). After Pro-Life activists from around the state rallied to tell their local Republican leaders to support strong Pro-Life resolutions and legislative priorities, two committees endorsed new Pro-Life policy recommendations that were affirmed on Saturday by an overwhelming supermajority of delegates.
At the state convention, Texas Right to Life joined the grassroots movement in calling for the adoption of two critical Pro-Life initiatives: adding the Preborn NonDiscrimination Act (PreNDA) to the platform as well as endorsing the policy as a legislative priority and adding explicit language in the platform calling on the Legislature to repeal the draconian “Ten-Day Law” in the Texas Advance Directives Act (TADA).
PreNDA would protect preborn children from discriminatory abortions based on race, sex, or suspected disability. Moreover, PreNDA would eliminate discriminatory loopholes currently existing in Texas law that put children with suspected disabilities in jeopardy of being aborted. PreNDA would also provide information on life-affirming social and medical services, such as perinatal palliative care, to parents whose child may have a lethal condition.
Repealing the unethical, anti-Life “Ten-Day Law” would protect vulnerable patients from the unprecedented and unconstitutional process in Texas law that currently allows physicians to deny patients basic life-sustaining treatment that they have requested with just 10 days’ notice.
Plank 88 of the 2016 RPT Platform states that “All innocent human life must be respected and safeguarded from fertilization until natural death.” Although this is important language, the fact that Texas law does not fulfill this Pro-Life principle even after years of Republican leadership calls attention to the need for more specific language. Both PreNDA and TADA reform seek to protect innocent human lives that are systematically neglected by discriminatory elective abortions and anti-Life quality-of-life ethics in healthcare.
Texas Right to Life testified on, provided materials for, and assisted the platform and legislative priorities committees as they considered and debated both Pro-Life policies in both the temporary and permanent committees. After four days of deliberations, the platform committee included both issues in the proposed 2018 RPT platform. Furthermore, the legislative priorities endorsed PreNDA as an RPT legislative priority for the upcoming 86th Session of the Texas Legislature. Texas Right to Life commends the members of both committees for endorsing these Pro-Life priority resolutions.
Delegates at the RPT state convention then considered the Pro-Life measures in the proposed platform and the proposed legislative priorities in a full convention session. On Saturday, close to 9,000 RPT delegates reviewed and voted on each individual plank of the committee reports, where they could specifically approve of the Pro-Life language. PreNDA was approved by 91% of delegates, and the medical ethics plank calling for the repeal of the “Ten-Day Law” was approved by 95% of delegates. These results are undeniable and conclusive: Texas Republicans demand that the Legislature take definitive steps to protect all innocent Texans.
When a motion was made to remove the endorsement of PreNDA legislation from the Pro-Life legislative priority, John Seago, Texas Right to Life’s Legislative Director, successfully advocated for the life-saving, prudent incrementalism that PreNDA represents in front of thousands of our state’s most passionate and involved Republicans. The vast majority of Republicans voted to keep PreNDA in the legislative priority list and the Republican Party will officially advocate for the policy’s passage during the 86th Session of the Texas Legislature next year.
These major victories at the RPT state convention should encourage Pro-Life Texans. We are continuing to gain ground and momentum, and Texas Right to Life looks forward to making meaningful strides in the upcoming legislative session with strong support from the Republican Party of Texas.