The 87th Legislature was a great victory for preborn children and a devastating loss for vulnerable patients. The Texas Heartbeat Act (Senate Bill 8) has saved thousands of lives and marks the strongest Pro-Life bill to take effect since Roe v. Wade. Because of the Legislature’s failure to protect vulnerable patients, the Pro-Life Scorecard for the 87th Legislature depicts these mixed results. However, an outcome from the sessions that is clear is this Legislature’s Pro-Life champions – Senator Bryan Hughes and Representative Stephanie Klick.
Senator Bryan Hughes (R-Tyler) authored two Pro-Life Priority Bills – the Texas Heartbeat Act (Senate Bill 8) and Repealing the anti-Life 10-Day Rule (Senate Bill 917). The Texas Heartbeat Act bans abortion on preborn children with a detectable heartbeat and is the first heartbeat law to take effect in the United States. SB 917 would have eliminated the anti-Life 10-Day Rule that allows hospitals to remove life-sustaining care against a patient’s expressed medical decision. This legislation to protect vulnerable Texas patients was killed behind the scenes by Republican senators (see the 2021 list of Disappointments). Additionally, Senator Hughes chaired the Senate Committee on State Affairs. All Pro-Life abortion-related bills in the Senate were sent to his committee, and he prioritized their quick passage out of his committee and on to the next step of the legislative process in the busy regular session. The hearing on these Pro-Life bills stretched hours long, often involving witnesses attacking Senator Hughes personally, mischaracterizing his intentions and questioning his Pro-Life values. Yet, no matter the vicious attacks or ridiculous rhetoric, he always responded with kindness and cool composure. Clearly, Senator Hughes earned the title of Pro-Life Champion of the 87th Legislature.
Representative Stephanie Klick (R-Fort Worth) chaired the House Committee on Public Health. Unlike in past legislative sessions, all five Pro-Life Priority Bills in the House of Representatives were sent to her committee. Through her diligent leadership, the Public Health Committee quickly voted out all of the Pro-Life Priorities, sending them on to the next step of the legislative process. Representative Klick is the only House committee chair to ever pass every single Pro-Life Priority Bill out of a committee. One of the Pro-Life Priorities she shepherded out of her committee was the strongest Pro-Life bill to ever pass a Texas House committee: the Texas Abolition Strategy (TAS), which would have banned all elective abortions in Texas definitively within the next four years, independent of action from the U.S. Supreme Court. Also, Representative Klick has been a longtime advocate for patients’ rights. Thankfully, she led the committee to pass a pro-patient rights bill that would have repealed the anti-Life 10-Day Rule. Her leadership was necessary since political games, misrepresentations, and baseless accusations against the life-saving legislation have shrouded this critical bill in the Texas Capitol. For all these reasons, Representative Klick earned the title of Pro-Life Champion of the 87th Legislature.
These two lawmakers made this session’s great success for preborn children possible by quickly and effectively moving the bills out of their respective committees. Even though several of the Pro-Life Priorities were not ultimately accomplished, especially repealing the anti-Life 10-Day Rule, Senator Hughes and Representative Klick fought just as tenaciously to pass those bills and to further protect defenseless hospitalized patients. Texas Right to Life is thankful to have Senator Hughes and Representative Klick as faithful defenders of Life in the Texas Capitol and is proud to name them the 87th Legislature’s Pro-Life Champions.
Visit Texas Right to Life’s Pro-Life Scorecard to see for yourself how your elected officials performed this year.