During the past legislative session, Representative Matt Schaefer (R-Tyler) offered an amendment to House Bill 2510 for the full State House of Representatives to consider; HB 2510 was the vehicle to reauthorize and reorganize the Department of State Health Services in Texas. The Schaefer Amendment closed a tragic loophole enshrined in all the Pro-Life laws in Texas that exposes preborn babies with disabilities to abortion for no other reason than their alleged disability. Schaefer and the majority of legislators voted for his amendment because they want to protect all babies, including those with health problems, congenital anomalies, or disabilities from pain and death by abortion.
When the Schaefer Amendment was successfully added to HB 2510, the abortion caucus in the Texas House pulled the entire bill down on a procedural technical error, known as a Point of Order. Representative Byron Cook (R-Corsicana), who chairs the House Committee on State Affairs through which most Pro-Life bills proceed, was present on the House floor but refused to vote on Schaefer’s Pro-Life amendment. Even though he self-identifies as Pro-Life, Cook does not recognize the personhood of human embryos and penned a shocking public letter after the vote on the Schaefer Amendment, attempting to justify his position to allow killing disabled, preborn children.
Rather than facilitate the killing of these precious children, expansion and funding of perinatal hospice care centers or education to parents who are expecting ailing children would be a more loving, empowering option. Equipping parents with education, love, and support to bring ALL children, including disabled children, into the world, rather than perpetuating the societal lunacy of “perfect, healthy babies,” furthers the Pro-Life mission of demonstrating that all humans hold inherent worth and value, regardless of age, stage, ability, or disability.
In his letter, Chairman Cook claims that the Pro-Life community supported inclusion of a so-called fetal abnormality exception in the state’s major Pro-Life legislation, including House Bill 2, the Pro-Life Omnibus Bill that passed the Legislature in 2013. The truth is that Cook demanded such an exception in both the 2011 Sonogram Bill and the 2013 5-month ban in House Bill 2. As chair of the House Committee on State Affairs, Cook held both measures hostage until an exception was added to each bill to allow the killing of preborn children who may be referred to as “less than perfect.”
In other words, Lord Byron forced this terribly unjust exception down the Pro-Life community’s throat before such a bill could leave his committee. With Lord Byron’s gun to their head, Pro-Life leaders begrudgingly crafted the narrowest definition of fetal abnormality possible to save the most preborn children, recognizing that we would have to work for years to remove this sad precedent from state law.
While the Pro-Life community celebrates the passage of Pro-Life laws that protect women and children from abortion, we cannot overlook the loss of children who may or may not be misdiagnosed in utero with a congenital illness or disability. What is worse is that this loophole mandated by Cook was used in a recent court case concerning the unborn child of an unconscious pregnant woman. In referring to her unborn child whose abnormality was unconfirmed, the attorneys even noted that the Legislature did not intend to protect “these children” as they were exempted from the 5-month ban in HB 2. Lord Byron’s gavel is heavy and sovereign…and deadly for unborn children.
Now is the time to bring light to how our “conservatives” in the Texas House really operate.
The Lives of the most innocent demand nothing less.