The Pro-Life Scorecard: The reasoning behind the scores

The Regular Session of the 86th Texas Legislature was an abysmal failure for the Pro-Life movement.  Not a single bill that directly stops the destruction of human Life, whether in the womb or hospital, passed the Texas House of Representatives.  This failure is reflected in the ratings of legislators on the Pro-Life Scorecard not only on Pro-Life and anti-Life votes, but also through missed opportunities for the Pro-Life movement.  Texas Right to Life’s methodology accurately portrays the disappointing nature of the legislative session by placing importance on the Pro-Life priority bills that failed to pass.

Basic Methodology:

  • Pro-Lifepriority bills: 6 points for passage (3 for second reading and 3 for third reading)
  • Other life-related bills are 2 points on passage (1 for second reading and 1 for third reading)
  • Amendments are worth 1 point each
  • Exceptions are denoted with an explanation

House Bill 1: Amendments 52, 53, and 54 were record votes pertaining to the Alternatives to Abortion program, for which increased funding was a Pro-Life priority. 

  • Amendment 52 increased the funding for the program by $52 million
  • Amendment 53 perfected the increase of Amendment 52
  • Amendment 54 would have decreased the program’s funding

For this reason, Amendment 52 is worth 3 points; Amendments 53 and 54 are worth 1 point.

Amendment 287 was a Pro-Life amendment that would have prohibited state funding of hospitals that commit elective abortions.  As Amendment 287 was in Article XI—meaning the vote was largely procedural—members had to exert extra effort to register opposition to the amendment.  For this reason, opposing Amendment 287 was included in the scorecard and counted as a 3 point penalty.

House Bill 16 and Senate Bill 23: These companion life-affirming bills were not Pro-Life priorities; thus, all votes on these bills are weighted at 1 point.

Senate Bill 22: The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act successfully became law.  As a Pro-Life priority bill, votes for passage (2nd and 3rd reading) count as 3 points each, and amendments count as 1 point. 

In the House, Democrats and Sarah Davis (R-West University Place) systematically targeted the bill in a series of anti-Life amendments designed to undermine the bill’s purpose.  For scorecard purposes, these amendments were grouped together as one motion and weighted at 6 points.  A vote in favor of a weakening amendment was a de facto vote against SB 22.  Therefore, an anti-Life vote on a single weakening amendment to SB 22 is scored as a 0 for the group of amendments. 

The House passed SB 22 on third reading as part of a larger group of bills without objection. However, members could register their opposition after the fact.  As doing so required extra anti-Life impetus, the third reading vote is a 3 point penalty.

In the Senate, a vote to introduce the bill (or suspend the regular order of business) is worth 1 point.

Amendment 4 on House Bill 1504: This amendment to the Texas Medical Board Sunset Bill added some protections for vulnerable patients in Texas hospitals.  As this policy alone was not a Pro-Life priority, the vote is weighted at 1 point.

Co-authoring of House Bill 2434 and House Bill 3158: HB 2434, the Preborn NonDiscrimination Act, would have prohibited the remaining late-term and discriminatory abortions in Texas and supported life-affirming programs for children born with disabilities.  HB 3158 would have eliminated the unethical, unconstitutional, and unprecedented anti-Life 10-Day Rule in the Texas Advance Directives Act.  Both of these bills were top Pro-Life priorities, and their companion bills passed the Senate. 

The Texas Right to Life legislative team contacted every member of the House on multiple occasions asking them to co-author these bills.  We requested formal meetings with each legislator and/or the staffs of each legislator.  We publicized the Pro-Life priority bills through emails, our website, and social media.  We detailed for members precisely which bills were missing their signatures of support.  In short, there is no excuse for their absent name as a co-author on HB 2434 and HB 3158.  If enough Pro-Life representatives had signaled their support for these bills through co-authoring, then HB 2434 and HB 3158 or their Senate companions would have moved through the House.  Because the two votes required for final passage equal 6 points (3 points for 2nd reading and 3 points for 3rd reading), co-authorships of HB 2434 and HB 3158 are weighted at 6 points each.

Senate Bill 1033: This bill was the Senate companion to House Bill 2434, the Preborn NonDiscrimination Act.  As a Pro-Life priority, votes for passage are worth 3 points and votes to introduce the bill (or suspend the regular order of business) are worth 1 point.

Senate Bill 2089: This bill was the Senate companion to House Bill 3158, repeal of the 10-Day Rule in the Texas Advance Directives Act.  As a Pro-Life priority, votes for passage are worth 3 points and votes to introduce the bill (or suspend the regular order of business) are worth 1 point.

Anti-Life Legislation and Amendments: These motions are attacks on the Culture of Life and the most vulnerable Texans.  For that reason, any member who authored an anti-Life amendment or bill earned a 5 point penalty.

Anti-Life Speech: Likewise, an anti-Life speech is an attack on the Culture of Life and the most vulnerable Texans.  Whether the speech was on the floor or in committee, any member who spoke against a Pro-Life measure or for an anti-Life measure was penalized 5 points.