Late Friday night we won the battle to reduce abortions in Texas! It was a great night and I am so excited to be a part of history. I’ve said before that the world may never know my name, but perhaps one day I will hear my God say, “Well done my good and faithful servant. You see that man there? I used you to save him from being aborted and I used him to change the world.”
It was a long and tiring week. There were some nights when I fell asleep in my clothes from the day. I had the privilege to work amazing men and women who love the people of Texas and want to see the end of abortion.
For those interested I want to walk you through the week.
On Monday, July 8, the Texas Senate held a committee hearing on SB 1 (The Senate equivalent of HB 2 that passed). People were there extremely early once again and were excited to testify. The line to register one’s opinion was over an hour long. We had decided to do another day of Let Texas Speak so that the pro-life people of Texas once more had something to watch than the screams of Pro-abortion protesters.
As we began it started to rain and many people ran for cover, but a couple of people stood in the center to better here whoever was speaking. We had an umbrella over the speaker and the camera under the extension.
One supporter thrilled my heart more than most. She was an elderly woman in purple with a Jesus pin on and she stood in the rain holding her sign that read “A person is a person, no matter how small.” She gave so many people courage just by seeing the photograph of her.
Here is a video as well that shows her dancing at the rally that night.
There weren’t many protesters harassing us as they had spread the word of how the screams and Hail Satan weren’t exactly helping their cause. Unfortunately, we found out our supporters were also not as encouraged to come without the protesters there. They were sitting in overflow rooms and as I’ve mentioned we must be where the media is covering the story. If you want to be a part of the narrative be there.
Later in the day a few more rambunctious protesters showed up, but approximately 50 students from Students for Life of America arrived as well. We heard testimonies for about five hours that day and then ended to get ready for the big rally that evening.
The rally was fantastic. Concerned Women of America, The Heidi Group, and National Right to Life did a wonderful job and we did stream it for them live. You can still watch the rally at LetTexasSpeak.com
As the rally came to a close the Unruly Mob (that is what they called themselves) marched in to take over. We had just started singing praise songs and that seemed to be when they liked to show up. They push there way through and played loud music, chanted, and danced with vulgar signs. They can’t stand the idea of free and fair conversation. Either it’s all their voice or none.
Here is a short video so you can see the difference:
We had a bunch of food left so I spent a couple of hours passing out it to the Mob and the DPS. They really appreciated it and I pray that love helped soften their hearts to the truth about abortion, but more importantly the truth of the gospel.
On Tuesday, July 9th, the full House hearing occurred. Blue was able to keep the gallery full all day and it remained pretty calm in there.
Being on the ground as an activist is all about a willingness to be flexible and do what needs to be done. We need to be ready to drop what we planned and turn on a dime.
One of the issues encountered was that the local YMCA that had agreed to allow the Students for Life to shower had been intimidated by the intolerant left. The YMCA not wanting to stand by their word and risk getting brought into a political fight by simply letting the students shower quickly put their tail between their legs, wet themselves, and curled up into a little ball at the pro-abortion intimidation and revoked their agreement.
The story was picked up by Todd Starnes and went viral. So the leaders were forced to spend a good deal of time finding showers.
Thankfully, after Rep. Steve Toth and Rep. Bryan Hughes found out about this they took up a personal collection with other representatives and purchased hotel rooms (the students were sleeping at churches) for the students to shower in. Some even gave their own rooms for them to use.
Special thanks to Rep. Sarah Davis, who is the only pro-choice Republican that voted against the bill, for donating as well.
The Texas House was pretty quiet most of the day as most of the protesters had gone to Houston it seems. About 3 o’clock six buses of supporters showed up from east Texas showed up. We didn’t know they were coming until we saw this huge group walking down the Capitol extension hallway. I was a bit worried that they’d snapped and we now had a blue mob as well as an orange, but they were headed to overflow rooms to hear instructions. We tried to put them where we could.
Some made it into the gallery while others participated in Students for Life Planned Parenthood Project.
About 6 that night (sadly just as east Texas had to leave) the pro-abortion mob made it back to take over the rotunda again. Since they didn’t have many protesters for most of the day many of our people had also left. The gallery was half empty at this point. I didn’t want it to become a shouting match with us looking aggressive or just like ants so I moved as many as would listen into the gallery. This way we had the gallery and could keep it calm while they had the rotunda and had no one to react against.
