Regrettably, Senator Hutchison does not measure up to Texas Right to Life's Pro-Life standards. Her position is that first-trimester abortions are acceptable and need to remain legal–a position that she has verbalized to Texas Right to Life more than once. However, since the vast majority of the 1.4 million annual abortions in America are committed during the first trimester, Texas babies would not be protected under “Governor” Hutchison.
Senator Hutchison has also used the term viability, meaning that the decision to abort should be left between pregnant women and their doctors up to the point at which the baby can survive outside the womb. The viability point differs depending on the development and needs of each infant. Again, most abortions are committed prior to the point of viability; thus, abortion for the most part would always remain legal under Senator Hutchison's standard.
Additionally, Senator Hutchison unapologetically seeks government funding for and favors embryonic stem cell research. She does not recognize the personhood of the embryo. If she does in fact consider the embryo to be human, then her approval of its destruction is even more troubling.
The confusion centers on her 94% Pro-Life voting record from National Right to Life. The US Senate has never voted on legislation to restrict or outlaw first-trimester abortions, nor has the Senate considered the viability issue. Consequently, Senator Hutchison's voting record has neither exposed her true position nor blemished her record.
During the partial-birth abortion hearings and debates in March of 2003, Senator Harkin (D-Iowa) offered an amendment that re-affirmed Roe v. Wade as appropriate jurisprudence for the country. He did so in order to allow pro-choice senators and abortion advocates to ban the barbaric procedure without jeopardizing their pro-abortion credentials. Senator Hutchison voted for the [URL=”http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=108&session=1&vote=00048″]Harkin amendment[/URL]. The text of the amendment is as follows:
[INDENT]It is the sense of the Senate that the decision of the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade was appropriate and secures an important constitutional right; and such decision should not be overturned. [/INDENT]
At Senator Hutchison's direction, her then-chief-of-staff personally called the directors of Texas Right to Life to inform us ahead of time that she fully intended to vote in support of the Harkin amendment.
Senator Hutchison also opposed the confirmation of a Bush-nominated federal judge, Leon Holmes, who was well-known for his Pro-Life and religious convictions. Holmes, nominated, for a seat on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, is the former president of
Arkansas Right to Life, and he also helped pass an amendment to the Arkansas constitution that prohibits taxpayer funding of virtually all abortions.
Hutchison again notified the directors of Texas Right to Life about her opposition to his confirmation before that vote, citing her distaste for an article penned by Holmes about the Biblical role of women. She was fully aware that the vote on Holmes was considered a Pro-Life vote by both Texas and National Right to Life (and NARAL and Planned Parenthood). Judge Holmes was confirmed without her support.
In 1994, Senator Hutchinson voted in favor of the FACE Act, a bill that created new specific criminal and civil penalties for obstructing or interfering with anyone entering an abortion mill. This law was written and has been used to penalize Pro-Life sidewalk counselors exercising their constitutional rights to minister to girls, women, and men entering abortion mills. The danger of the FACE Act is its obtuseness; the bill allows abortion clinic staff, clinic clients, federal officials, state officials, and certain others to file lawsuits against persons who they say have violated the act or intend to do so. The bill was signed into law by President Clinton on May 26, 1994.
More recently, her statements in the press have been, “My position is I think there can be an ability for a woman, until viability, to make a choice.” She is quick to add that she also supports common sense restrictions on abortion, such as parental notice or consent.
One concern with Senator Hutchison as governor is that she may work behind the scenes to stop or weaken Pro-Life legislation headed to her desk if such measures are stronger and more protective than her own views. She says that she agrees with all the Pro-Life legislation passed in Texas, and such approval is welcome, but as governor, she would be called upon for more than a post-facto nod.
While some may find fault with Governor Perry on other issues, he has always been straightforward, helpful, and true to his Pro-Life convictions. He has intervened to stop anti-Life legislation on a number of occasions, which has been crucial, and he has helped clear obstacles when necessary. Every one of Governor Perry's judicial appointees adheres to a strict constructionist style of jurisprudence; neither do they find a right to privacy in the penumbra of the Constitution, nor do they legislate from the bench. Governor Perry's appointments have created the largest, most conservative judicial body in America (and possibly the world).
While Texas Right to Life enjoys an open and cordial relationship with Senator Hutchison despite her pro-choice views, we question if she will be as accessible, reliable, or open to the type of assistance sometimes needed from our governor. We also harbor grave concerns about her judicial appointments and appointments to other posts that oversee biomedical research and various branches of our state's health agencies.
In summary, Texas Right to Life proudly supports the re-election of Governor Rick Perry and opposes the election of pro-choice Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison for Governor.