In the race for U.S. Representative District 5, Lance Gooden is a pro-life champion with an outstanding voting record. We urge voters to get out and vote for Lance in the Republican Primary Runoff Election on May 22 (early voting is May 14 – 18).
Lance is the right candidate for this seat. He is staunchly pro-life, and, while a member of the Texas Legislature for six years, he voted for and helped to pass many of the most important pro-life laws on the books — laws that are saving lives today!
Lance Gooden earned 100% on Texas Alliance for Life’s 2017 Legislative Scorecard.
Now Lance Gooden is running for Congressional District 5, a tremendous opportunity to increase his pro-life influence by serving in the United States House of Representatives. We strongly urge voters to support Lance Gooden for Congress.
He has the conservative values, the leadership abilities, the experience in public service, and the devotion to honesty and integrity to effectively protect innocent unborn babies and their mothers from the tragedy of abortion in Washington, D.C.
That is why Texas Alliance for Life and other state pro-life leaders strongly support Lance for U.S. Representative.
Wide Support from Pro-Life Leaders
We are proud that our executive director is included with prominent, pro-life leaders who support Lance Gooden for U.S. Representative:
- Dr. Joe Pojman, founder and executive director of Texas Alliance for Life PAC. Dr. Pojman has been lobbying in the Texas Capitol for pro-life laws for more than three decades.
- Abby Johnson, the former director of the Bryan, Texas, Planned Parenthood abortion facility. She is now among the most effective pro-life leaders in the nation.
- Kyleen Wright of Texans for Life. Kyleen is a 43-year-veteran of the pro-life movement and has decades of experience lobbying for pro-life laws in Austin.
- Karen Garnett, North Texas pro-life activist.
- Andrew Smith, State Director, Texas Pro-Life Action Team.
Outstanding Pro-Life Record
Lance Gooden has voted for some of the most important pro-life bills and budget provisions in the history of our State. Those measures have closed abortion facilities, decreased abortions, and saved countless lives. Here is a partial list:
- HB 2, the landmark 2013 law to raise safety standards at abortion facilities and a ban on abortions after 20 weeks, including abortions on babies with disabilities like Down syndrome, spina bifida, and cleft palate.
- Doubled funding for the state’s very successful Alternatives to Abortion program.
- A ban on grisly partial-birth abortions and the sale of baby body parts after abortion.
- A requirement that the precious remains of the victims of abortion be humanely cremated or buried and not treated like medical waste.
- Increased protections for patients against euthanasia at the end of life.
- The 2011 law and the ongoing budget provisions that resulted in defunding Planned Parenthood by 90%, shifting some $30 million to providers of comprehensive women’s healthcare who do not provide or promote abortion.
Most recently, 2017 had sensational successes as the Legislature passed, and Governor Abbott signed into law, 10 new pro-life bills.
Lance Gooden supported all these life-saving measures.
As a result of these pro-life laws, as well as many others, more than half of the abortion facilities in Texas have closed, abortions are in steep decline in Texas, and countless lives have been saved.
False Information from Lance’s Opponent
We regret that Lance Gooden’s opponent — and a Houston-based organization called Texas Right to Life funded by West Texas billionaires — have resorted to baseless attacks against Lance Gooden. Lance’s opponent claims that he “voted to allow 3rd trimester abortions.” Texas Right to Life claimed in its scorecard that Lance Gooden opposed an amendment that bans abortions on “preborn children with disabilities … after 20 weeks.” Both statements are false.
The reality is that Lance Gooden voted to ban abortions after 20 weeks, including 3rd trimester abortions (after 24 weeks) and including abortions on all babies with disabilities. That vote occurred on HB 2 in 2013. (July 13, 2013, RV 29.)
Abortions on babies after 20 weeks is and continues to be illegal in Texas. The result has been a huge drop in abortions after 20 weeks.
Court Mandated Exceptions
The 20-week ban in HB 2 had two exceptions. Both help assure the law would survive a federal court challenge.
The first exception is for very rare cases when the pregnancy endangers the mother’s life.
The second exception is for extremely rare cases when the unborn baby is not viable because of a fatal condition and will die before birth or shortly after birth even with all available medical attention. Those cases, called “severe fetal abnormalities,” include tragic cases such as anencephaly, a lethal condition in which the baby lacks a brain and cranium above the base of the skull, leading to death before or shortly after birth. Another condition is renal agenesis, in which the baby has no kidneys and likely no lungs, again, leading to death before or shortly after birth. These babies are not disabled, they are terminally ill.
