Byron Cook (R-Corsicana) abandoned preborn Texans by urging the entire House of Representatives to oppose a bill that would protect fully-developed, pain-capable preborn children from being killed in abortion simply because they are diagnosed with an anomaly in utero. Under current Texas law, preborn children are protected from abortion after 20 weeks’ gestation, but only if they are developing normally. Children with a possible fetal anomaly (an anatomical malformation, chromosomal abnormality, etc.) are subject to the torturous possibility of being killed by dismemberment. These children literally die by being ripped apart, limb from limb, in the womb. And these babies feel pain just like any other human being would.
First, Byron Cook unequivocally refused to hear House Bill 1976 by Representative Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler) that would have protected these disabled children. Singlehandedly killing HB 1976 was not enough. Pro-Life Hero Representative Schaefer did not take no for an answer, but instead offered his bill as an amendment to another bill on the House Floor, House Bill 2510, a bill to reauthorize and reorganize the Department of State Health Services.
Schaefer and the majority of legislators voted for his amendment because they want to protect all babies, including those with health problems, congenital anomalies, or disabilities from pain and death by abortion. Chairman Cook, though present on the House floor, refused to vote for or against the measure.
When the Schaefer Amendment was successfully added to HB 2510, the abortion caucus in the Texas House pulled the entire bill down with a procedural trick. Even though Cook self-identifies as Pro-Life, he does not recognize the personhood of nascent humans. Unfortunately, Chairman Cook’s dishonorable actions go farther than just sitting idly while Pro-Life leaders tried to protect disabled babies. As Chair of the House Committee on State Affairs where most Pro-Life bills pass or languish, Cook penned a shocking public letter after the vote on the Schaefer Amendment, attempting to justify his position to allow killing through late-term abortions of disabled, preborn children. Cook wrote that dismemberment of preborn children is an acceptable practice simply because he finds one story of fetal anomaly “especially impactful” on an emotional level.
Rather than facilitate the killing of these precious children, expansion and funding of perinatal hospice care centers or education programs for parents who are expecting ailing children would be a more loving, empowering option. Equipping parents with education, love, and support to bring ALL children, including disabled children, into the world, rather than perpetuating the societal lunacy of “perfect, healthy babies,” furthers the Pro-Life mission.
We need elected officials in Austin whose commitment to Life will not let them sit quietly when Life needs defending and who will not buckle under pressure from an anti-Life lobby.
Such an elected official is not Byron Cook.
Paid for by Texas Right to Life Political Action Committee