Every legislative session, thousands of bills are filed by the Texas Legislature, with only 140 days every other year to pass these bills. This leaves very little time to handle so many important issues. In order to give elevation to the state’s most pressing matters, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, who presides over the Texas Senate, released his top 30 priorities last week. These bills are given numbers 1 through 30, and have the greatest possibility of passing his chamber. Thankfully, numbering among his priorities are several key Pro-Life issues.
Three of the Lt. Governor’s priorities directly correspond to Texas Right to Life’s Pro-Life Priorities for the session!
Senate Bills 20 and 21 involve removing district attorneys (DAs) and judges (respectively) who refuse to follow Texas law. These rogue DAs and judges have publicly announced their refusal to enforce laws they disagree with or to investigate what goes against their ideological agenda, effectively rewriting the law, which is solely the job of the legislative branch. This has impacted issues across the board, but is particularly concerning when it comes to enforcing duly-passed Pro-Life legislation. Expanding the ability to hold these judicial activists to account when they break their oaths and act as legislators by erasing the law will allow Life-saving laws to be fully enforced. This will directly save preborn children, protect communities from the damage of abortion, and hold abortionists accountable for breaking Texas laws.
Lt. Governor Patrick also made “expanding Alternatives to Abortion” a priority in SB 24. The crucial Alternatives to Abortion (A2A) program is a budget item that was created in 2005 to allow the state of Texas to reimburse adoption agencies, maternity homes, and Pro-Life pregnancy resource centers for critical social services they offer pregnant mothers and families with young children. This program works on a fee-for-service basis, so only services already provided are reimbursed. These include resources like parenting classes, housing, job training, maternity and baby clothes, diapers, wipes and more to help mothers choose Life and succeed in parenting their little ones.
In the budget that was introduced earlier this session, the Alternatives to Abortion program is funded at $120 million for the 2024-2025 budget, representing an increase from last session. However, this is not sufficient to meet the increased demand resulting from the victories of the Texas Heartbeat Act and the Texas Trigger Law. To meet this demand, Texas must increase the A2A budget to $200 million for the coming biennium. More than ever, women, young families, and children need critical community and support services offered by the A2A program. Texas must step up, continuously placing these vulnerable women and families on the path towards success and independence, and helping women feel secure in carrying their children to term rather than seeking an illegal or out-of-state abortion.
Texas Right to Life is thankful to have these top Pro-Life issues prioritized by Lt. Governor Patrick — but the work has only begun. The Texas Legislature needs encouragement from you to have the strength and focus to pass critical legislation in the limited time they are convened. Text PROLIFE to 40237 to receive updates and alerts on important times to contact your state representative and senator in the coming months!