Tag Archives: Texas

Powerful Gubernatorial Ads to Hit South Texas

In anticipation of the November elections, Texas Right to Life will again launch 60-second English and Spanish language radio ads on south Texas secular and Christian stations, educating listeners about Wendy Davis’ extreme stance on abortion.

Wendy Davis filibustered for abortion on the Senate floor last summer for 11 hours.  The provisions Davis fought included ensuring abortion doctors have access to emergency services should complications or malpractice arise (hospital admitting privileges), requiring the facilities that allow abortion to be adequately prepared in cases of emergencies (ambulatory surgical center upgrades), and stopping most abortions after five months into pregnancy, the point a preborn child can feel pain.

The recent revelations of Davis’ abortion history distort the message of what Davis championed in the Texas Capitol.  Davis’ stance includes not only the so-called “hard cases,” but elective abortion, on-demand, through all nine months of pregnancy. The right to kill is what she advocated as a state senator.

Texas Right to Life’s ads will ensure that listeners are aware of Wendy Davis’ commitment to the abortion agenda–a position contrary to the typically religious views of the citizens of the Valley.  “Politicians and elected officials can no longer enjoy the luxury that their words and deeds in the Capitol stay in the Capitol.  Concerned citizens across the state should know which public officials are working against their values.  We are confident that our truth campaign on Davis’ uncompromising advancement of abortion will be well-received and of grave concern to listeners,” said Elizabeth Graham of Texas Right to Life.

During their original airing, the Texas Right to Life ads proved significant in the Democratic primary.  We are proud of our ads, recorded by a dedicated Spanish-speaking Pro-Lifer who is gravely concerned about the effect Wendy Davis will have on the respect for all Life – those in the womb, the disabled, the sick, and the elderly.

A person who espouses a worldview that the value of one human life is dependent on another’s view cannot be entrusted with protecting the lives of all Texans.

Wendy Davis cannot become our next Governor.

Republished with permission from Texas Right to Life, written by yours truly. 

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This is not the end: One student-mom’s story on her unplanned pregnancy

Nia is a 21-year old Interior Design major at Stephen F. Austin Statue University (SFA) in Nacogdoches, Texas.  Nia is also expecting her first child in July.

Each year, the members of Lumberjacks for Life, SFA’s student-led pro-life group, raise money for awarding scholarships to pregnant and parenting SFA students.  Any parent below the age of 35, enrolled as an undergraduate, and who has primary custody of their child(ren) are eligible to apply.  The good pro-life folks in Nacogdoches attend BBQ fundraisers and donate money to help Lumberjacks for Life provide at least two $500 scholarships annually. I was asked to review this spring semester’s applicants, and after reading through many stories of struggle, faith, and love, I asked one of LFL’s finalists, Nia, if she would mind me re-printing the answers she gave to some of the essay questions.  She agreed. I hope her story will convict my readers’ hearts to find a pregnancy support group for parents who are choosing to finish their undergraduate degree and help them with your time, finances, and prayers.  If you need to locate one, I of course have a few to suggest!

Nia’s story: After the disbelief wore off and I accepted the fact I was really pregnant, I knew in my heart I had to take responsibility for what I took part in creating. I have had many adversities in my life in the past, such as my hearing disability, which I honestly do not consider much of a disability anymore. Still, sometimes as a student I do have to accept my “disability” and make adjustments accordingly. I admit school is not easy for me, but as a junior here at Stephen F. Austin State University, I can tell you that I have never quit and have made it this far. I use my code of ethics for school as merely an example of my personality and will to overcome no matter the circumstance. As a little girl and even as a young woman, I always dreamed of being happily married with a bunch of little ones running around. I never imagined in all my life that I would be pregnant at 21 years old and unmarried. Such a situation, in the beginning, was extremely hard for me to accept. Ultimately, I had disappointed myself but the “can’t quit” part of me forced the realization that this was not the end. Instead it was just a hurdle that I would overcome, like so many others. The ultimate reason I chose life for my baby was because even though I did not plan to be a mother at 21 years old and unmarried, I could not deny a child I created LIFE no matter how difficult things are and may be in the future.

