The Pro-Life Scorecard: The Method Behind the Scores

The Regular Session of the 88th Legislature marked the first opportunity for Texas lawmakers to pass Pro-Life bills after the historic overturning of Roe v. Wade. However, the Texas Legislature neglected preborn children, but improved protections for vulnerable patients. 

The Pro-Life Scorecard evaluates each individual member of the Legislature. The Pro-Life Scorecard is the most reliable tool for Texans who want the truth about who leads, who follows, and who is subverting Pro-Life legislative efforts under the Capitol dome. The scorecard evaluates each member’s votes, co-authorships of key bills, and other Pro-Life or anti-Life efforts, leading to a final score for the session. 

Throughout the 140-day session, we repeatedly petition lawmakers to co-author Pro-Life Priorities, adding the weight of their support to push these bills through the process. When Pro-Life Priorities receive a House or Senate floor vote, we alert elected officials in advance of the fact that the vote could be scored on this scorecard. Below, the reasoning behind specific scores is detailed. 

Basic methodology for calculating the potential points per member: 

  • Pro-Life Priority Bill and amendment votes are weighted at 6 points. 
  • Non-priority bill votes are weighted at 2 points each. 
  • Procedural votes are weighted at 1 point each. 
  • If Priority Bills received a vote on the chamber’s floor, their co-authorship was not considered. However, if a Priority Bill did not receive a vote on the chamber’s floor, each bill’s co-authorship is weighted at 1 point each. Co-authorship of a bill is important because it can help legislation move through the process and indicates the elected official’s support when that bill doesn’t receive a formal vote.
  • Committee votes on Priority Bills are weighted at 6 points, only considered for those bills that did not end up having a vote on the chamber’s floor, and only counted for those members who sit on the committees and therefore have an opportunity to show their support or opposition to the bill through a vote.
  • If a member has an excused absence or was acting as Chair during a vote, the potential points for that vote are removed from consideration for the member’s overall score. 
  • An unexcused absence is considered as a missed vote and scored against the member. 

Additionally, bonus points are available for authoring a Pro-Life Priority Bill or amendment or making a Pro-Life speech. These are weighted at 6 points per bill, amendment, or statement. Penalties are deducted for authoring an anti-Life bill or amendment or making an anti-Life speech. These are penalized at 6 points per bill, amendment, or statement. 

The basic methodology and any bonus points or deductions together calculate the total points earned per member, leading to the member’s total score. 

Each member also has introductory commentary to explain their score further. 

Amendment 28 to House Bill 1 and Amendment 3 to Senate Bill 30 are included for consideration on House members’ scorecards because these votes were to fully fund the Thriving Texas Families program (previously named the Alternatives to Abortion program). Full funding of this program was a priority for Texas Right to Life, and so each vote is weighted at 6 potential points. 

House Bill 12 

House Bill 12 extended medical insurance coverage for new mothers from two months to one year postpartum – a Pro-Life and fiscally responsible policy aiming to preempt more severe medical complications and expenses in the future. However, Texas Right to Life was concerned that the bill’s wording left room for coverage following an illegal or out-of-state abortion, potentially inadvertently incentivizing elective abortions. When this bill was considered on the House floor, no amendment was brought to clarify and secure against this. For this reason, House votes for HB 12 are scored negatively. When this bill was considered in the Senate, symbolic language which the chamber felt addressed the concern was added, though this language was legislative intent and not as strong a protection as Texas Right to Life advocated. However, because this amendment was included, Senate votes for HB 12 and Floor Amendment 1 are scored positively.

Visit Texas Right to Life’s Pro-Life Scorecard to see for yourself how your elected officials voted on Pro-Life issues this session.

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