Monthly Archives: July 2013

Lufkin PP Not Telling Women Who Local TWHP Providers Are?

Apparently, the Lufkin Planned Parenthood was turning women away without telling these women that other clinics/doctors in the area participate in the Texas Women’s Health Program (TWHP).  The TWHP provides family planning services and annual exams at no cost to eligible low-income Texas women.  The state essentially reimburses the clinics/physicians for such visits. One of the highlights of the 82nd Legislative Session (2011) was when lawmakers, pro-life lobbyists, General Abbott, and Governor Perry successfully crafted the Texas version of the Women’s Health Program, eliminating abortion providers from participating.  The federal Women’s Health Program refused to let Texas prohibit tax dollars from subsidizing the work of such abortion clinics, so Texas did what Texas always does – we decided we could do it ourselves.

As many of you know, Planned Parenthood recently announced the closing of their Lufkin, Bryan, and Huntsville locations. Planned Parenthood’s press releases cited the elimination of their participation in the TWHP and cuts to their state funding from 2011 as reasons for the shutdown of the Lufkin and Bryan clinics.  Soon after the announcements, I was on the phone with pro-life activists from the Lufkin/Nacogdoches areas.  An employee of one of the local pregnancy resource centers proceeded to tell me the story of a particular client that recently called their center.

The young woman, a TWHP participant, went into the Lufkin Planned Parenthood for her birth control pills (a service covered under the TWHP).  The “clinic” informed this young woman that they no longer accepted TWHP (which is accurate) and the pills would cost her $200.  Not being able to afford the $200, Planned Parenthood simply dismissed this woman. Planned Parenthood did not even tell her what other doctors/clinics in the area DO take TWHP patients. To find out what her options are under the new TWHP rules, the young woman calls the pregnancy resource center.  The center’s staff provided the young woman with a list of area doctors who do participate in TWHP and who are accepting new patients.  So Jessica Farrar, who was there to give accurate information to this young woman?  Not your beloved Planned Parenthood, but one of those sweet ladies running pregnancy resource centers whom you love to loathe at every abortion hearing.

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Highlights from Texas’ #HB2 Bill Signing

Even with law school finals on the horizon, when your boss texts and invites you to come to the signing of one of the most historic pro-LIFE pieces of legislation in the nation, you say yes. I knew the day would be the celebratory culmination of many legislative sessions, two of which I have been privileged to be a part of.  The day started with a breakfast for about fifty hosted in Governor Perry’s Appointment office, and then our group assembled into the Capitol auditorium for the bill signing.  Emily Horne and I sat in front of some reporters and got to chat with them while waiting for the ceremony to begin. Cheers were loud when Governor Perry walked in and immediately gave a warm embrace to Senator Eddie Lucio (D-Brownsville), the one Senate Democrat who voted for House Bill 2.  We can all admire Senator Lucio for standing up for what is in his heart, no matter who is against him. Offering remarks during the signing ceremony were Senator Hegar (Senate sponsor of HB 2), Representative Laubenberg (House author of HB 2), Governor Perry, and Lt. Gov. Dewhurst.  A few of the day’s more memorable quotes are posted below.

After HB 2 was officially signed into law and all the photo-ops were taken, we headed over to lunch at Ruth’s Chris.  Sponsored by Texas Right to Life along with a generous pro-life friend, our legislative team enjoyed visiting with almost seventy House and Senate members, Concerned Women for America, Carol Everett of the Heidi Group, and other pro-life advocacy groups. At my table, seated with five House members and one Senator, I enjoyed listening to the officials discuss the likely impact redistricting will have on their districts, their primary opponents, and speculation on those seeking higher office.  For the second time that day, Senator Hegar managed to make me tear up with his humble words regarding the important work he and his colleagues undertook.  I was honored to be a part of this day and have been blessed to watch this legislation come together by such committed co-workers, legislators, and their staff, all of whom helped make Texas safer for women and preborn babies.

Sen. Hegar: “The power of prayer was immense that day {of the Senate debate and vote}.”

Rep. Laubenberg: “Governor Perry, your legacy in Texas will be one of economic growth but your legacy in eternity will be a defender of life.”

Governor Perry to legislators: “Folks, I want you to go home.  As long as you get that transportation funding bill on my desk.”

Lt. Gov. Dewhurst: “For those of you chanting outside, we respect your First Amendment.  And we love you.  Just like we love the preborn.”

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The Impact of Charlee Jean

While attempting to run in between the rain and this *slightly* cooler Texas heat, Aaron Watson’s “Zero to Sixty” started playing on my IPod.  (Aaron Watson is a Texas country music artist who loves his wife and kids, is pro-life, and most importantly, recently tweeted me and Emily Horne.). “Zero to Sixty” warns a young dad that when he is too busy professionally, he’ll regret neglecting being too busy personally. When talking about spending time with kids, my mind automatically goes to Charlee, the daughter of a friend from college, Abby.

This past weekend was spent in God’s country – also known as East Texas. Abby, Charlee, and I went to the Farmer’s Market, took naps, and swam in the pool. I watched in amazement as Abby fulfills her roles as mom, wife, and friend, while still figuring out how to make training for a CrossFit competition 4-days/week a priority.  A CrossFit competition?! That’s just crazy.