 

Nia’s advice to a friend in an unplanned pregnancy:  I have found with many young women whom I have encountered that having an abortion emotionally damaged them for life, so take that into serious consideration. There are so many programs that are willing to help mothers and their children you just have to find them, which isn’t very difficult. Often times there are also local support groups willing to help struggling moms. If raising a child is something you feel you cannot do regardless of how much help and support you receive, consider adoption. There are plenty of couples/people who cannot have children and that would love the opportunity to give your child a home and be a parent to them. My third piece of advice would be to look around at others who have had children unplanned and were still successful. Accept that things will not be easy but realize with some determination, you can succeed and be a great parent. The most important thing to realize and remember is that this is not the end of the road.

 

Words from someone who has been there.

 

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Women, Divorce, and IVF: What happens?

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Imagine this scenario: Embryos are created and stored for in vitro fertilization (IVF), but the couple divorces before all or some are used by the wife. With the IVF process becoming a more prevalent choice for couples facing infertility issues, together with our society’s divorce rate, such a situation is increasingly occurring. What do you need to know?

As is often the case, the law has not caught up with science. Only a handful of state legislatures have statutorily addressed pieces of these moral and highly-emotional situations.  In states with no legislative guidance, courts have typically adopted one of three approaches: the contractual approach, the balancing test, and the contemporaneous consent model.

The current – and only- leading case in Texas comes from the First Court of Appeals between ex-spouses Augusta and Randy Roman.  The Romans began the IVF process, creating three embryos deemed healthy enough to freeze until implantation. The Romans signed an agreement with the clinic that provided the embryos would be destroyed in the event of a divorce. The agreement further granted each spouse the ability to withdraw their consent “to the disposition of the embryos and to discontinue their participation in the program.” On the day before Augusta’s scheduled implantation, Randy withdrew his consent. Eight months later, Randy filed for divorce.

When Randy filed for divorce, Augusta had not had any of the embryos implanted yet. Randy asked the trial court to honor the agreement with the clinic.  Augusta argued that at the time of signing, she believed the agreement to cover only embryos that were left-over after she had already had one or two implanted. Further, Augusta argued that, consistent with Texas law, she would not hold Randy to any legal parental obligations should she give birth from the embryos.

As this was a case of first impression in Texas, both parties pointed to other states to support their arguments. The trial court treated the embryos as community property, awarding them to Augusta as a “fair and equitable division” of the Romans’ community estate. On appeal, after surveying the sparse law from other jurisdictions, the Houston court of appeals decided to adopt the contractual approach: the embryos would be dealt with according to the parties’ agreement with the storage facility. The Houston court found the Texas’ public policy would support enforcement of a prior agreement.  As a result, Augusta went through a lengthy, painful process, ultimately losing the chance to become pregnant. The Supreme Court of Texas denied Augusta’s petition to hear her case, signaling an end to her legal options.

Harsh. Can decisions of this magnitude be adequately addressed on the front-end? Is there a view that needs to be espoused by the pro-life community? Does the need for clear legal resolution mandate adherence to the contractual approach?  Or is there a better way?   More to come on this topic!

Case cite: Roman v. Roman 193 S.W.3d 40 (Tex. App. -1st 2006), pet. denied (2006).

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The 6 Things I Learned in Law School

With two months left, I feel that the timing of this post is appropriate! The most important lessons you learn in law school don’t actually happen in class.  Over the past three years, as life has taken both weird turns and come to a standstill under the guise of Baylor Law School, I have been collecting the “things I wish I knew before” embarking on this adventure (or misadventure?).  My top six came to practical lessons, spiritual lessons, and relationship lessons.

6.  Save money during undergrad.

                So, you’re that kid in college who can work three jobs, run an organization, AND make killer grades with minimal effort? The one who never asks their parents for money because between your grants, scholarships, and those three jobs, you truly “have it covered?”  Of course you are!  Such are the type of people who a) go to law school; and b) can’t be talked out of going to law school.  So since I can’t change your mind, here’s a piece of advice à SAVE ALL THAT MONEY! Don’t spend ridiculous amounts on post-breakup rehabilitation trips with your fashion-forward BFF (shout-out to Abs, here).   You don’t get grants in law school, you definitely can’t work your first year, and your dad is a little less happy when his 24 year old asks for money than when you were nineteen.