The closing arguments for the bill were good. Rep. Ron Simmons share a beautiful poem from his daughter and I thought Rep. Jason Villalba’s closing was amazing. It is about six min. so please take a few minutes to watch it.
The bill passed second reading and we headed out before any trouble occurred.
On Wednesday, July 10th, the third reading occurred in the Texas House. This is generally a fairly quick process and the democrats only put up one amendment to the floor.
I had actually planned on doing some training for the Students for Life on leadership and working with the legislature so they could take take it back home and to further the pro-life cause in the future. One of the greatest benefits of my life has been attending a leadership bootcamp called Patriot Academy. It was what taught me my role in politics and even encouraged me to move to Texas. I wanted to give these students a taste of that. At first we were going to roll for about an hour and a half, but after the third reading passed the House we heard they were rioting and getting arrested so in order to keep the students safe and not waste their time I extended it. This is where having a small network that works in the Capitol is amazing. My friends and acquaintances were a great blessing.
Hannah Bell of the enVision Conference shared on leadership.
Here are some quotes from Hannah’s talk:
“Greatness is saying I’m committed to God’s plan for my life.” – Hannah Bell
“You create a legacy by seeing something by seeing something bigger than yourself, something worth believing in and passing on. Some things are not worth creating a legacy out of.” (SFL student)
“Have a thankful attitude. Write thank you notes. Take the time to appreciate others and what you have. ” Hannah Bell
Kathy (Mama) Seay shared on principle of policy.
Freshman Rep. Matt Krause came right off the House floor after voting for HB 2, postponing lunch, and shared on his first year as a legislator.
Rep. David Simpson, who I consider the most principled politician in Texas, shared on integrity and it gave me quite the guy check.
Rep. Greg Bonnen, neurosurgeon, shared on what fetal pain and voting.
Thomas Umstaddt Jr. was gracious enough to come in and present his talk on Wilberforce and who we need in pro-life movement and knowing your role. This is the talk that changed my perspective at last year’s Patriot Academy.
I really think the students got a lot out of it. I know I did.
After our mini-seminar the students went to thank all of the senators that had voted for the bill the first time and encourage their staff. They then left to pray at some local abortion mills and I stayed to plan. Their leadership was great. Brendan, Missy, Beth, and Alexa all have my respect and if you have a SFLA group near you I recommend getting involved.
On Thursday, July 11th, the Texas Senate met briefly met substitute SB 1 for HB 2 as the bills were identical. It was a very calm day at the Capitol and my partner in crime, Andrew Koch of Wake Up this Generation, had actually headed home for the day.
There was a press conference with Rick Santorum earlier in the day, but the real blessing was hearing the heart of Rep. Steve Toth and Rep. Bryan Hughes. Rep. Toth shared that the men that fight to save babies from abortion the hardest are generally the men that have been affected by it the most. Rep. Hughes actually shared the gospel! He then used that to talk about why we must care for all lives. I have a video below, but my finger slipped over the mic and muffled much of Rep. Hughes.
I didn’t have much to do so I went with the Students for Life crew to San Antonio for a pray rally outside of the Planned Parenthood bus stop. It was pretty uneventful, but some guy in a suit kept trying to get people to chant “Vote for Life.” Since it was meant to be a prayer rally that didn’t fit. We told as many people as we could not to chant, but he had one section of about 20 people chanting.
People have to learn what the visuals look like. Chanting outside of their rally makes us look aggressive and will be portrayed as such by the media. We must stand together and know the proper way to act. We must also be willing to gently confront others in our groups and explain that what they are doing is causing harm. This isn’t about you or how you feel. This is about saving babies! Remember that.
One extra note for amusement. The Students for Life bus broke down when we return to the Capitol that evening. The students were at the hotels showering, but I was with the bus driver. The Students for Life banner was on the bus. A group of pro-aborts from by and screamed “F*** You” and drove off. They eventually circled around and stopped beside the bus. They stuck their bodies half way out of the care and started singing YMCA (read the article for Tuesday for the reference). I really wished I had filmed it, but I applauded them for their creativity on that one.
