Friday, January 13, 2017

HB 948

Representative Tony Tinderholt has filed House Bill 948 which would outlaw all abortions in Texas.  The text of the bill can be read here:  http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/85R/billtext/pdf/HB00948I.pdf

Monday, July 15, 2013

Opportunity...



A Facebook post I made about why I went to Austin to testify...

Last Monday, I took one of the very few vacation days granted me with my new job, drove down to Austin, spent money on a motel room, and waited several hours in a long line inside the Capitol to give testimony to the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services. I did this because it was my opportunity to get into the public record that HB2/SB1 is not the pro-life bill that so many people proclaim it to be. If I were intending to just go down to Austin to give praise to the bill like so many "pro-lifers" were doing, I never would have gone.

I cringe whenever someone claiming to be pro-life says that Roe v. Wade is the law of the land. It isn't. It is an opinion of the Supreme Court, from the judicial branch of government. The Constitution gives legislative power only to the legislative branch of government, which, on the Federal level is Congress. This supposed right that Roe v. Wade gave to women to kill their babies doesn't exist. Rights don't come from government anyway; they come from God or by the fact of our humanity. They are acknowledged in our country's founding documents in order that our legislative bodies make laws to protect those rights. This so called right to choose abortion was something totally made up by the Supreme Court out of thin air (or, as Justice Blackmun called it in his majority opinion, the "penumbra"). If judges can just make up rights based on "pemumbras," then they can do just about anything. And then we fall under the rule of men, not the rule of law. Thomas Jefferson warned us of such things in 1798, in the Kentucky Resolutions, when he wrote that the Constitution is a compact between the states and that, "the government created by this compact was not made the exclusive or final judge of the extent of the powers delegated to itself; since that would have made its discretion, and not the Constitution, the measure of its powers; but that, as in all other cases of compact among powers having no common judge, each party has an equal right to judge for itself, as well of infractions as of the mode and measure of redress."

That being said, the old Texas abortion laws that Roe v. Wade vacated were terribly written and poorly executed in that there was no recognition of the right to life of the unborn child. The abortion procedure was merely outlawed as the State might have outlawed certain cosmetic surgeries. And there were exceptions to this ban for rape and incest cases. I included the text of those old laws in my latest blog post at http://texaspersonhood.blogspot.com/2013/07/ground-zero.html.

In Title IX of the Roe v. Wade majority opinion, Justice Blackmun makes the statement that "If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's case, of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the [14th] Amendment." Footnote 54 gives the Court's reasoning for the rejection of Texas's 14th Amendment argument and in so doing gives a blueprint for writing laws completely banning abortion that would be consistent with the Constitution and, presumably, with the Roe v. Wade opinion.

Texas has already laid the groundwork for doing such a thing. Current Texas law, specifically Tex. Penal Code §1.07 (26), says that an individual "means a human being who is alive, including an unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth." Tex. Penal Code §19.02 plainly states that a person commits the offense of murder if he "intentionally or knowingly causes the death of an individual." But Tex. Penal Code §19.06, specifically excludes unborn children from the protection of the statue defining and prohibiting homicide, saying that the murder is permitted as long as the baby is killed by the child's mother or her abortionist.

Getting rid of Tex. Penal Code §19.06 and removing all the abortion regulations from the Health and Safety Code that were put there by supposed "pro-life" bills, including the one that passed this week, would be enough to protect the right to life of these unborn children. Abortion would never be mentioned in the law and since the law already explicitly includes unborn children in its definition of a person, then abortionists could be charged and tried as murderers. This is what I went to Austin to tell the Committee, in two minutes or less...

And what would happen if such a law were passed and challenged in a federal court? There would be no law banning abortions to be overturned. Would it order the State of Texas to reinstate Tex. Penal Code §19.06, which is in clear contradiction to the definition of a person found in Chapter 1 of that same Penal Code? Or would the Court rule that Texas's definition of a person is unconstitutional, and if it did, on what basis could it possibly issue such a ruling? The Roe v. Wade and subsequent decisions, so far as I know, never answered that question, saying that only IF the suggestion of personhood was established, the fetus's right to life would be protected. When I look at the Texas Penal Code, I would have to say that the suggestion of personhood HAS been established. So how could the court overrule that? But with a Court that makes up rulings out of thin air (or "penumbra") who could say for certain? That's scary, I admit. But in the case of such an overrule, I would humbly suggest that the State defy the Court via nullification and continue to enforce its laws against murder, even if that led to the beginning of the secession process.

The fight against slavery was not easy, and it involved secession and war. Just look at the fits the pro-abortion crowd threw over this fake pro-life bill. Imagine what they would do if the Legislature tried to pass real pro-life legislation. Abolishing abortion will not be easy...

