Earlier this month, Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives Joe Straus released Interim Charges for the 84th Session of the Texas Legislature, which will take place in 2017. Aside from charging the House Committee on Public Health with continuing ongoing programs to “improve birth outcomes” for pregnant women, the only charge addressing Right to Life issues was a disingenuous attempt to appease Texans who are outraged by revelations that the Texas abortion industry has been engaged in grievous activities related to the harvesting and sale of aborted children’s body parts. Flimsy at best, the charge will likely effect no substantive improvement for the state’s precarious situation. The charge reads:
Study the policies used by research and medical entities to adhere to the highest ethical standards for acquiring human fetal tissue for medical and scientific purposes. Specifically, review compliance to ensure informed consent and that all state and federal laws sufficiently respect the dignity of the human body. Study criteria for which persons have standing when giving consent for the use of fetal remains and to investigate potential violations of state laws regulating organ/tissue donation. Determine whether additional disclosure and reporting requirements are necessary to ensure moral and ethical research practices. Review practices and statutes in other states regarding fetal tissue harvesting.
This charge is predicated on the assumption that Texans only take issue with the way fetal tissue procurement paperwork is drafted, suggesting that paperwork on the up-and-up will somehow render elective abortion and the harvesting of baby body parts “moral and ethical.” In reality, Texans fundamentally oppose elective abortion and the dismembering of babies’ bodies for parts. Unbelievably, the charge makes no mention of Planned Parenthood’s admissions to illegal activity caught on video in Texas during an undercover investigation by the Center for Medical Progress, suggesting that Speaker Straus is woefully and culpably uninformed about the depth of the tissue procurement problems in our state. In fact, Straus’ charge does not even mention abortion.
The tragedies of abortion and fetal body parts trafficking will not be remedied by a paperwork overhaul. Immaculate paperwork sanctioning abortion workers to continue retrieving body parts from the mangled bodies of our youngest children will not render the most vulnerable Texans safe from the predatory and deathly antics of Big Abortion. Bold and decisive action must be taken to protect the preborn from the horrific fate they suffer within abortion mills across the state every single day.
A Dismemberment Abortion Ban and a permanent Pro-Life budget solution are steps we can realistically take to address the problem. A Dismemberment Abortion Ban would outlaw the common second-trimester abortion procedure abortionists currently use to obtain “intact” body parts ideal for trafficking. Putting into Texas law a permanent prohibition on abortion providers and their affiliates from receiving any state-controlled funds would dry up the remaining taxpayer funding streams which currently benefit the abortion industry.
Exacerbating the ineffectual language of the charge, Straus assigned the task to the House Committee on State Affairs, which is currently chaired by an enemy of Pro-Life legislation: Byron Cook. Cook repeatedly and determinately restrained every Pro-Life agenda measure that crossed his desk during the 83rd Legislative Session. Cook has expressed no remorse for publicly advocating against Pro-Life measures earlier this year, and he has not acknowledged that he caused the death of Pro-Life priority Senate Bill 575. Cook has suggested that he intends to push forward with the same dangerous attitude toward Life if reelected by the constituents of House District 8. In tasking Cook’s Committee with this responsibility, Straus effectively abandoned the charge to a dismal fate.