January 2023 marks the first time since the overturn of Roe v. Wade Texas legislators will return to the Capitol and pass new laws. Elective abortion is illegal in Texas, but the abortion industry has adopted innovative and novel ways to continue killing children in the womb:
- Liberal district attorneys in Texas’ largest cities announced they will not prosecute criminal abortionists who illegally kill preborn babies.
- Anti-Life activists are smuggling abortion drugs over the border into Texas to sell to women. Although abortion is illegal in Texas, we do not currently have the legal tools to stop these abortions.
- Pharmacies and physicians overseas sell abortion-inducing drugs online and mail them to pregnant women’s homes and dorm rooms.
Texas Right to Life is Leading the Effort to Respond to Pro-Abortion Threats:
We have been meeting with elected officials to ensure that Texas passes effective tools to prosecute these crimes and stop these dangerous new pro-abortion practices. Texas Right to Life will spearhead three solutions to these challenges:
- Circumvent lawless district attorneys by authorizing the Texas attorney general or local DAs from other jurisdictions to bring charges themselves if they have evidence of illegal abortions.
- Allow private citizens to sue individuals who commit illegal abortions or traffic abortion drugs, similar to the groundbreaking Texas Heartbeat Act.
- Hold pharmacies and their subsidiaries financially accountable for enabling illegal websites to mail abortion-inducing drugs.
Texas Right to Life will Oppose Compromises from Weak Republicans
In response to the political backlash of Roe’s reversal, several Republicans have publicly signaled their willingness to repeal the Right to Life for some preborn children in Texas this session. Half a dozen politicians discussed turning their backs on children conceived in sexual assault, incest, or even children who have disabilities. Texas Right to Life will continue to protect the Right to Life for all children no matter the circumstances of their conception or their health.
Texas Right to Life will Lead on Issues other than Abortion
Texas Right to Life continues to spearhead applying our Pro-Life principles to medical ethics and the treatment of vulnerable patients. We oppose all forms of euthanasia, including the deadly 10-Day Rule. Texas is the only state that protects hospital committees who take away life-sustaining treatment against your will for any reason. Even if you have an advance directive or a surrogate making it clear you would want treatment to continue, hospitals can place a 10-day countdown on your life. Medical lobbyists and self-proclaimed Pro-Life groups are protecting this form of euthanasia. Legislators are too fearful to touch this issue unless all the organizations (including fake Pro-Life groups and the lobbyists for the doctors and hospitals) agree on a bill. Texas Right to Life will continue to highlight the horrific nature of this law and its consequences on Texans as we work toward passing legislation that returns power back to the hands of patients and their families. We will also spearhead other patients’ rights issues including organ donation, brain death, empowering surrogates to make decisions for their loved ones, and correcting the power imbalance in Texas hospitals.
Texas Right to Life Legislative Team
- Dr. John Seago is a published bioethicist who serves as the President of Texas Right to Life and works on the Legislative Team. For 11 years, Dr. Seago has led the research, writing, and lobbying for state Pro-Life and medical ethics policies in the Texas State Legislature. With a master’s and doctorate in bioethics and health policy, Dr. Seago leads our team on medical ethics, where our Pro-Life principles require us to oppose all forms of euthanasia and repeal the 10-Day Rule.
- Rebecca Parma earned her bachelor’s degree in economics from Texas A&M University and her master’s degree in public service and administration from the Bush School of Government, concentrating in state and local policy. Rebecca has worked in the Texas Legislature and in the U.S. Congress, including working for Senator Ted Cruz. While she oversees all of our efforts to stop abortion and build a Pro-Life Texas, Rebecca is most passionate this session about making Texas a safer place for women to give birth.
- Ashley Leenerts has a background in social work with a focus on pregnancy centers. Her experience enables her to lead our efforts to protect and expand the Alternatives to Abortion program, the nation’s LARGEST and MOST SUCCESSFUL state-funded network of adoption agencies, pregnancy centers, and maternity homes. Ashley has supported hundreds of volunteers and others in frontline ministries serving Texas women for the last year. She has seen the concrete ways the abortion industry is targeting women and the government red tape that Pro-Life ministries face when trying to serve their communities and save lives.
- Samantha Farnsworth is the newest member of our Legislative Team. Samantha moved from California to Texas to attend college at Trinity University, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology in 2021. While in school, Samantha was heavily involved in the campus Pro-Life club and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, as well as the Young Conservatives of Texas, where she now serves on the state board. Her background in biology has equipped her to lead our team on researching and writing about technical and controversial medical topics like miscarriage and medical emergencies as well as attacks on Life in biotechnology.
What Your Gift Funds:
- Full-Time Legislative Team. It is critical that our four staff members maintain a full-time presence in the Capitol to accomplish the following mission during session:
- Work directly with Pro-Life legislators to research, draft, and usher our priority bills through the Legislature. Provide Pro-Life bill authors with talking points and background information, recruit co-authors, and lobby for the policies.
- Meet with every elected official who will sit down with us to discuss the continued needs of the Pro-Life movement after Roe and to ensure lawmakers are aware of other threats to human Life in Texas such as the anti-Life 10-Day Rule.
- Monitor over 3,000 bills during the session to ensure that no dangerous bills move without opposition and to ensure that seemingly good bills do not have negative unintended consequences for Pro-Life ministries or policies or unintentionally benefit the abortion industry.
- Propose amendments or alternative approaches to members when a bill draft could have negative consequences or could be more effective.
- Register and testify in committees on bills related to our mission and legislation that would have negative consequences on Pro-Life organizations and ministries (on issues like free speech, donor witch hunts, and campaign finance).
- Alert pregnancy centers, political clubs, activist groups, churches, and the general public about pressing issues throughout the session.
- Bringing more experts to the Capitol. While the staff on our Legislative Team are experts on Pro-Life issues, often the Legislature needs to hear our message supported by other authoritative voices. We utilize our vast network of lawyers, physicians, national leaders, pastors, and individuals with relevant stories and bring them to the Capitol for specific meetings, hearings, or events. For example, we bring families to hearings to tell their personal stories of how the 10-Day Rule hastened the death of their loved ones.
- Hosting educational events for legislators, staff, and citizens. We host educational events for legislators, their staff, and engaged citizens before and throughout the session to present the context, need, and approach behind our priority bills. These include a session preview event, a panel discussion on end-of-life issues, and practical training on how to get the attention of your legislators during session.
Publishing and producing printed and digital supporting materials. Texas Right to Life researches, writes, and publishes the necessary resources that legislators need during Session on all Pro-Life issues from elective abortion statistics to legislative histories. We publish comprehensive binders for the authors of our priority bills and for lawmakers leading the opposition to dangerous legislation. We also film an array of educational videos and produce a weekly podcast to explain to Capitol staff and activists the importance of our priority bills or the danger of some bills and keep them updated during the session.