Last week, Texas Alliance for Life hosted its Annual benefit Dinner at the Hilton Austin. We were extremely honored to have Governor Abbott join us as our special guest, along with more than 1,350 pro-life Texans. One of the highlights of the evening was the presentation of our much-deserved “Courageous Defense of Life” award to Governor Abbott. Below is a transcript of the Governor’s remarks.
Governor Greg Abbott’s Pro-Life Remarks
“After Roe v. Wade, we could have given up: But that is not the Texas way. When we face challenges, we don’t give up, we fight even harder.”
Well that’s a rousing welcome. Thank you for that Joe, thank you so much for this honor. And thank you for your devotion for advocating for life. You know, it’s great to be in a room full of Texans. If you look from corner to corner — Texans who are fighting for the full arc of individual life, ensuring that it is going to be protected, ensuring that we are all living up to what Jeremiah reminds us of. And that is the Lord knew us, all of us, even before we were formed in the womb.
One very special group of Texans who have been at the forefront of this fight, who have been essential sergeants, as we waged a battle whether it be against the federal government, or against abortion clinics, has been an incredible team, most of whom have been with me from my time as attorney general, who are now with me in the Governor’s Office, and rarely are allowed to get out and attend events like this. And they’re with us tonight, at this table. Would the people who work at the Governor’s office, please stand up and be recognized. One of those people was Jimmy Blacklock, who has been one of the lead architects of so many of these briefs that we filed at the United States Supreme Court.
Speaking of which, it is tough to admit that Texas is the place where Roe v. Wade began. Since that decision, issued by the United States Supreme Court back in 1973, innocent life has been under siege in the United States. After Roe v. Wade, we could have given up. But that is not the Texas way. When we face challenges, we don’t give up, we fight even harder. That is the lesson I learned when that huge oak tree crashed down on to my back, fracturing my vertebrae on my spinal cord, leaving me forever paralyzed and never able to walk again. Piecing my life back together began with the loving heart, of my lovely wife Cecilia. She is with us here tonight. The First Lady of the great state of Texas, Cecilia Abbott. We were married just two and a half years at the time, and I’m proud to tell you this past August, we celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary. My life was also pieced back together, quite literally, by the doctors who performed surgery on me. They had to piece the vertebrae pieces together, and then they inserted two steel rods in my back to hold the vertebrae in place, and those steel rods remain in my back today.
The reason why that is important, there are countless pro-life events in Texas and across America, where candidates will get up and tell you, “Send me to the Capitol.” And when it comes to pro-life issues, I will have a spine of steel. I really do have a steel spine. And I have used it to fight for innocent life every single day. That’s what I did as attorney general, when I repeatedly defended pro-life laws, laws that were supported by the Texas Alliance for Life. For example, when abortion groups tried to overturn the ban on partial-birth abortion, we put together a group of attorneys general from across the country. We fought back all the way to the United States Supreme Court, and we won, and that ban remains in place today. When abortion groups sued to overturn the Texas Sonogram Law, we fought back and we won. And when Planned Parenthood sued to keep taxpayer funds going into their pockets, we fought back and we won.
“There’s a lot more that we need to do next session. With the help of Texas Alliance for Life, with the help of these great members from the Texas Legislature, we need to pass my LIFE Initiative. That initiative has one primary purpose: stop Planned Parenthood’s barbaric practices of harvesting baby body parts.”
HB 2 was another battle that had to be won. Who can forget all the orange clad protestors who had gathered in the capitol dome, chanting things like, “Hail Satan!”? Well the senator who filibustered HB 2, decided that she wanted to govern this state. Texans decided otherwise. And I want to thank you for electing me to be a pro-life governor for the great state of Texas. Texas may be where Roe v. Wade began, but now, Texas is leading the nation in passing pro-life laws, protecting more innocent life than ever before. With the help of the Texas Alliance for Life. With the help of the legislators in this room who were up on this stage tonight. I was proud, just last year, to be able to sign new laws that defunded Planned Parenthood, that reformed the judicial bypass, that strengthened end-of-life protections, and that increased funding for alternatives to abortion. In Texas, we call that a good start.
There’s a lot more that we need to do next session. With the help of Texas Alliance for Life, with the help of these great members from the Texas Legislature, we need to pass my LIFE Initiative. That initiative has one primary purpose: stop Planned Parenthood’s barbaric practices of harvesting baby body parts. The sale or transfer of fetal tissue by an abortion clinic must be criminalized in the state of Texas. My promise to the abortion lobby is that Texas will be the strongest pro-life state in the United States of America. Now, another way that we can truly advance the pro-life agenda is to do more to aid in adoption services and to support the women who make the heroic choices to place a child for adoption.
Speaking for me, I’ve got to tell you, as a guy who has had a lot of different titles, the one that matters most to me is the title Dad. Anyone who has ever been in my office at the Capitol, or who walked in my door at the Attorney General’s Office, knows that the first thing that you see is a picture of my four-year-old daughter with me holding her in my arms, and her beaming a bright, radiant smile, showing the hopefulness of what a young child offers. That picture of Audrey is so meaningful to me. And I’ve got to tell you, my wife and I, we thank God for the gift of Audrey. Our lives were blessed and forever changed the moment that Cecilia and I held our daughter on the day she was born. She went home with us the next day. She was born on February the 13th, we took her home on Valentine’s Day. She was wearing a white onesie with red hearts all over it. Not only do we thank God for the precious gift of Audrey’s life, we thank God for the woman who was strong enough to give Audrey new life through adoption.
That picture of Audrey is a daily reminder to me, and I hope everyone who sees it, of why it is that we go in to work. One of the greatest responsibilities we have is to give every child a chance in life. But for a child to have a chance in life, that child must have a chance at life. So for every Audrey out there in this room, for every life that the Texas Alliance for Life saves, I want to thank you for your courage to ensure that Texas is defined by the way we protect the unborn. Thank you for what you do. God Bless you, and God Bless Texas. Thank you so much.