One last note – you have a real job between undergrad graduation and beginning law school?  Great! Minimize your social trips with the capitol friends and your raven-haired anomaly. SAVE. Unless you have a boyfriend footing the bill, of course. 😉

5. Protect your relationships.

                If you are in law school and the girl from #6, then you were probably in many clubs in undergrad, complete with leadership positions.  Somehow, balancing seems easier in undergrad than in law school.  You cannot ignore your best friends, your partner, and your family for three years.  While the support system for law students undoubtedly must be patient, you have to give some, too.  And yes, that may mean you forego studying a day during finals to spend a summer day with Abby and Charlee. You also cannot forget to make and nurture good friends in law school; there are some great people here! (see photo below)

4.  There will always be someone prettier and smarter than you.

                Wow! What a revelation for a super Type-A gal!  During our orientation week, I remember calling home and crying to my dad, “Everyone is prettier than me! Everyone is smarter than me!”  These same girls I was intimidated by turned out to be some of the most precious souls on earth!  (I also later learned that many of them called home, saying the exact. same. thing.) Realize that this way of life is good for you; you are more able to do #5, not take yourself too seriously, and enjoy the ride. You rejoice with one another in their achievements, cry with them in their sadness. We need a humble spirit to be effective lawyers, effective friends, effective partners.  And law school definitely humbles you 😀

3.  Give mercy freely.

                You will need mercy, so give mercy. You will need mercy from those friends whom you ignored for long periods of time by not following Rule #5.  You will need mercy when you turn a memo in with a huge, inadvertent mistake.  You will need forgiveness from your law school peers.  You need to, in turn, give forgiveness to others [even to the roommate], whether they ask for it or not.

2.  Your worth is determined by how invaluable you are to the ones you love, not by your grades.

                Another whopper for a Type-A person!

1.  No matter how awesome you are, how much good you do, the only thing that saves each of us is God’s sacrifice in Jesus.

No matter whether you are #1 in your class or #165, no matter whether you have a position lined up with a Big Law firm or still searching, we all have the same ultimate end-game:  the only true hope we have for contentment rests in what the promise of Jesus holds for us.  And on that playing field, we’re all the same.  A humbling reminder, for sure.       

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Beyond Birth…Waco’s Care Net to provide transitional housing for expectant moms.

What’s going on in the Waco pro-life community is exciting, and truly a blessing.  We’ve seen  the circumstances that make expectant moms feel as if they are backed into a corner, that the one choice she really does not want to make is her only choice.  Due to the grace of God moving through the Central Texas community, Care Net’s Board of Directors and their generous donors are seeking to change those circumstances, truly helping families break out of the chains of poverty and confidently welcome their children into this world.

For over 30 years, Care Net of Central Texas has been on the front lines of protecting life in the Waco area.   Ran by Deborah McGregor, a pro-life attorney turned pregnancy resource director, Care Net offers free pregnancy tests, sonograms, and tangible resources for expectant parents in the form of diapers, maternity clothes, and other baby supplies.   But this year, Care Net is embarking on a capital campaign to go further by building a Pregnancy Support Center and Guesthouse.

This 10,000 square foot facility in Waco will consist of a dining room, a family room, full-service kitchen, laundry room, a mom and baby store, a playground, classroom, nursery, and eight guestroom suites.  These eight suites will provide ample room for eight women and their children per night who are in transition and find themselves without a home.   The center will also contain a manager suite, which will allow around-the-clock employees to be available for the women and children who are staying at the center.

The total cost of the project is $2.4 million. To date, Care Net has raised $1.3 million.  Once Care Net reaches the $1.9 million mark, the project will be the recipient of a $250,000 grant, which will reach the end of costs for the Center.  A further $200,000 will be needed to fund a maintenance endowment.

Scott Salmans, Waco resident and Care Net’s capital campaign chair, had this to say about the project: “This is not a government program.  It is community as it should be: The Body of Christ stepping up to meet the needs of those in crisis in a loving and nurturing way.”  I couldn’t agree more.

 To make a financial donation to the Center or for more information, please contact Deborah McGregor at Deborah@carenetofcentraltexas.org .

