|An Historic Summer Brings Fall Miracles
By CPLC Executive Director Karen Garnett
History was made this past summer in Austin. And I had the honor and privilege to be there, representing all of your voices, as the Texas Legislature passed the most powerful, all-encompassing pro-life bill in the country, despite incredible efforts by the other side to not only kill the legislation but derail democracy itself. The initial legislative session was disappointing, without any major victories for life. But at the urging of pro-life leaders, Governor Perry included in the special session agenda multiple pro-life measures combined in one omnibus bill. As the first special session neared its close, it looked like we had the votes to pass incredible protections for women and the unborn in Texas. But despite a clear pro-life majority, the opposition was beginning to boil with no intention of allowing this law to pass without a protest. I received an emergency call from the Texas Catholic Conference to be present in the final days of the special session. I was happy to be there on your behalf, but was not prepared for what I would see.
It had been over a decade since I have been in the presence of so many hundreds gathered from the pro-abortion side. The tension in the chamber was palpable and the spiritual warfare undeniable. Back in Dallas, I watched as Senator Wendy Davis began her filibuster to delay and hopefully stop the passage of the bill. In the end, I was in complete shock as the cheers, jeers and screams of the pro-abortion crowd in the Senate gallery drowned out – and hijacked – the 19-10 majority pro-life vote, tallied and posted two minutes after the midnight deadline. Despite the many false media reports, the filibuster failed. What succeeded, however, was “mob rule” – temporarily.
Disappointed, but not deterred, the state’s pro-life leaders redoubled our efforts when Governor Perry called a second special session. This time, we would not – could not – be silenced, for the sake of the innocent thousands who die in Texas each year. The Dallas pro-life community responded to the call, with four buses driving to and from Austin in the early morning and late night hours to ensure a sea of “pro-life blue” would send a clear message that Texas is and will always be for LIFE! After hours of heated committee testimony and floor debate, the screams of protesters opposing the bill, and the peaceful songs and prayers of so many pro-life Texans, HB 2 ultimately passed and was signed into law. As a result, Texas now prohibits abortions after 20 weeks, requires abortionists to have local hospital privileges and to administer chemical abortions in compliance with FDA standards, and has increased the standards of abortion facilities to match those of ambulatory surgical centers.
But the battle is not over. Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit in an Austin federal court to stop the implementation of the bill, claiming it unconstitutional. After an initial victory in Austin, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans and the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily allowed the law to go into full effect until the 5th Circuit rules on the full hearing on the merits of the law. So for now, the law remains in full force and effect. And we are already seeing the results!
On the Friday following the implementation of the law, November 1, no abortions occurred in Dallas. Praise be to God! For six full weeks, two of the five abortion centers in Dallas were unable to perform abortions due to the lack of abortionists on staff with local hospital privileges. To this day, one of those facilities still cannot perform abortions, and the late-term abortion center can no longer kill babies past 20 weeks. As a result of this legislation, the Sonogram Law passed two years ago, and most importantly, your prayers and support, we have seen a record-breaking number of babies saved this year – over 950! And for the first time in two decades, the number of abortions in Dallas County has dropped below 10,000. And this all unfolded in the epic year of Exodus 20:13.
While we must continue to fight to ensure complete protection of life from conception until natural death, I believe we are seeing the beginning of the end of abortion. We had a great opportunity on January 18 to witness to the amazing victories and our continued vigilance at the Roe Memorial Events with Bishop Farrell — held for the first time at the convention center in Dallas with over 6500 in attendance at the Roe Memorial Mass and tens of thousands taking to the streets to Stand4Life! It was a privilege to pray and march with you. May God bless your unwavering devotion to LIFE!
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|Life Matters is a publication of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee of North Texas, the Respect Life Ministry of the Diocese of Dallas.
Karen Garnett, Executive Director
CPLC ● P.O. Box 59852 ● Dallas, TX 75229
Devoted to ending abortion and restoring respect for life.