The date was Thursday, May 12, 2011, the final day for bills to be considered by the full House of Representatives in the 82nd Session of the Texas Legislature. One bill on the calendar for “Do-Or-Die Day” was House Bill 2828 by former Representative Bill Callegari (R-Katy) to prohibit coerced abortion. HB 2828 had been favorably voted out of committee after compelling and heart-wrenching testimony was given in favor of the bill’s passage, and Callegari had worked to earn the support of his Pro-Life colleagues for passage on the House floor…if and when…
HB 2828 was set on page 12 of a 15-page list of bills to be considered on that last day, pushing the Pro-Life measure into the danger zone of time expiring.
Fast forward to today—(or even just to 2013 in which the same games were played in the 83rd Session of the Texas Legislature). Twenty-one days remain in the 84th Session of the Texas Legislature, and only ONE Pro-Life bill has passed either chamber with the State Senate moving SB 575 first. One Pro-Life bill. Out of the 642 bills passed by the Senate and 691 passed by the House with 21 days left, one Pro-Life bill was navigated to passage through one chamber. One.
In a Legislature with Pro-Life majorities in both the State Senate and the State House…In a Legislature whose members claim that Pro-Life values are the priority…In a Legislature whose members promise to champion the rights of preborn children…In a Legislature whose members will shamelessly campaign for re-election on the Pro-Life issues…this Legislature has delivered empty words, weak bills, and aggravating stall tactics.
So what has changed since that “Do-Or-Die Day” in 2011? Absolutely nothing.
Thursday, May 14, 2015 is the final day for House bills to be considered on the House floor by the full House of Representatives. By midnight on this coming Thursday, Pro-Life Texans will have either renewed faith or confirmed antipathy toward the leaders of our Lone Star State. Four of the strongest Pro-Life bills have not even been heard in the House Committee on State Affairs that meets every Wednesday so any so-called Pro-Life bills that reach the House floor will have to be amended and strengthened to actually protect Life.
These are the tactics with which Texans have become familiar. And the ticking clock of these last 21 days is the ruling class’s most powerful weapon, not to mention the biggest threat to pregnant women and their unborn children.
Lives are at risk. The preborn, the elderly, the disabled, and pregnant women all count on their Texas legislators to stand for them and their rights. Instead, their lives are jeopardized because of bloated egos, petty games, and over-played power-grabs.
What happened to that 2011 bill to protect pregnant women who are victims of domestic violence? Democrats, allowed by Republican House leadership, spent hours burning the clock with nonsensical and empty debate—a tactic known as “chubbing”—to ensure that Callegari’s HB 2828 did not become eligible for debate and passage, leaving abused and vulnerable women in harm’s way.
A few Pro-Life bills have been promised to arrive on the House floor this Tuesday and Wednesday, leaving NO time for error or games or procedural stall tactics. If the current course continues or if history repeats—which is more than foreseeable, the leadership of the 84th Legislature will walk away from the 120,000 tiny Texans whose lives will be lost to abortion before the Legislature reconvenes in 2017. These same men and women of the ruling class will be shamelessly knocking your door or mailing your home begging for your Pro-Life vote in their re-election.
Texas Right to Life will mail you, too…and your neighbors, and your church associates, and your civic groups, and your pastors, and we will tell you what the politicians won’t. We hope we can mail you or call you to report a Pro-Life victory or three, but even so, we will report the truth. What happens in Austin no longer stays in Austin.
Twenty-one days remain. Tick. Tock.