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Hey Trib, it’s really “Texas Right to Life’s REFUSAL to play politics…”

Working on and off for Texas Right to Life since 2010, both as a student in their fellowship program and as a lobbyist,  I find this “controversy” surrounding Texas Right to Life’s scorecards BEYOND ridiculous.  Just today, Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock had a Tribune article lambasting TRTL, claiming he “was given a subpar score.” He scored a 96%!!  From reading the scorecard, the lost points were from a failure to co-author any versions of the 20-week pain bill or the 4-part Omnibus bill (HB 2).  Scores as high as 143 were received by legislators because of bonus points- points for co-authoring other bills on TRTL’s widely-circulated legislative agenda, something the Chairman did not do.

What makes a good political advocacy group? One that stands by its word, one that can be trusted by its members, elected officials, and legislative staffers alike to do what they proclaim to be their goals.   An effective and honest political advocacy group strives to serve its membership, to be the collective voice of their members at the Capitol.  The current “criticism” from the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops (TCCB) against Texas Right to Life (TRTL) highlights that TRTL is indeed one of these groups.

Texas Right to Life’s mission is to “protect life from fertilization until natural death.”  Protecting the unborn and protecting the ill, disabled, and elderly from death imposed on them by hospital boards, against their families’ wishes, and against a patient’s advance directives.  Every candidate seeking an endorsement from TRTL must undergo an extensive screening process.  Only those candidates who demonstrate and commit to BOTH of these principles earn an endorsement, and only endorsed candidates receive resources from TRTL to help win their campaign.

The New York Times recently published an article written by Texas Tribune writer, Becca Aaronson, regarding the fight last legislative session about hospital treatment in Texas. The article highlights the difference stances taken by Texas Right to Life and the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops (TCCB). Repeatedly, the TCCB has attacked TRTL who negatively scored legislators that supported an expansion of involuntary medical care termination.  TCCB’s argument comes from the fact that some of these negatively scored legislators helped pass HB 2, (that filibuster bill, remember?).  According to TCCB, as long as an elected official does half of what they promised, you should look the other way.

Scoring actions on SB 303 and HB 1444 did not take legislators by surprise; I cannot even begin to tell you how many weeks, hours, and blisters from high heels were spent on educating legislators, their staff, and their individual districts on TRTL’s problems with the bills, coupled with warnings that those actions would be negatively reflected come scorecard time.  My personal opinion – I think legislators thought TRTL was bluffing, that TRTL would succumb to pressure from politicians to ignore the unfathomable blunder come campaign time.  But this situation is just another demonstration that you can believe what TRTL says, whether you like it or not.

Yes, HB 2 was a great stride for women and babies of Texas. Yes, HB 2 will probably be a great stride for our nation, and the pro-life community is thankful for the work done (going to ignore the whole “had to call a special session” angle for now).

But advocacy groups aren’t supposed to bend to fit the people in office. That would be called a campaign. And they certainly don’t exist to keep other advocacy groups happy. If you are a voter who just wants to see whether your elected official voted to protect the unborn, Texas Right to Life’s scorecards are broken down in a way that you can easily see the distinction. That’s what scorecards are for – to help inform voters on candidates’ stances, not to all hold hands and sing kumbaya when you break a campaign promise.

If Texas Right to Life didn’t stand by their decision to include SB 303/HB 1444 votes and authorship in scorecards, they would have been letting down their membership, letting down the views of the people they represent, like my family.  That Texas Right to Life refused to play politics, I’m grateful.

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I Wish Ted Seago Represented Me

You can tell a lot about a man by the qualities of his children. Having worked with two of Ted Seago’s children, one as my boss and one who routinely responded to me as “yes ma’am,” and knowing his wife and daughter-in-love, Ted Seago’s family is a walking example of the impact a principled, hard-working, Christ-serving man can have on a group of people.  I hope the voters of House District 16 will allow Ted the opportunity to have that kind of an impact on the rest of our lawmakers in Austin come March.

For two legislative sessions, I watched Ted and Johnnie Seago volunteer countless days and nights urging lawmakers to stand on the principles they campaigned on.  I watched the Seagos invest in young people by bringing young ladies from their church to witness history being made at the Capitol.   I watched the Seagos instill the importance of being involved in your local government to all around them.

As a resident of Liberty County, I won’t get the opportunity to vote for Dr. Seago.  However, as Ted and Johnnie routinely do all they can to make their part of Texas a little better, I pray the voters of Montgomery County, and the rest of HD 16, will help the Seagos make an even bigger impact.

Send Ted to Austin, Montgomery County. You’ll be glad you did. 🙂

 

 

 

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