After multiple humiliating defeats at the polls, TEXPAC (the political arm of Texas Medical Association) penned an article on the recent elections, citing their obvious need to “squash medicine’s enemies” and the “anti-medicine opponents.” During this recent primary election cycle, one of TMA’s lobbyists was overheard at the state capitol, “We are going to spend a lot of money to make sure that Texas Right to Life doesn’t have any influence next session.” Good luck with that — Pro-Life legislators have told us the same about TMA.
Who are these enemies and opponents of TMA?
Referenced by name in their article — Texas Right to Life and Empower Texans, of course.
Instead of being daunted, Texas Right to Life is proud to rebuke the worldview of TMA/TEXPAC. We are doubly proud that almost all our candidates (and Empower Texans’) have beat the TMA big government, RINO (Republican In Name Only) establishment candidates in the recent Republican primary, runoff, and special elections for the last four election cycles.
But who is TMA, what do they do, and why should voters, let alone physicians who prioritize patient care, ever follow the lead of TMA?**
- TMA refused to support a ban on secret Do-Not-Resuscitate orders. (Senate Health & Human Services Witness List — SB 303 — March 19, 2013). In other words, TMA lobbied against patient/surrogate consent to DNR orders.
- TMA opposed a law requiring abortion doctors to obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their abortion practice. (TMA Article — Nov. 1, 2013). Click here to read document
- In 2013, TMA again supported Texas hospital panels’ unchecked authority to withdraw all treatment from patients, against the wishes of a patient, even if the patient is conscious! (Senate Health & Human Services Witness List — SB 303 — March 19, 2013).
- In 2012, TMA complained to the Department of State Health Services that doctors receiving state tax dollars for preventative care should also be allowed to discuss elective abortions with their patients. What exactly does abortion prevent? (TMA Press Release — August 6, 2012). Click here to read document
- In 2011, TMA supported physicians’ abilities to withdraw artificial water and food from sick patients without patient or family consent. (House Human Services Witness List — HB 3520 — April 12, 2011).
- TMA opposed full disclosure by physicians to women regarding abortion procedures, specifically information related to development of the preborn child. (TMA Letter to then-Senator Duncan –Feb. 8, 2011). Click here to read document
- In 2011, after Pro-Life legislators had successfully implemented Texas Right to Life’s strategy of redirecting family planning dollars to clean health care programs, TMA told legislators that they disagreed with this move, a move that would eventually result in the closure of 12 abortion clinics.
- In 2003, a known TMA lobbyist testified against enacting a Texas version of the Laci and Connor Peterson Law (Senate State Affairs Witness List – Feb. 24, 2003). Click here to read document
** These are just highlights. TMA’s opposition to Pro-Life measures can be documented as far back as 1999.
Two RINOs who escaped
In House District 59, TEXPAC endorsed incumbent J.D. Sheffield. In meetings with Texas Right to Life, Representative Sheffield, D.O., clarified his support for physician autonomy over patient choices as well as his opposition to only some abortions. In the historic Pro-Life House Bill 2 last session, Rep. Sheffield voted for 18 weakening amendments, mostly offered by anti-Life Democrats (one of these amendments were offered by Rep. Sarah Davis (R), but such is a story for another time).
In House District 71, TEXPAC endorsed incumbent House member Susan King, R.N. Herewith follow some of the many reasons why Texas Right to Life PAC could not support Rep. King: 1) Representative King spoke against the Ambulatory Surgical Center provision in HB2 on the floor of the House; (2) she spoke on camera to media, claiming she “wasn’t sure” provisions in landmark Pro-Life bill, House Bill 2 or that these provisions “[were]the best decision” for lawmakers (Click here to watch video); and (3) Representative King carried the House companion bill to the dangerous euthanasia-expanding proposal, Senate Bill 303.
Although these two RINOs won in the March primary, Texas Right to Life was instrumental in ousting two State Senators who had become lost along the conservative trail. Both were backed by TMA, Bob Deuell, M.D., who authored Senate Bill 303, and buddy John Carona, who was only too happy to assist. Texas Right to Life proudly helped Pro-Life Bob Hall and Don Huffines, respectively, to victory in these two key senate races. Deuell is now being sued for his blatant abuse of power and squelching of First Amendment rights. Texas Right to Life achieved other Pro-Life victories in March, while protecting our current Pro-Life members against attacks from TMA.
TMA and Texas Right to Life differ on the definition of “anti-medicine.” Texas Right to Life’s definition includes feeding and treating patients, respecting advance directives, ensuring pregnant women are sufficiently informed before undergoing a life-changing and life-ending decision, and taking all measures allowable by law to protect the preborn. We actually want to empower capable physicians who care about their patients to do just that without burdensome regulations or the threat of lawsuits, and we believe that faceless panels of hospital administrators should help doctors treat the sick, not pressure doctors to make business decisions about who has a quality of life worth living.
Regrettably, the stances taken by the Texas Medical Association and the policies advanced are incompatible with Texas Right to Life’s mission and goals — which reflect the values of the majority of Texans.
Only 11 percent of TMA physicians are active members of the TEXPAC, and the other 89 percent may have no idea that TMA has lost influence among the majority of legislators. The view of protecting life in all stages does not seem to be TEXPAC’s priority, despite the majority of legislators working overtime to protect life.