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Ground Zero

I have been neglecting this blog too long, and for that I apologize.

Austin, once again, has become Ground Zero in the abortion debate. That seems fitting since it was a Texas law that Roe v. Wade struck down. I took a vacation day yesterday and spent the entire day in the Texas Capitol. I managed to get an opportunity to testify before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee regarding Senate Bill 1, commonly called the "Fetal Pain Bill." I was very critical of the bill in my two-minute testimony, which was an extremely condensed version of the written testimony I submitted. To see video of my testimony, go to http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/Senate/commit/c610/c610.htm and click on the July 8, 2013 date. What you will get is a video file of the entire 16 hour hearing (you'll have to have RealPlayer to play the file). My testimony starts at 6:08:30. You can jump to it by moving the progress bar. Or you could watch it for six hours and eight minutes to get to it. But I wouldn't recommend that...

And below is the written testimony I submitted to the committee, most of which was taken from past posts on this blog:



I signed in today as being in favor of SB1 simply because I cannot stand with those who advocate legalized murder.  Because that’s what each and every abortion is:  a murder.  SB1 will outlaw some abortions that are now legal, and it will make it difficult for many abortion providers to operate, and that’s a good thing.  But I take issue with what SB1 will do.  In plain language, it ends with some form of “…and then you can kill the baby.”  Why not protect the right to life of every human being, not just those who have reached 20 weeks in utero?   Current Texas law, specifically Tex. Penal Code §1.07 (26), says that an individual "means a human being who is alive, including an unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth." Tex. Penal Code §19.02 plainly states that a person commits the offense of murder if he "intentionally or knowingly causes the death of an individual."  But Tex. Penal Code §19.06, specifically excludes unborn children from the protection of the statue defining and prohibiting murder, saying that the murder is permitted as long as the baby is killed by the child's mother or her abortionist.
Footnote 54 of the the Roe v. Wade majority opinion, which explains the Court’s reasoning for striking down the Texas law against abortion,  gives us a framework for creating laws which would protect all unborn children from abortion.  A section of Footnote 54 is below, in italics:

When Texas urges that a fetus is entitled to Fourteenth Amendment protection as a person, it faces a dilemma. Neither in Texas nor in any other State are all abortions prohibited. Despite broad proscription, an exception always exists. The exception contained [410 U.S. 113, 158] in Art. 1196, for an abortion procured or attempted by medical advice for the purpose of saving the life of the mother, is typical. But if the fetus is a person who is not to be deprived of life without due process of law, and if the mother's condition is the sole determinant, does not the Texas exception appear to be out of line with the Amendment's command?
There are other inconsistencies between Fourteenth Amendment status and the typical abortion statute. It has already been pointed out, n. 49, supra, that in Texas the woman is not a principal or an accomplice with respect to an abortion upon her. If the fetus is a person, why is the woman not a principal or an accomplice? Further, the penalty for criminal abortion specified by Art. 1195 is significantly less than the maximum penalty for murder prescribed by Art. 1257 of the Texas Penal Code. If the fetus is a person, may the penalties be different?

If, during argument, the State of Texas did assert that preborn children were protected under the Fourteenth Amendment, why did the Texas Penal Code treat the killing of unborn children differently than it treated the killing of other human beings? For review, here is the wording of the sections of the Texas Penal Code that were struck down by Roe v. Wade:

"Article 1191. Abortion
"If any person shall designedly administer to a pregnant woman or knowingly procure to be administered with her consent any drug or medicine, or shall use towards her any violence or means whatever externally or internally applied, and thereby procure an abortion, he shall be confined in the penitentiary not less than two nor more than five years; if it be done without her consent, the punishment shall be doubled. By `abortion' is meant that the life of the fetus or embryo shall be destroyed in the woman's womb or that a premature birth thereof be caused.
"Art. 1192. Furnishing the means
"Whoever furnishes the means for procuring an abortion knowing the purpose intended is guilty as an accomplice.
"Art. 1193. Attempt at abortion
"If the means used shall fail to produce an abortion, the offender is nevertheless guilty of an attempt to produce abortion, provided [410 U.S. 113, 118] it be shown that such means were calculated to produce that result, and shall be fined not less than one hundred nor more than one thousand dollars.
"Art. 1194. Murder in producing abortion
"If the death of the mother is occasioned by an abortion so produced or by an attempt to effect the same it is murder."
"Art. 1196. By medical advice
"Nothing in this chapter applies to an abortion procured or attempted by medical advice for the purpose of saving the life of the mother."

