In a fundraising solicitation e-mailed to Republicans across Texas earlier this week, the Republican Party of Texas cited landmark pro-life legislation passed by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott during the last legislative session.
The Texas GOP’s e-mail praised Senate Bill 8- the Texas Heartbeat Bill- stating that this legislation “set the standard” and ensured that “Texas had the nation’s strongest protections for the unborn.”
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Shortly after the Passage of Senate Bill 8, Speaker Dade Phelan tweeted “Texas is pro-life! I am proud to have passed SB 8, the Texas Heartbeat Act, to ban all abortions the moment a baby’s heartbeart is detected. Until abortion is outlawed across the board, we must continue to fight for the unborn and their right to life however we can.”
The Republican Party of Texas is currently spending donor funds to run radio ads in Speaker Phelan’s district claiming that Phelan is “teaming up with Democrats to kill our Republican Priorities.” The abolition of abortion was a “legislative priority” for the Republican Party of Texas during the last legislative session.
Phelan’s successful efforts on the pro-life issue have been praised by longtime leaders in the Texas pro-life movement. Kyleen Wright, President of the Texans for Life Committee, stated “Speaker Phelan, in his very first term, wrangled a House marked by quorum-breaking Democrats to deliver the biggest victories for Life EVER – The Heartbeat bill and the Trigger Ban—making Texas the envy of conservatives and pro-lifers around the world.”
Speaker Phelan has identified reining in “rogue” District Attorneys as a priority of his for the current legislative session. This would address the Texas GOP’s concern about “Liberal District Attorneys” refusing to enforce Texas’ abortion laws that was referenced in their fundraising e-mail.
Republican State Representative David Cook recently introduced legislation, House Bill 1350, that would impose penalties on District Attorneys who refuse to enforce Texas’ criminal statutes. Proposed penalties in Cook’s bill include civil financial penalties and removal from office.
The “Texas Trigger Law” was also cited as a pro-life victory by the Texas GOP, with the Party noting that “Texas was one of several states that passed a law that banned abortions following a Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.”
While some critics of Texas’ Republican leaders oftentimes point to Florida as an example of a “conservative” state, Florida has yet to pass an abortion ban such as the one on the books in Texas.
Although Senate Bill 8 “set the standard” for pro-life legislation, according to the Republican Party of Texas, it was opposed by a group with ties to some of the most vocal critics of Governor Greg Abbott and Speaker Dade Phelan.
The Texas Senate State Affairs committee took public testimony on Senate Bill 8 during a hearing that occurred on March 15, 2021. Bradley Pierce, the Executive Director of Abolish Abortion Texas, provided testimony against the bill on behalf of his organization. Other groups that joined Abolish Abortion Texas in opposing Senate Bill 8 included Jane’s Due Process- an organization that helps minors obtain abortions- and the American Civil Liberties Union.
Pierce and Abolish Abortion Texas also opposed the abortion “trigger bill”, House Bill 1280, that the Republican Party of Texas credited with banning abortion after the Supreme Court Overturned Roe v. Wade. Pierce, on behalf of himself and organization, formally registered against House Bill 1280 at a meeting of the Texas House Public Health Committee held on April 7, 2021. Planned Parenthood joined Abolish Abortion Texas in opposing House Bill 1280.
Several months after opposing these groundbreaking pro-life bills at the Texas Capitol, Abolish Abortion Texas held a fundraising dinner in Frisco, Texas. Keynote speakers for this fundraising event included Bradley Pierce and Republican State Representative Bryan Slaton. Despite having helped raise money for an organization that actively worked to kill key pro-life legislation, Slaton was a featured speaker at a recent press conference hosted by the Republican Party of Texas.
Abolish Abortion Texas also received a $10,000 contribution from the Defend Texas Liberty PAC on January 24, 2022, according to campaign finance reports on file with the Texas Ethics Commission.
The monumental pro-life victories achieved under Texas’ Republican leaders last session were ignored by Republican Party of Texas Chairman Matt Rinaldi in his recent appearance on the “Conservative Review with Daniel Horowitz” podcast, in an episode entitled “Why Do Texas Republicans Suck?”