The 84th Texas Legislative Session proved to be challenging for the Pro-Life movement. As we previously reported in detail, while there were a few legislative victories, most Pro-Life advocates were disappointed by the missed opportunities and political games that shaped the session. Nevertheless, because of the tireless efforts and relentless commitment of a handful of elected officials, multiple votes on Pro-Life policies were brought to the House and Senate floors.
The one priority Pro-Life bill that passed this session was House Bill 3994, which substantially reforms the judicial bypass process by which a pregnant teen may petition a judge for permission to undergo an abortion without parental knowledge or consent. In both chambers, anti-Life legislators attempted to weaken this legislation by floor amendments.
Multiple Pro-Life votes were also taken this session on the state’s budget bill, including two amendments that keep the abortion industry out of sex education programs and one that eliminates anti-Life curricula. Additionally, a vote was taken on a budget amendment that would have protected taxpayers from paying for the destruction of human embryos for the purposes of scientific research.
Pro-Life Amendments to House Bill 2510 were debated and voted on the House floor. One amendment would have simply strengthened abortion reporting to ensure more accurate and complete abortion statistics. A second was the amendment that would have closed the loophole in current Texas law that allows for late elective abortions on preborn children who have a “fetal abnormality.”
In most Legislative Sessions, the most important votes and negotiations occur long before a vote is taken on the floor with the public watching. In most cases, Legislative Committees and Committee chairmen have the most direct influence on which legislation moves through the process and which legislation dies in their committee without further consideration. Two of the most important committees in the House are State Affairs and the Calendars Committee. In the 84th Legislative Session these two committees took critical votes to move Pro-Life bills, as well as dangerous legislation, to the House floor. Because of the decisive effect of these votes and Texas Right to Life’s work to inform these committees regarding legislation, several committee votes are included in the 84th Session Pro-Life Scorecard.
Texas Right to Life releases the Pro-Life Scorecard in order to inform Texas voters exactly where their elected officials stand on these issues. Campaign speeches and mailers touting a politician as a “Pro-Life Champion” are cheap: Pro-Life Texans want to see strong votes and a solid record for protecting pregnant women, preborn children, and vulnerable patients.
Scorecards are one of the most reliable tools available to Texans who want the truth about who leads, who follows, and who is subverting Pro-Life legislative efforts in Austin.
Stay Tuned to www.TexasRightToLife.com for a full scorecard release for the 2015 84th Legislative Session as well as Texas Right to Life Pro-Life Heroes and dishonorable mentions.
Votes counted on the 84th Session Pro-Life Scorecard for the House of Representatives:
House Bill 1: State’s Budget for 2016-2017
- Voting in favor of Amendment 53 by Representative Leach that prohibits abortion providers and their affiliates from teaching or providing the curriculum for sex education classes in Texas’ schools (6 points)
- Voting against a weakening amendment to Pro-Life Amendment 54 by Representative Molly White (1 point)
- Voting in favor of Amendment 267 by Representative Scott Turner that prohibited direct or indirect taxpayer funding of embryo-destroying scientific research (6 points)
- Voting in favor of a motion to instruct Budget Conferees to keep Pro-Life amendments in the final version of the budget (1 point)
House Bill 3994: Pro-Life Judicial Bypass Reform
- Voting against each of the 13 weakening amendments (1 point each)
- Voting in favor of Pro-Life HB 3994 on 2nd Reading (3 points)
- Voting in favor of Pro-Life HB 3994 on Final Passage (3 points)
HB 2510: Department of State Health Services Sunset Bill
- Voting against motion to table (defeat) Pro-Life Amendment 17 by Schaefer that strengthen abortion reporting requirements (6 points)
- Voting against motion to table (defeat) Pro-Life Amendment 18 by Schaefer that closed loophole in Texas law that allows late abortions on preborn children with disabilities (3 points)
- Voting in favor of adoption of Pro-Life Amendment 18 by Schaefer that closed loophole in Texas law that allows late abortions on preborn children with disabilities (3 points)
- Penalty for giving a Closing Speech against Pro-Life Amendment 18 by Schaefer (-5 points)
House Calendars Committee Vote on SB 575 (only applies to members of the committee)
- First committee vote to advance Pro-Life Priority Bill that would have removed elective abortion from publicly funded insurance plans (5 points)
- Second committee vote to advance Pro-Life Priority Bill that would have removed elective abortion from publicly funded insurance plans (5 points)
House State Affairs Committee Vote on HB 37 (only applies to members of the committee)
- Voting in committee against advancing HB 37, which Texas Right to Life opposed publicly and in committee because HB 37 unconstitutionally restricted free speech and would have greatly hindered Pro-Life efforts to advocate for the preborn, pregnant women, and vulnerable patients (5 points)
- Co-authoring and publicly supporting HB 3183 that Texas Right to Life publicly opposed since it removes Pro-Life protections for unconscious pregnant women and their preborn children from having Life-sustaining treatment withdrawn (-5 points)
- Co-authoring and publicly supporting a dangerous bill that Texas Right to Life publicly opposed, testified against in Committee, and delivered written opposing materials to each House office since HB 2351 would codify that hospitals may withhold Life-sustaining treatment from patients based on disability (-5 points)
- Authoring bills TRTL publicly opposed throughout session (-10 points)
Votes counted on the 84th Session Pro-Life Scorecard for the Texas Senate:
Senate Bill 575: Pro-Life Health Insurance Reform
- Vote in favor of suspending rules to consider SB 575 on 2nd Reading (1 point)
- Vote against all anti-Life amendments to SB 575 (5 points)
- Vote in favor of Pro-Life SB 575 on 2nd Reading (1 point)
- Vote in favor of suspending rules to consider SB 575 on Final Passage (1 point)
- Vote in favor of Pro-Life SB 575 on Final Passage (1 point)
House Bill 3994: Pro-Life Judicial Bypass Reform
- Vote in favor of suspending rules to consider HB 3994 on 2nd Reading (1 point)
- Vote against all anti-Life amendments to HB 3994 (5 points)
- Vote for Pro-Life amendment to HB 3994 (1 point)
- Vote in favor of Pro-Life HB 3994 on 2nd Reading (1 point)
- Vote in favor of suspending rules to consider HB 3994 on Final Passage (1 point)
- Vote in favor of Pro-Life HB 3994 on Final Passage (1 point)