Even as I’m writing this post, law school finals are looming. As I made plans to go see Abby and Charlee last weekend, there was a voice in my head saying, “Well, you really should just stay in Waco and study for finals…..”  But thankfully, I’ve had enough other voices in my life warn against taking time with loved ones for granted.  Time doesn’t stand still just because we have deadlines and demands. Babies walk.  Babies talk. And then they drive away.

I’m ever thankful for Abby and Chase, the Pools, and the rest of the Taylor clan for sharing their little girl with me. Laying in the recliner with Charlee sleeping on my chest was worth not studying Negotiable Instruments for that hour and half. Totally.

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The Why

Love this gal –

Et Per Victoria, Vita

Last week, one of our practicum sessions was to deliver a speech which we had composed in the preceding two hours (no pressure!) on the topic “Why I Am Pro-Life.” This may sound simple to you, dear reader, as I am sure you can spout off any number of reasons as to why you are pro-life. However, we all know why we are pro-life in our brains. Our hearts are another matter entirely. Here is a modified-for-the-page (i.e., more polished) version of the speech that I gave last Thursday to my classmates and practicum instructors. It’s structured really… boring-ly, but it gets the point across, which was the objective.

I think we could all say that we are pro-life because we recognize and wish to defend the dignity and sanctity of each unique human life, from conception to natural death. This is true, and important, but it is a rote…

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The Journey to My Pro-Life Beliefs

When talking about this blog recently, Hannah suggested people would like to know why I turned out to believe abortion is not the answer to an unplanned pregnancy.  Her suggestion started me thinking that many people know me as having a strong conviction for LIFE, but I’ve never really told “my” story.  We frequently hear the pro-life stories of many activists, so here’s mine.

As I am from a small Texas town, this story will be told in the vaguest of vague terms.  It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I really heard of abortion being an issue.  Sure, my parents had my sister and I in a church pew almost every Sunday, but sadly, never had I heard even a topic close to abortion come from the pulpit.  My family didn’t talk about abortion at home.  As far as I knew, everyone whom I had known to be pregnant, had a baby.  Heck, with the help of my mom, I threw my first baby shower for a friend when we were 15 (the friend is married and has two children now, I believe).  Of course, at the time, if someone didn’t have a baby, I just didn’t know they were pregnant to begin with.

I can’t recall how the conversation came up.  All I remember is one day, while waiting for an after-school extracurricular activity to begin, a classmate proceeded to inform me that by the time we were seniors, she had had three abortions at our local hospital.  Not knowing what else to say, I asked, “What was it [the procedure] like?”  Her response: “Like a vacuum sucking out your insides.”

Obviously disturbed by the previous conversation, I started to Google search “abortion” on the school library’s computer. (Sidenote: looking back, no idea why such a search was not blocked from access by the school.).  I learned what the Bible says about abortion from a Google search.  I saw pictures of aborted babies.  I read testimonies of young girls who felt like they couldn’t go to college AND have a baby.  That last part really struck a chord with me.  I knew young moms who were going to school with children. I thought, “If my friends can do it, so can these girls.” Additionally, I thought, “Dads go to school. Why can’t moms?”  Such a disparity seemed to be the epitome of gender discrimination and an example of women realistically still not having the same opportunities as men.  But I also recognized that the tiny baby growing inside his mother’s womb had no part in the way or circumstances in which he was conceived.  Right then and there, in my school library, I resolved to help young moms achieve their educational goals not at the expense of their baby’s life.

I immediately reached out to a campus minister at the college I was planning to attend the next fall.  Never having met this man, I took a leap of faith and emailed him telling him how I felt a mission at college to help young moms finish school.  The minister put me in touch with the local pregnancy resource center, Heartbeat, who in turn introduced me to Texas Right to Life, and the rest is history.  A Google search and an email led to Lumberjacks for Life, the Parenting and Pregnant Student Scholarship Program, and the Texas Capitol.

And that friends, is my Pro-Life story.

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#stand4life: 5 Interesting Facts re: HB 2/SB 1

This morning, the Texas Senate Committee on Health and Human Services begins [again] debating Senate Bill 1/House Bill 2 (formerly #sb5).  The full House is expected to vote on the measure sometime on Tuesday.  Here are a few quick facts relevant to discussions seen online and at the Capitol:

  1. Without being currently tied up in litigation, at least 21 states require abortion doctors or abortion facilities to have some sort of connection to a local hospital, be it a similar “30-mile” rule, a transfer agreement, or credentials linked to another physician who does have admitting privileges.  (Source: Guttmacher Institute and my legal research)
  2. 28 states require abortion clinics to meet standards akin to ambulatory surgical centers. (Source: Guttmacher Institute)
  3. Repeatedly, the largest age group obtaining abortions in Texas are women 20-24 years old. (Source: DSHS Vital Statistics)
  4.  In 2011, 96 reported Liberty County residents obtained abortions; 98 reported Nacogdoches County residents obtained abortions.  By contrast, Harris County reported 17,633 abortions obtained by their residents. The state’s reporting requirements do not breakdown the length of pregnancy by county, therefore we do not know how many of the 96/98/17,633 numbers were at 20 weeks or more.    (Source: DSHS Vital Statistics)
  5. 57% of Texans claim to support the “fetal pain” ban at 20 weeks of pregnancy.  62% support a ban based on the argument that preborn babies at 20 weeks can feel pain. (Source: University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll)

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#stand4life: Gabe’s Letter

Gabe's Letter

#stand4life #protectboth #txlege

Published with permission from his mom 🙂

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July 1, 2013 · 9:38 am