Friday, July 11th, was the big day. The Texas Senate was taking up HB 2 and hearing the issue for the first time since the mob ruined the first vote. This time they were prepared and there was much tighter security. It was the first time my bags have ever been physically searched at the Capitol. It was a good thing they were doing that as they reported confiscating 18 jars of feces, jars of urine, paint, and a brick. They also started to confiscate tampons as people were bringing in boxes of them with the threat to soak them in paint and throw them at supporters and senators according to DPS. This quickly got out and we suddenly had Tampon-Gate on out hands. DPS eventually stopped confiscating them as it was being portrayed very unfavorably and most women would have one tampon in their purse.
This image made it’s way around.
The poor Gonzalez flag has just been used and abused a lot recently.
Tampons became the symbol of the pro-aborts and they were every where.
They even were bouncing them on a round pro-choice flag.
They are are chanting “This is what democracy looks like.” I turned to a DPS agent near me and said “Thank God we live in a republic.” He got a good laugh out of that.
I passed out the signs I had printed up and then spent most of the day organizing and getting information out to people.
Again, Rep. Hughes showed his passion and support by allowing us to use his office and we had pizza delivered for the students and other supporters.
As the night went on and most pro-life supporters decided to leave the madness we started to move people to Rep. Hughes office for safety. The DPS had locked down the Capitol and wasn’t along anyone in and encouraged us to get away from the rotunda. DPS was wonderful and escorted the pro-lifers who weren’t in the gallery to offices they would be safe in.
The gallery had been quiet most of the day, but as the vote came near they started chaining themselves to the railing and police were carrying people out.
Over the night about 50 pro-aborts were arrested I’m told.
NARAL and Planned Parenthood tried to get the protesters out of the rotunda for another march and to quell the possible riot, but they refused to leave and were chanting, “Hell no, we won’t go.”
We pulled all of the folks we could into Rep. Hughes office in case they became violent and it spilled into the extension. We could have tried to leave, but we were there to be part of history and had worked too hard not to be there for the Senate passage. At one point we had 54 people in Rep. Hughes office. So thankful for that man.
Sadly, Sen. John Whitmire was just the opposite. He shared how tough a decision it is for women to choose an abortion, but that he fought for that right for his own daughter to have the choice of an abortion who is currently pregnant with his “Grand-fetus” at 20 weeks old. It’s a boy. After such and astonishing statement he went on to share stories of how he assisted and encouraged other women to have an abortion and even took one woman to the airport in 1970 to fly to NY when abortion was illegal in Texas.
This was not only the saddest, but frankly the most shocking and revolting speech I had heard throughout the entire debate. He even began by explaining why he was insulted that Sen. Dan Patrick would suggest supporters of abortion are not Christian. If Sen. Whitmire is in a church I strongly recommend his pastor or priest have a very long talk with him as with all who refused to support this bill.
At 11:48 the bill passed the second reading. Since the Senate was still in a legislative day from Wednesday they adjourned and were called back to session two minutes later. The secretary of the Senate said a beautiful prayer and a standing ovation was given for the DPS. Thank them whenever you see them for they did a wonderful job.
The bill passed the third reading and Rep. Hughes office erupted in glee! I was half crying and half laughing. What a thrill to be there and to have a hand in such a great moment! It is a time I will not forget!
After helping shuttle some students to the church where they were sleeping Andrew and I headed to IHOP for a small victory party with a few people. Yea, pro-life doesn’t do victory well because everyone was on their phone and computers preparing for the next fight!
Where do we go from here?
Sometime soon Gov. Rick Perry will sign the bill into law. It is likely that it will immediately face legal challenges from pro-abort groups who stand to lose a lot of money from this bill. Don’t think it is ever about women’s health. We need to keep praying for this bill and don’t be discouraged as it goes through this process. Specifically pray that no injunctions are placed on the bill.
Here are some things we did well and can continue to improve.
Many pro-life leaders came together to communicate and work on this bill. Nobody really cared about credit or making their name off of this legislation. The focus was saving babies.
