Texas Stands Up To Washington, Planned Parenthood

March 1, 2012

Last week, the Texas Health & Human Services Commissioner Tom Suehs, Gov. Rick Perry, and Attorney General Greg Abbott all stood tall against Planned Parenthood and the Obama administration on the issue of use of taxpayer funds for the Woman’s Health Program (WHP) in Texas by abortion providers.

As a result of legislation passed in Texas in 2011, which Liberty Institute was instrumental in supporting, Planned Parenthood will effectively be defunded of taxpayer dollars from the WHP in March of 2012, as there are numerous other healthcare providers in Texas that can meet the needs of Texas women without having an abortion connection dragging them down.  At least 11 Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas have already closed as a result. The feds have threatened to shut down the WHP completely if Planned Parenthood is not included in the program.  Sounds like the feds care more about playing politics than meeting the needs of women.  As Texas has done time and time again, our leaders stood tall against another attempted Washington, D.C. takeover.

Take Action! Please send Gov. Perry an email thanking him for his support on this issue! The abortion supporters are flooding the Governor’s office so our side needs to show up!  You can thank the Governor here.

Texas Joins Lawsuit Against Obamacare’s Abortifacient and Contraception Mandate

February 28, 2012

The State of Texas has joined in the lawsuit against Obamacare’s mandate for contraception and abortifacient drug coverage.  Texas now joins Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Carolina in the fight for religious liberty.

Liberty Institute’s supports the state’s stand on this important issue:

“We are in full agreement with the actions taken by the State of Texas in its efforts to dismantle Obamacare,” said Jonathan Saenz, Director of Legislative Affairs with the Liberty Institute. “On behalf of all religious organizations, we want to add our voice to the outcry taking place throughout Texas and the nation by sending a message to the President that we are well aware and not naive to his ever-growing and deceptive ploys that continue to violate religious beliefs protected by the First Amendment.”

Contact other state Attorney Generals and ask that your state get involved

Check out Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott discussing the lawsuit here.

Texas Sonogram Law Prevents Doctors From Banning Women From Seeing Sonogram

January 18, 2012

The Texas Sonogram law is now in full effect as of January 13, 2012, as ordered by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Yes, every abortion clinic and abortion doctor in Texas must follow this law, now.  Any doctor seeking to perform an abortion on a woman in Texas must follow this law that protects women and makes it illegal for doctors to prevent a woman from seeing a sonogram image.  During the legislative process, we heard so many women testify about how abortion clinic doctors would not let them see the sonogram image.

The Sonogram law requires:

1. A woman must have the sonogram displayed so she can see it.

2. A woman must have a sonogram performed on her.

3. The baby’s heartbeat must be made audible so the woman can hear it.

4. A woman must be given a description of the sonogram image.

5. A woman must have a face to face meeting with the abortion doctor.

6. A woman must be given this information 24 hours before the abortion.

If a doctor does not provide a woman with this information, the doctor faces civil penalties.

Spread the word, and make sure every woman in Texas knows that she now has significant protections in the law when she goes into an abortion clinic.  If you hear of any doctor or abortion clinic not following this law, please contact our office immediately at 512-478-2220.

Court: Texas Sonogram Law To Be Enforced Immediately

January 13, 2012

See the court’s order here.   5th Circuit Order 011312    

See the Texas Attorney General’s request here.    State Motion for Mandate 011212

Thanks again to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and his outstanding staff!

Watch Our Video on Texas Sonogram Case Victory!!

January 12, 2012


By the way, big thanks goes to Attorney General Greg Abbott and Texas Solicitor General Jonathan Mitchell for doing an excellent job defending the Texas Sonogram law!!

Texas’ Sonogram Law Ruled Constitutional, Signaling Biggest Pro-Life Victory This Decade

January 10, 2012

U.S. Fifth Circuit Court Upholds Law Stating Sonograms Must Be Performed 24 Hours Before Abortions 

AUSTIN, Texas, January 10, 2012 – Today, Liberty Institute announced a major pro-life victory when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit declared constitutional the recently enacted Texas Sonogram Law, also known as HB 15. The Fifth Circuit’s decision overturned a controversial ruling by U.S. District Judge Sparks, which enjoined the Texas law co-authored by Senator Dan Patrick and Representative Sid Miller and was signed into law by Governor Rick Perry in May 2011. The law requires doctors and certified sonographers to perform a sonogram on women seeking an abortion at least 24 hours before the procedure.

“This is one of the most important victories in the past 10 years for informed consent for women seeking an abortion,” said Jonathan Saenz, Liberty Institute Attorney who heads the office at the Texas Capitol and provided the main legal testimony for the bill during the legislative process. “Women and unborn children in Texas are safer today because of this decision and no longer subject to the abuse of abortion doctors who deny women critical medical information.”

HB 15, which amends the 2003 Texas Woman’s Right to Know Act (“WRKA”), requires the physician “who is to perform an abortion” to perform and display a sonogram of the fetus, make audible the heart auscultation of the fetus for the woman to hear, as well as explain to her the results of each procedure and to wait 24 hours, in most cases, between these disclosures and performing the abortion.

Senator Patrick said, “I was always confident that our bill would survive any constitutional question because our goal from the beginning was to protect the woman’s right to know, protect the unborn and protect the constitution.”

Representative Sid Miller, said, “I commend the court of appeals for this just decision which confirms that women have every right to be fully informed about the abortion decision and that my fellow Texas lawmakers who supported this law stayed within the bounds of U.S. Supreme Court precedent.”

In August, on behalf of Senator Patrick and Representative Miller and in support of the law, Liberty Institute filed an amicus brief in the lawsuit seeking to strike down Texas’ new sonogram law (HB 15), which was originally scheduled to go into effect on September 1, 2011.  Senator Patrick and Representative Miller were the authors of HB 15 in the Texas Senate and Texas House of Representatives, respectively.  Liberty Institute argued that HB 15 is consistent with The Supreme Court and only requires the disclosure of truthful and accurate information to allow women to make informed decisions regarding their pregnancies.

Read the Fifth Circuit Court’s Opinion here.

Download this press release here.

Texas Sonogram Law Ruled Constitutional

January 10, 2012

Breaking News — Texas Sonogram law ruled constitutional! The Fifth Circuit Court (Edith Jones opinion) holds recently enacted Texas Sonogram law constitutional. The Fifth Circuit reversed Judge Sparks, vacating his granting of preliminary injunction, which had stopped enforcement of the Texas Sonogram law.

Check back to the blog today for a full press release with quotes from the bill’s authors, Senator Dan Patrick and Representative Sid Miller. Liberty Institute, on behalf of Senator Dan Patrick and Representative Sid Miller, had filed an amicus brief with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the law.

You can download the 5th Circuit Court opinion here

Update: See here for Liberty Institute’s press release.

Veterans Day Teaching in Texas Public Schools Protected by Texas State Board Of Education, Religious Liberty Prevails over Federal Gov’t in Houston

November 11, 2011

Veterans & Their Families Protected in Texas by Liberty Institute:  At Liberty Institute we were honored to win a huge religious liberty case in Houston at the VA Cemetery where “God” was being banned at military funerals, in additiona to other hostile attempts censor religious expression.  Details here http://www.libertyinstitute.org/

Teaching on Veterans Day Prevails in  Texas Public Schools!  During the Texas Social Studies & History standards battle in 2010, a misguided group of teachers recommended that Veterans Day be removed from some sections of K-12 social studies.  But they wanted to add more mentions of Mary Kay Ash and some liberal members wanted more mentions of avowed Socialist, Dolores Huerta.  This outrageous effort by some groups of teachers to remove Veterans Day from parts of our social studies standards ultimately failed, because our ELECTED State Board of Education members said NO to these changes.  Our conservative leadership by the State Board of Education members, led the way on this. Find out more at www.juststatethefacts.com


For our continuing work, at Liberty Institute, to protect Veterans Memorials, like the Mojave Desert Memorial & Cross and the Mt. Soledad Memorial and see www.donttearmedown.com

Also, see our State Board of Education video where we helped keep Veterans Day from being taken out of some sections of the K-12 social studies standards and some pictures from the Veterans’ Day Parade in Austin.

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New York Abortion Group Challenges Texas Informed Consent Law: Court Hearing But No Decision

July 6, 2011

A New York abortion group, Center for Reproductive Rights filed a lawsuit against a new Texas informed consent law including sonograms before abortions.  The abortion group was granted a hearing today on their motion to stop the enforcement of the law.  The court did not rule on the motion and granted both side additional time to submit evidence and additional briefing on the issues.  The Texas Attorney General’s office is defending the informed consent statute.

Liberty Institute attorney, Jonathan Saenz, addressing the media after the court hearing:

Liberty Institute on Fox News this Morning

June 6, 2011

I was on Fox News this morning with Angela Hildenbrand, class valedictorian and Liberty Institute client, to discuss the Medina Valley High School Graduation.  The video of the interview is below.

Liberty Institute Gives Biased Fordham Institute Texas Social Studies Report an “F”

February 16, 2011

NEWS RELEASE – For Immediate Release

Liberty Institute Gives Fordham Institute’s Social Studies Report an F:
Fordham Institute Fails in Its Inaccurate Attempt to Discredit Texas Educational Standards

AUSTIN, Texas, February 16, 2011 – Today, Liberty Institute announced that the Fordham Institute’s report attempting to discredit Texas’ social studies standards receives an F due to its use of inaccurate and made-up facts as proof. This report was released more than eight months after the Texas State Board of Education took its final vote on this issue in May of 2010, after nearly 18 months of extensive public hearings and deliberations.

“This attack comes from a group funded in part by the liberal Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, but I must admit I am still embarrassed for them in their inaccuracies, even with their clear bias,” said Kelly Shackelford, president/CEO for Liberty Institute. “Texans are not impressed by some education elitist ‘think tank’, with left-wing funding and an agenda, launching bombs from Washington, D.C., aimed at Texas. This attack was baseless, inaccurate, biased, and ineffectual.”

Examples of false statements in the report include the idea that instruction on “Slavery is… largely missing,” when in actuality, slavery and slave are listed numerous times in the standards, and related terms “Emancipation Proclamation” and “abolitionist movement” are required teaching in every grade starting with 3rd grade. Countless important figures related to this are also required for study. The report even criticizes Texas for discussing the religious history of our early American colonies.

Also contributing to the report’s failing grade is the Fordham Institute’s attempt to pass off the report as educationally unbiased and the media’s misrepresentation of the Fordham Institute as a conservative organization. The Fordham Institute receives funding from the Gates Foundation, well-known as a liberal group which is advocating heavily for national education standards, which is an Obama administration priority that is widely rejected in Texas by both Gov. Perry and the thousands of Texan parents, educators, and concerned citizens who spoke out in favor of the newly-adopted social studies standards.

“The most obvious problem with this report is that it is full of dramatic overstatements, trivial details, and flat-out lies about the content of Texas’ social studies standards,” said Jonathan Saenz, director of legislative affairs for Liberty Institute. “This is just another Washington voice, Johnny-come-lately trying to punish Texas for rejecting Obama’s attempted takeover of state curriculum standards. Texas will not be bullied by a biased report that gets our history standards wrong. A piece of friendly advice to Washington elites and other late-comers on this issue: read the standards!”

Liberty Institute participated in every Texas State Board of Education hearing on this issue. Full information about what is in the standards is online at www.JustStateTheFacts.com, and a list of examples from the Fordham Institute’s study are debunked in a document linked here.

Click here to see an important video about Texas Social Studies and the important of an elected State Board of Education in Texas.

Social Studies/Christmas Update: Austin Liberals Lose Once Again at State Board of Education

January 18, 2010

See blog entry below.  Check back this week for detailed analysis.

Social Studies Summary/Votes Today-Live Blogging

January 14, 2010


10:45 p.m.- hearing concludes at end of 8th grade.  Rest of Social Studies will be taken up tomorrow.  And we’ll be here.

10:33 p.m. – SBOE Member Dunbar gets right to work: John Locke, William Blackstone added to Grade 8.

10:15 p.m. Wealth of Nations book, added.

9:58 p.m. SBOE Member Cynthia Dunbar is now in the room.  She appears to have had a schedule conflict over the past two days.

9:10 – Grade 6. Terri Leo brings amendment to go back to original list of holidays: Christmas, Easter, Ramadan, Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah.  Would mean Vaisakhi and the annual hajj.  Amendment fails.

New list of holidays.  Christmas, Easter, Ramadan, Yom Kippur, Rosh Hoshanah, Vaisakhi, Diwali, and the annual hajj.

8:58 p.m. SBOE meeting is back on.  Up to be added-“understand the importance of morality and ethics in maintaining a functional  free enterprise system”  7 Vote for, looks like mostly Republicans.  It passes.  Mavis Knight votes against it.  Bob Craig doesn’t vote.  Is this a controversial statement?  Come on, where’s the leadership

7:17 p.m. Describe the significance of the Second Great Awakening.  SBOE Member Cargill brings the motion.  Voted down.

6:50 p.m. – Grade 5, Discussion over Declaration of Independence.

Thomas Paine, Sons of Liberty sought to be added.  Motivations of Founding Fathers. Approved. Thomas Paine doesn’t make the cut, but he’s still in Grade 8.

5:54 p.m. Justice Raul A. Gonzalez is added to Grade 4.

See below for our part in the America is Exceptional Press Conference yesterday.

5:38 p.m. Grade 3.  Agosto asks to put Henry Cisneros back (he was removed by writing teams).  Hardy objects to him, his role as HUD director led to housing debacle, according to her.  Amendment fails, Cisneros stays out.

5:27 p.m. Sam Walton is added in grade 3, section 8(C).  Milton Hershey also added.

5:14 p.m. James A. Lovell, pilot of Apollo 13, added by SBOE Member Mercer, others.  And Juliet Gordon Lowe.  Ellen Ochoa, first Hispanic astronaut, added.

5:02 p.m. “The Four Chaplains” added. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Chaplains  

Methodist Reverend George L. Fox, the Jewish Rabbi Alexander D. Goode, the Roman Catholic Priest John P. Washington and the Reformed Church in America Reverend Clark V. Poling

4:45 p.m. Paul Revere goes back in, he was taken out. American love of individualism, inventiveness, and freedom is in.  W.E. DuBois is in.

4:22 p.m. SBOE Member Mercer-add Nathan Hale to grade 1.  Passes. Hardy objects.

3:50 p.m. Social Studies debate and vote has started.  Columbus getting some love, and John Smith.  Added to Kindergarten grade, barely.  SBOE Members, Nunez, Berlanga, Allen, and Knight voted against, at least.  Couldn’t see the other hands against.

Jose Antonio Navarro also gets added to Kindergarten, with no objections.

Richard Alleen added to Grade 1, no objections.

SBOE Member Pat Hardy wants to strike the words “holding public officials to their word.”  SBOE Member Bob Craig is also against this phrase.  Reminds me of when he made rude comments about the 10,000 plus people that called on SBOE members to prevent censorship in the Science classrooms.

SBOE Member Allen opposes the phrase. SBOE Member Miller supports the phrase.

Phrase passes.

3:25 p.m.  Social Studies debate and Vote about to begin.


Democratic Republic is how our government will be described.

Grades 3-12, Celebrate Freedom Week information will be the same in all grades.

Specific Reading selections are removed from all grades, not just some.

We’ll be providing live blog updates for the State Board of Education meeting today when they vote on important Social Studies issues. 


2:45 p.m. SBOE is still not on the Social Studies issue.  Stay tuned!

1:05- SBOE is still on another issue.  Should get to Social Studies soon.

11:05 a.m. The SBOE is taking up other unrelated issues at this point, but should get to the Social Studies issue soon!

For now, check out some coverage from yesterday! http://www.onenewsnow.com/Legal/Default.aspx?id=852762 


Have you signed our Christmas petition?  There’s still time!  www.christmastextbooks.com


Mary Kay Ash in one place as she is mentioned more often than Christopher Columbus. 

●          Mary Kay-Grade 3, page 23 of Social Studies (remove), U.S. History, page 10

●          Christopher Columbus-Grade 3, page 21.

 Columbus needs to be added back in one section.

● Christopher Columbus has been removed(needs to be put back): Grade 4, page 30;

● Columbus Day does remain: Grade 5, page 45.

●          Return of Significant Figures Such as Neil Armstrong and George Patton Should Remain.

●          Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein should be put back in. Removed from World History,   

            section 26(c).

●          USSR reference as “expansionism” should be changed back to “aggression.” U.S. History 7(A):

●          U.S. “expansion” has been changed to “imperialism”.  It should be changed back to “expansionism”. U.S. History section 3(A).

*          Neil Armstrong and George Patton should stay in (they were taken out in 2009, but put back in after public outcry). Grade 5, section 23(A)http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/curriculum/pdf/ElementaryTEKSOct2009.pdf

& U.S. History 6(E) http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/curriculum/pdf/USHistoryTEKSOct2009.pdf

*  Keep Christmas in list of holidays.  (was taken out by appointed committee in July 2009 draft, but put back in by appointed committee, not SBOE, after public outcry.

* While Christmas has been attacked and taken out at one point, Diwali, Vaisakhi, and the annual hajj were added. Grade 6, 19(B), http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/curriculum/pdf/MSTEKSOct2009.pdf

Christmas & Social Studies Vote Next Week! Sign the Petition & Act Now!

January 5, 2010

Click here for an update on this issuehttps://texaslegislativeupdate.wordpress.com/

Sign the “Keep Christmas” Petition. http://www.christmastextbooks.com/

Will Christmas stay or go? Will the Founding Fathers be given the respect they deserve? Will Columbus be buried in a lone corner of the curriculum? Will the effort to remove Veterans Day be stopped once and for all.  Will teaching about our state and national religious heritage be changed?  And much more!

Just a few questions that could receive more clear answers next week at the State Board of Education hearing & VOTE on all of the statewide Social Studies curriculum for K-12, next Wednesday.  This hearing and VOTE will affect every public school student.

SIGN OUR PETITION!!!  (Click link for petition) http://www.christmastextbooks.com/  Don’t Mess With Christmas in Texas!!

We will deliver the petition results and numbers to the SBOE members next week. 

After months of discussion……………..THE SBOE WILL VOTE ON THESE ISSUES NEXT WEEK!!

We need educators (former and current) and parents, and others to come testify with us at the hearing!

This Friday from 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., you can call  512-463-9581  or fax: 512-936-4319 to have your name on the testimony list for the Wednesday, January 13th hearing at the TEA building, here in Austin.

You want to testify on Item #6 for next Wednesday. http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index4.aspx?id=7691

If you plan to testify and/or attend, please let us know so we can be of help to you.  email us at legislative@freemarket.org

If you cannot come to testify, please call your State Board of Education member and let them know your concern for the future of Social Studies curriculum in Texas. Tell them to keep Christmas, respect the Founding Fathers and preserve our religious heritage in Social Studies classes.  Click here for contact information. https://texaslegislativeupdate.wordpress.com/2009/11/20/texas-state-board-of-education-contact-information/

Want to Make A Difference for Faith, Family & Freedoms? Give A Year-End Gift

December 28, 2009

Click here to Donate to our work TODAY!

(President of Free Market Foundation shown above as legal counsel for Hannah Giles, who helping take down ACORN.)

As you know, we, at Free Market Foundation/Liberty Legal Institute, are a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization.  We are funded solely by private donations.  We could not do the work we do without the support of so many generous persons. 

But our battles (and victories) have been many this year, and we need a strong December and finish for 2009 to cover the expenses for defending freedoms and family values in the courts, legislature and media.

Click here to donate to our work today!


In the Courts

  • We won our third landmark case on religious freedom in the past three years at the Texas Supreme Court – this time protecting all churches in an opinion that national experts hailed as “groundbreaking”. 
  • We won the first written decision from the IRS for pastors and churches nationwide in over a decade, explicitly protecting pastors’ rights to speak to the political issues of the day and equip their congregants to vote their values.
  • We argued, along with the Texas Solicitor General, at the Federal Court of Appeals to defend the Texas Moment of Silence law, and we won! Now, we’re fighting again at federal appeals to defend the words “under God” in the Texas pledge in a lawsuit brought by an atheist plaintiff.
  • And there’s more- our brief was cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in the Summum case; we’ve won numerous victories for churches literally being banned from existing; we represent Hannah Giles, who has been sued by ACORN; we represent all the major veterans groups in the Mojave Desert Cross case at the U.S. Supreme Court; and, we represent Houston City Councilwoman, Ann Clutterbuck, in a lawsuit brought to try to ban prayers at city council meetings.

In the Legislature

  • We won the major battle at our State Board of Education, stopping the liberal attempt to strip our students of academic freedom and their right to test the strengths and weaknesses of all scientific theories, including evolution.
  • We led the charge, reversing the State Board of Education committee decision to remove Christmas from the coverage of religious holidays in our Social Studies books and standards.
  • We won a last-minute veto from the Governor on a frightening bill which would have changed the Texas law on parental rights to allow government officials to take away and interrogate anyone’s children with no notice or requirement of “just cause.”
  • Defeated Planned Parenthood’s attempt to takeover sex education in Texas.
  • Defeated dangerous so-called “Hate Crimes” legislation.
  • We helped lead the largest Pro-Life lobby day at the Capitol, with live ultrasounds performed for legislators.
  • We tracked over 150 bills, testified in 25 legislative hearings, and held 9 press conferences during the Texas Legislative Session.
  • Had nearly 50,000 hits on our Texas Legislative Update Blog

In the Media/Culture

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