It is important to note that neither exception allows abortions after 20 weeks on unborn babies with disabilities like Down syndrome, spina bifida, cleft palate, and other non-fatal conditions.
Abortions to protect the life of the mother and for “severe fetal abnormality” after 20 weeks are extremely rare, making up at most 16 (0.03%) of the 55,287 abortions performed in Texas according to 2015 figures from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
The position of Texas Alliance for Life is clear and consistent. We do not support abortions on babies with disabilities or abortions on babies with severe abnormalities. Doctors should never deliberately take the life of an innocent unborn child. We want to protect every unborn child, and we support laws that will do that to the greatest extent possible.
While Texas Alliance for Life does not favor allowing abortions on these terminally ill children, the fact is that states are limited by Supreme Court precedent requiring the “severe fetal abnormality” exception.
Supreme Court Precedent
Sadly, Supreme Court precedent prevents the State of Texas from protecting non-viable babies with a “severe fetal abnormality” from abortion. Any attempt to amend current law to remove the severe fetal abnormality exception would not survive a challenge in federal court at this time. It could easily be struck down, and it would save no lives. Also, the amendment endangered the 20-week ban itself, putting at risk all babies in the womb after 20 weeks.
If challenged, the federal courts would not only strike it down, adding to the terrible precedent upholding Roe v. Wade, the State of Texas would be obligated under federal law to pay the attorneys’ fees for the abortion providers who challenge the law. For example, in the challenge to HB 2, which Texas lost at the Supreme Court in 2016, the attorneys for the abortion providers will get as much as $4,500,000 from the State of Texas.
Such an amendment would violate 45 years of Supreme Court precedent by banning abortions on babies who are not “viable.” In the Supreme Court’s 2016 Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt decision, the court explained this “viability” standard:
[W]e now use “viability” as the relevant point at which a State may begin limiting women’s access to abortion for reasons unrelated to maternal health.
Viability can begin as early as 21 weeks post fertilization for a healthy child born in an excellent medical facility. However, for a child who has a severe fetal abnormality as defined in current law, he or she will never achieve viability. The Supreme Court does not permit Texas to protect that child from abortion, even after 20 weeks.
Texas Right to Life’s “severe fetal abnormality” exception.
Texas Right to Life has criticized Lance Gooden for his vote in 2017 to table an amendment to remove the rarely used exception to the 20-week ban, the “severe fetal abnormality” exception. (The amendment did not pass.)
But the reality is that Texas Right to Life created, endorsed, and claimed credit for the exception they now use to criticize Lance Gooden. They took credit for and praised it in 2011saying that they “plugged the loophole in the healthcare bill.” Texas Right to Life supported it again in HB 2 in 2013. They have never explained this hypocrisy.
The exception was first introduced into Texas law in 2011. SB 7 included a provision to ban county funding for abortions. That ban included the Texas Right to Life “severe fetal abnormality” exception:
… a life threatening physical condition that, in reasonable medical judgment, regardless of the provision of life saving medical treatment, is incompatible with life outside the womb.
Texas Right to Life gave their own language exception high praise. They described the exception on their website in glowing terms, indeed claiming ownership, in an article called “Texas Right to Life plugs abortion loopholes in healthcare bill”:
… language from Texas Right to Life was inserted, making clear that all life is precious and deserves protection, even unborn babies with disabilities. [Emphasis added.]
Two years later in 2013, the Legislature passed HB 2. That bill had a ban on all abortions after 20 weeks, again with high praise from Texas Right to Life. HB 2 did, however, contain this “severe fetal abnormality” exception language.
One wonders if the goal of Texas Right to Life’s support of an amendment to remove their “severe fetal abnormality” language was intended to be an attempt at sound public policy or rather a political stunt designed to unfairly harm the excellent pro-life reputation of Lance Gooden and other respected pro-life leaders in the Texas House.
And if that isn’t bad enough, does it not exploit the tragedy of those parents who grieve from the loss of a child with severe fetal abnormalities?
Lance Gooden Is Right for Congressional District 5
Lance Gooden is staunchly pro-life. He is a pro-life champion. We need him in Washington to continue to advance protections for unborn babies and their mothers from abortion. We urge all Republican voters to get out in the Primary Runoff Election and support Lance Gooden for your next Congressman. You are eligible to vote even if you did not vote in the March Primary Election. Since turnout can be very low in runoff elections, your vote will make a huge difference.
Please vote for Lance Gooden in the May 22 Run Off Election.