I fail to see anything in that language that indicated that Texas lawmakers had given even an inkling of thought to the idea that preborn children possessed the inalienable right to life or that they fell under the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment.  And, as theRoe v. Wade opinion pointed out, why weren't the women seeking abortions guilty of any crime under that statute?  As much as I hate to admit it, the Court was right in striking down that law. Of course, what they should have done as a remedy was to determine that the word "person" in the Fourteenth Amendment meant "a human being" and to order the States to fully protect the right to life, and guarantee the equal protection of, all human beings, regardless of age or stage of development. Instead, the Court ruled, as it did in Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), that certain human beings could be treated as property and could be either bought and sold or disposed of at will.

What the State of Texas must do is enact laws that actually do recognize that preborn children are persons under the Fourteenth Amendment. The Supreme Court has already indicated that this would be consistent with the Constitution, both in Footnote 54 and in the statement in Part IX of the Roe v. Wade majority opinion that "If this suggestion of personhood is established, the appellant's case, of course, collapses, for the fetus' right to life would then be guaranteed specifically by the Amendment."

Texas has already laid the framework for future laws which would fully protect preborn children from the murder that is going on throughout the state. Repeal Tex. Penal Code §19.06 and eliminate the abortion exception.  All other abortion regulations should also be repealed so that abortion becomes simply another form of murder, punishable like any other form of murder. I have drafted a blueprint of how such legislation might look, attached to this article.



By:                                               S.B. No. XXX



A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
AN ACT
relating to the protection of the right to life of all persons and bringing the Texas Penal Code into compliance with the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION 1.  Section 19.06, Penal Code, is amended to read as follows:
Sec. 19.06. APPLICABILITY TO MEDICAL PROCEDURES. (a) A physician who performs any procedure or dispenses any drug, and the result of either is the intentional death of any individual, commits an offense.
(b) An offense under this section is a felony of the first degree.
SECTION 2. Section 19.07, Penal Code, is added as follows:
Sec. 19.07. APPLICABILITY TO CERTAIN CONDUCT.  (a)  A mother of an unborn child who takes actions which result in the intentional death of the unborn child commits an offense.
(b) An offense under this section is a state jail felony.
SECTION 3.  Chapter 170, Health and Safety Code, is repealed.
SECTION 4.  Chapter 171, Health and Safety Code, is repealed.
SECTION 5.  The purpose of the Act is to guarantee and protect the inalienable right to life of all individuals in the State of Texas, in accordance with Amendment Fourteen of the Constitution of the United States, which states that no State shall “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The Texas Penal Code currently defines a “person” as an “individual” and an “individual” as “a human being who is alive, including an unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth.”  According to that Fourteenth Amendment, all individuals must receive equal protection under the law, especially in regards to the protection of life.
SECTION 6.  This Act takes effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution.  If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this Act takes effect on the 91st day after the last day of the legislative session.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Election Season

I haven't been updating this blog much. Since the Legislature only meets for 140 days every 2 years (some people think it needs to meet for 2 days every 140 years), and since Texas is not a ballot initiative state (meaning that any and all attempts to amend the Texas Constitution have to originate in the Legislature), there hasn't been much to report.

About the only thing I can say is that I am running for State Representative in my district. I should be on the November ballot as a Libertarian, running against the incumbent establishment Republican. If I somehow win, I would be the first Libertarian to win a seat in the Texas Legislature. I can then officially propose personhood bills.

I haven't done much campaigning yet since our district lines are still in flux thanks to a court challenge to the redistricting that the Legislature did in the last legislative session.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Caylee Anthony

The news just hit that Casey Anthony was found not guilty of the murder of her two-year-old daughter, Caylee Anthony. I admit that I really didn't keep up with the trial. I didn't see or hear any evidence in the case, so I am in no position to cast judgment on the jurors because of their verdict. But the comments on this article (over fourteen thousand of them now, and the story is just a few hours old) show a deep level of outrage over the perception that Casey Anthony murdered her daughter so that she could continue her comfortable, partying lifestyle, and that the system is allowing her to get away with this.

But I have to ask, where is the outrage for all the other dead children? Women by the thousands have hired professional killers to rip their babies apart, all so these women can continue in their comfortable, partying lifestyles. The murder of a human being is the murder of a human being, regardless of that human being's stage of development. Our government's primary task is to protect and ensure the inalienable right to life of each and every person. If we aren't outraged by the thousands of murders going on around us every day and by our government's disregard of such murders, why should we be so outraged by this one?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Life, Liberty, and Property

I am now a card-carrying Libertarian. Over the past few months, as I have given real and open thought to issues regarding the proper role of government, I have grown increasingly frustrated with the positions of the Republican Party, not the least of which is its "pro-life" stance. It is only natural that I seek alternatives. But why would someone who is as against legalized abortion as I am turn to the Libertarian Party?

