June 03, 2015

June 3, 2015

Leah Brown

See the full list of victories here!

AUSTIN, TX — The Texas Legislature has concluded the 84th regular session at the Capitol in Austin, but not before it passed five substantial pro-life bills as well as multiple pro-life provisions in the budget.“We have had a truly sensational session,” said Joe Pojman, Ph.D., Texas Alliance for Life’s executive director. “We are extremely grateful to Speaker Joe Straus and his leadership team as well as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and the Senate for passing these bills.” Noteworthy members of the Speaker’s leadership team include Reps. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana), Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth), Todd Hunter (R-Corpus Christi), and┬áJim Keffer (R-Eastland). House Republican Caucus Chair Tan Parker (R-Denton) was also instrumental in the success of the session.The Legislature passed HB 3994 by Rep. Geanie Morrison (R-Victoria) and Sen. Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) — a pro-life bill to reform the judicial bypass process in Texas law that allows a judge to authorize abortions on minor girls without notification or consent of parents. HB 3994 closes several loopholes in the current judicial bypass process. The Senate vote was 21-10 and the House vote was 102-43.Second, the Legislature passed HB 3074 by Rep. Drew Springer (R-Muenster) and Sen. Charles Schwertner (R-Georgetown) to give patients at the end of life the right to food and water if requested. Supported by a large coalition of pro-life and disability rights organizations, HB 3074 passed unanimously in both chambers.

Third, the Texas Legislature passed HB 416 by Rep. Debbie Riddle (R-Spring) and Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) to require training for abortion facility workers and volunteers to identify and assist victims of human sex trafficking. This bill passed the House unanimously and passed the Senate on a 24-7 vote.

The Legislature passed HB 3374 by Rep. Morrison and Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D-Brownsville) to require physicians to offer state-provided educational materials to parents of an unborn child newly diagnosed with Down syndrome. An amendment by Rep. Brooks Landgraf (R-Odessa) assures that the state materials do not advocate for abortion.

A fifth pro-life bill is HB 177 by Bill Zedler (R-Arlington) and Sen. Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) to create the Texas Adult Stem Cell Research Consortium. This bill promotes life-saving treatments using adult stem cells rather than embryonic stem cells, which require the destruction of human embryos.

Amendments to HB 1295 by Rep. Phil King (R-Weatherford) and Sen. Kelly Hancock (R-North Richland Hills) require researchers at public universities to reveal their funding sources. The Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TPEP) at the University of Texas at Austin, whose activities and publications are overtly hostile to pro-life policies passed in recent years by the Legislature, has raised concerns because it hides its funding sources from the public.

Finally, the General Appropriations Act, HB 1 by Rep. John Otto (R-Dayton) and Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound) includes multiple pro-life provisions in the budgets for the Department of Health and Human Services (DSHS) and the Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC):

  • HB 1 increases funding for alternatives to abortion from $5.15 to $9.15 million per year.
  • HB 1 continues funding $2.5 million per year for adult stem cell research at the University of Texas Heart Institute.
  • DSHS Rider 72 excludes Planned Parenthood from the Breast and Cervical Cancer Services program. Planned Parenthood currently receives $1.4 million per year.
  • DSHS Rider 53 by Reps. Four Price (R-Amarillo) and Molly White (R-Belton) limits funding for abstinence sexual education only to contractors that comply with each of the federal A-H components of abstinence education and requires an annual report for the Legislature on contractor compliance.
  • DSHS Rider 63 and HHSC Riders 29, 74, 85, 87 and 88 continue to exclude Planned Parenthood from women’s health programs.
  • HHSC Rider 31 by Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano) bans Medicaid funding to abortion providers and their affiliates for human sexuality education.
  • DSHS Rider 14 and HHSC Rider 8 continue to require contractors to report suspected child abuse, including statutory rape.
  • HHSC Rider 31 and 86 continue to prohibit dispensing prescription drugs such as birth control drugs and devices without parental consent.
  • HHSC Rider 59 appropriates $1 million per year for banking adult stem cells obtained from umbilical cord blood.

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