Improving: There are still some leaders and organizations that refuse to work together. I don’t know the background, but from the outside all any one can see is adults being childish and refusing to reconcile. We are stronger together and people close to these groups need to start slapping them around until they listen.
We were creative and flexible. I’ve mentioned before that LetTexasSpeak.com came together on Monday and was launched on Tuesday. We had the connections and the technology to pull it off last minute. We gave the pro-aborts a reason to come to us and their reactions with Hail Satan and shouting down the people of Texas created great coverage and motivated people to join us.
Improving: We need to get a larger network of getting the word out about stuff like this that is not linked to one organization. We need text, facebook groups, and twitter accounts that are willing to put out info. Almost like a Drudge Report for the pro-lifers. This can also be something that forces the warring groups to come together if they want to be allowed to participate. We also need more creative events. We need young and enthusiastic pro-life people that are willing to think outside the box. Life tape and prayer circles are great, but we need new ideas that mean they come to us.
Air Traffic Control – One great thing we did was have a guy, Michael Gallops, that was monitoring and communicating with leaders on the ground. I referred to him as Oracle from DC Comics because he kept us informed and got people where they needed to be. This was a help.
Improving: We could certainly use a few more people doing this as Michael was at it 24/7. We need a team of people willing to research and follow both supporters and protesters. We also need more tech. We need a leaders text group and for supporters so info goes out instantly. It’d be great if organizations had a few iPads ready to loan out to a few leaders on the ground that might not have one, but that also comes with having leaders dedicate themselves to overcoming fear and learning new tech.
4. Media – This one is really mixed. I think those of us on the ground did pretty well controlling the narrative as much as possible. We didn’t come across as aggressive except for one instance where people in blue were chanting while orange was actually kneeling. It was quelled quickly but that was not good. As I mentioned earlier, the Hail Satan and the chants, and frankly just the clothing choices and way orange radicals portrayed themselves worked in our favor. Most Texans, even if they agreed with them, didn’t want to be associated with what they were doing.
Improving: Unfortunately, our elected representatives still haven’t learned the lessons. Rep. Jodie Laubenberg was great. A soft spoken pro-life woman that made the opponents of the bill look aggressive especially the men questioning her.
It was also wonderful when all the Republican women stood around her. It showed that women support this bill. Yet, when Sen. Paxton and Lt. Gov. Dewhurst have Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum in to speak on the bill this is the image we get:
Now there are some women in there, but no young people or minorities. As Sen. Santorum said when speaking to the Students for Life, “The pro-life movement is a young person’s movement.” Well sir, then tell your handlers to make sure young people are in the frame. Take a look at what Pres. Obama does when he wants gun control.
And here is Texas Sen. Wendy Davis the day after the vote.
A day earlier she was fighting in Planned Parenthood pink to protect the right for parents to murder their children, but here she is riding with a young African-American child. African- American women are targeted for abortions more than anyone else and the founder of Planned Parenthood believed in exterminating the “negro” population. Yet, no one will pay attention to that because the visuals tell a different story. These are the lessons we have to learn.
Last week we had a great victory. We helped a lot of other states gain momentum and hopefully we can pass on that knowledge to others. We must also remember that the opposition gained momentum as well. Wendy Davis and Planned Parenthood raised a lot of money off of their fight for the legal slaughter of abortion. And if you remember Wisconsin while Gov. Walker did manage to push through his legislation on unions and survive a recall the state went on to elect an openly gay senator in 2012 and even with the Vice Presidential candidate on the ticket the Republican party couldn’t carry the state.
Wins like this can come at a cost, but they are worth it and we must be diligent moving forward. We have to fight for the hearts and minds of our friends and family. We must get more people involved in the fight. We need the churches to rise up and remember that to preach the spiritual life of Christ we must also stand for life in the womb.
Please consider these things and let us continue to be the voice for the voiceless.
P.S. If you would like to help cover expenses from last week and future expenses for last week you can donate here:
P.P.S. Some people asked for a red, white, and blue pro-life shirt. Here is the design and it is available until Aug. 4 for just $15.
Here are some more photos of the week:
I want to add one last thing. I’m giving away a documentary on adoption at Pro-Life Texas. If you’d like to enter and spread the word here is the link: