Thousands March For Life in Dallas; Texas Rally for Life this Saturday in Austin

January 23, 2012

What a fantastic March for Life Rally in downtown Dallas this past weekend! There was beautiful weather, thousands of people, and with recent victories like the Sonogram Law, there was a renewed sense of purpose in continuing to fight for a culture of life.  Don’t forget that the Texas Rally for Life is this coming Saturday at the Texas Capitol. Liberty Institute will be participating as one of the Host Committee orgainizations.  For more details visit: http://www.texasrallyforlife.org/

Pictures from Dallas on Saturday:

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Check out a video of the March, with the line seemingly going on forever.


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!


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.


Sonogram Bill Goes Before 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Today

January 4, 2012

Sonogram_Picture_Texas_CapitolToday, the Sonogram Bill (HB 15) will go before the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.  The State of Texas will be seeking to overturn U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks ruling that put on hold key provisions of Texas’ new sonogram law.  The Sonogram Bill, which requires doctors or certified sonographers to perform a sonogram on women seeking an abortion at least 24 hours before the procedure, was overwhelmingly passed by the Texas Legislature and signed into law by Governor Perry this past legislative session.

Liberty Institute, on behalf of Texas State Senator Dan Patrick and Representative Sid Miller – authors of the Sonogram Bill in the Texas Senate and House respectively, filed an amicus brief with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the law.  Liberty Institute argues that HB 15 is consistent with Supreme Court precedents and only requires the disclosure of truthful and accurate information to allow women to make informed decisions regarding their pregnancies.  Liberty Institute was also involved in helping lawmakers draft the best language for this legislation and provided legal advocacy at numerous legislative hearings on this matter when pro-abortion advocates tried to stop this effort.

Read the legislators’ amicus brief filed with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Texas Medical Professionals Performing Abortion Services v. Lakey.


Liberty Institute Files Brief to Support Sonogram Bill, On Behalf of Sen. Dan Patrick, Rep. Sid Miller

November 4, 2011

Today, on behalf of Texas Senator Dan Patrick and Texas Representative Sid Miller, Liberty Institute filed an amicus brief the in appeal of the preliminary injunction that put on hold key portions of Texas’ new sonogram law (HB 15). Senator Patrick and Representative Miller were the authors of HB 15 in the Texas Senate and Texas House of Representatives, respectively. Liberty Institute argues that HB 15 is consistent with Supreme Court precedents and only requires the disclosure of truthful and accurate information to allow women to make informed decisions regarding their pregnancies.

“Liberty Institute has been an important partner in passing this legislation since I first filed it in 2007,” said Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston). “I hope our work will finally be allowed to help the women and unborn children of Texas. I am disappointed that we have to wait even one more day for the protections we passed this last legislative session. I hope the Fifth Circuit moves quickly to allow women to be fully informed before making this life altering decision.”

HB 15, which requires doctors or certified sonographers to perform a sonogram on women seeking an abortion at least 24 hours before the procedure, was signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry on May 24, however, key portions of the law were struck down by U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks.

“Just as doctor gives medically-relevant explanation of his or her patient’s condition before even a minor procedure, an abortion provider should offer such information to women seeking abortions,” said Rep. Miller (R-Stephenville). “I’m hopeful that all of the sonogram bill will be upheld, so women can be fully informed.”

Read the legislators’ amicus brief filed today with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Texas Medical Professionals Performing Abortion Services v. Lakey.

View Press Release


Senator Dan Patrick and Rep. Sid Miller interviewed on Texas Legislative Session

September 12, 2011

As part of our continued coverage of the recently completed legislative session, we will be releasing a series of sit down interviews with key conservative legislators that had an impact on important issues during the session. Our 5th and 6th interviews are with Senator Dan Patrick and Representative Sid Miller.  Senator Patrick and Rep. Miller, authors of the Sonogram Bill in the Senate and House respectively, discuss the victory we had this session in passing the Sonogram Bill. Senator Patrick also discusses the key efforts to support and defend the State Board of Education.


New Legislation Goes Into Effect Today

September 1, 2011

Today, September 1, most of the new legislation passed in the recently completed legislation session goes into effect.

Highlights of the session include passage of  (1) the Sonogram bill, (2) Voter I.D. bill,  (3) Choose Life license plate bill; (4) the defunding of millions of taxpayer dollars from Planned Parenthood; (5) the protection of the elected State Board of Education, (6) the protection of citizens whose constitutional rights have been violated, (7) the defeat of attacks on marriage and efforts to expand gambling, and (8) the balancing of the 2012-2013 budget without raising taxes or using the rainy day fund.

Check out our Legislative Wrap-up video for a quick overview of the 82nd Legislative Session with insights from several key conservative legislators.


Texas Legislators Stand for Sonogram Law

August 5, 2011

Today, on behalf of Texas Senator Dan Patrick and Texas Representative Sid Miller, Liberty Institute filed an amicus brief in the lawsuit seeking to strike down Texas’ new sonogram law (HB 15).  Senator Patrick and Representative Miller were the authors of HB 15 in the Texas Senate and Texas House of Representatives, respectively.  Liberty Institute argues that HB 15 is consistent with Supreme Court and only requires the disclosure of truthful and accurate information to allow women to make informed decisions regarding their pregnancies.

“For years, women have been shielded from relevant information about their unborn child and the abortion procedure by abortionists who make money off of these women’s decisions,” said Kelly Shackelford, president/CEO for Liberty Institute. “This lawsuit seeks to ensure less information for women and is a sad attempt to continue the practice of blindfolding women who are considering abortion. Women should have a right to see the sonogram of their child.”

HB 15, which requires doctors or certified sonographers to perform a sonogram on women seeking an abortion at least 24 hours before the procedure, was signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry on May 24, and is set to go into effect September 1. A federal court held a hearing on the law in July, but gave no indication of how it would rule.

“The sonogram brings Texas’ outdated informed consent laws into the 21st century by reflecting advances in sonogram technology and related fields,” said Sen. Patrick (R-Houston).  “Women must be given complete information about their pregnancies before making a life-changing choice regarding abortion.

“Just as doctor gives medically-relevant explanation of his or her patient’s condition before even a minor procedure, an abortion provider should offer such information to women seeking abortions,” said Rep. Miller (R-Stephenville). “This law protects Texans and empowers women with the critical and important information they need before making such a life-altering decision.”

Read the legislators’ amicus brief in Texas Medical Professionals Performing Abortion Services v. Lakey

 


Rep. Bryan Hughes Interview on Pro-Life Victories, Defunding of Planned Parenthood

August 3, 2011

As part of our continued coverage of the recently completed legislative session, we will be releasing a series of sit down interviews we did with key conservative legislators that had an impact on important issues during the session. Our 2nd interview is with Rep. Bryan Hughes.  We talked with Rep. Hughes about the important pro-life victories from the session, including his leadership in efforts to defund abortion providers of tax dollars.


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:


Video Update: Overview and Wrap-Up of the 82nd Texas Legislative Session

July 1, 2011

While the 82nd Texas Legislative session has ended, our work at the Texas Capitol has not.  Over the coming days, we will be providing recaps of the main issues and votes from throughout the session.  Our first video is a recap of the major issues from the legislative session.

Check back on the blog frequently as we will be providing more detailed summaries of the session including links to important votes and a series of exclusive interviews from some of the influential legislators from the session.


Liberty Institute Statement on 82nd Legislative Session End: Life, Liberty Proctected With Some Exceptions

June 30, 2011

The Texas Legislature adjourned sine die the special session, and presumably concludes its official legislative work for the 82nd Texas Legislative Session.  Highlights of the session include passage of  (1) the Sonogram bill, (2) Voter I.D. bill,  (3) Choose Life license plate bill; (4) the defunding of millions of taxpayer dollars from Planned Parenthood; (5) the protection of the elected State Board of Education, (6) the protection of citizens whose constitutional rights have been violated, (7) the defeat of attacks on marriage and efforts to expand gambling, and (8) the balancing of the 2012-2013 budget without raising taxes or using the rainy day fund.

Liberty Institute released the following statement:

“While some religious liberty and conservative legislation did not pass, we are proud that Texas showed it stands for protecting women, protecting of innocent human life and taxpayer dollars and protecting the elected State Board of Education that has so valiantly defended teaching about our religious heritage, our U.S. Constitution and American exceptionalism.

“We are so thankful that Texas has distinguished itself from Washington, and Texas leaders have shown the rest of the country how to pass a balanced budget without raising taxes.

“Many elected officials responded to the will of the people, and that’s good government.”

Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal and policy group dedicated to protecting freedoms and strengthening families. Liberty Institute maintains a full-time office in Austin, two blocks from the Texas Capitol and has a daily presence at the Capitol to advocate and assist in the legislative process.  Visit www.libertyinstitute.org for more information.

View the full statement in pdf form here.

Editor’s Note:  Jonathan Saenz, director of Legislative Affairs for Liberty Institute, can help round out your coverage of the Texas 82nd Legislative Session.  Call Jennifer Grisham to schedule an interview.

If you like the work Liberty Institute is involved in, please support us by making a donation today.  We are a nonprofit organization.


Texas Legislative Session Ends, Special Session Begins

May 31, 2011

The 82nd Texas Legislative Session ended yesterday.  Victories include the Sonogram bill, the Choose Life license plate bill, a conservative balanced budget (that didn’t raise taxes, doesn’t use the rainy day fund), and Voter I.D. And quickly thereafter, it was announced that the first called Special Session begins today.

Click here to see what bills have been filed in the House and the Senate for the special session.

We’ll continue our work on conservative social and fiscal issues during the special session as well.

Two items we’ll be covering for sure are budget issues related to defunding Planned Parenthood, no use of the rainy day fund and no new taxes, and education policy that respects the authority of the State Board of Education.


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