The one and only reason for government to exist is to protect the right to life, liberty, and property of each individual. (To see what I mean by property, read the highly, highly recommended The Law by Frederic Bastiat.) This principle of government limited to the protection of basic individual rights can be found in our country's founding document, the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." The only political philosophy that tries to uphold this ideal without saying that government should take care of all our basic needs (or even worse, our every need) is libertarianism.

Of course, the Libertarian Party is not perfect. The party website (www.lp.org) proclaims that it is the Party of Principle. And yet, section 1.4 of the 2010 party platform says:

1.4 Abortion

Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.


What kind of principle is that? Government should be kept out of the matter? The protection of the right to life of all persons is the number one function of government. One cannot hold property if one does not have liberty, and one cannot have liberty without life. The protection of the right to life is the highest priority of any government. And government must do this for all persons. We cannot allow government to exclude any class of human beings from this protection. The government of our forefathers did this to black slaves; the government of Nazi Germany did this to the Jews and other groups. If the Libertarian Party had existed in the United States in 1840, would it have stated that slavery is a sensitive issue and that government should stay out of it? I'm fairly sure that most Libertarian Party members today would say no, and yet slavery was just as divisive an issue then as abortion is now.

Speaking very generally, people come to the Libertarian Party after thinking logically about issues involving what makes a good and proper government (it sure isn't because they want to be on the winning side of elections). So thinking logically, every human being has an origin. Every person has a birthdate, but each person existed before his or her birth, living and growing within the womb. The only logical point of origin for an individual human being is the moment when a sperm cell fertilizes an egg. Before that moment, a sperm cell is just a sperm cell. An egg is just an egg. But when the two join, an individual human being is created with all the requisite chromosomes and DNA. Therefore, if each individual human being has the inalienable right to life (inalienable meaning inherent or from God), then he or she obtains that right at this moment of origin. It is government's primary responsibility to protect that right from that moment forward in the same way it protects that right for all of us (by creating laws against murder, etc.).

Government must extend that responsibility to all human beings, regardless of the circumstances of a person's origin. Conventional pro-lifers and/or Republicans who claim to be against abortion except in cases of rape or incest (i.e. our current governor Rick Perry) display a fundamental misunderstanding of the issue and give the pro-abortion lobby more ammunition against the "pro-life" movement than it otherwise would have. When someone says that he is against abortion except in cases of rape, incest, maternal health, etc., one really says that he doesn't want people who engage in sexual activity outside of marriage to escape the "punishment" of having a baby, etc. Those who are pregnant as a result of rape or incest didn't choose to engage in sex outside of marriage; therefore, they can go ahead and get rid of their baby. It is this attitude that led to Obama, the most pro-abortion president this country has ever had, saying that he didn't want his daughter punished with a baby. This faulty "pro-life" thinking serves to keep dehumanizing the unborn child, which is the ultimate goal of the pro-abortion lobby and the abortion industry.

Now, government has no place in the de facto regulation of the sexual behavior of consenting adults. People should have the liberty to engage in personal relationships and to choose their own sexual practices without government intervention. If people are not free to make bad choices, then people are not really free. This liberty also means that people must take responsibility for their actions, especially if those actions result in the creation of another human being (and by responsibility, I mean that they don't murder their baby). But the child who is conceived as a result of a rape is still a human being with the same inalienable right to life as any other person.

To be truly pro-life is to respect the personhood of every human being, from the point of fertilization to natural death. Two factors sparked my journey to libertarianism: 1) our current government has greatly overstepped its bounds by not only not protecting the right to liberty and property but by trampling on it itself via excessive taxation and redistribution; and 2) my dissatisfaction with the Republican Party's non-personhood approach to the abortion issue. It is my hope that more Libertarians will see the logic behind personhood and work toward a government that protects the right to life, liberty, and property for all human beings and limits itself to that.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Pro-Life Bills?

Rick Perry has designated the passage of a sonogram bill as a "legislative emergency." As a result, the Republian-controlled Texas Legislature will rush through legislation that will require abortionists to show ultrasound images to pregnant women who seek abortions. Seemingly everyone is hailing this as a "pro-life" achievement. The reasoning is that more women will decide not to murder their children once they see the ultrasound.

My wife and I have two children, and we had ultrasounds done during each pregnancy. Honestly, to me, the images on the screen looked more like those of an old black and white television after all the stations had gone off the air than those of a baby. I fail to see how looking at these snowy sonograms would convince any woman of the humanity of her preborn child, especially after she has already bought into the lies spewed by the "pro-choice" propaganda machine.




The big problem with this legislation is that it further codifies abortion into law. We don't need more laws on abortion, we need fewer. In fact, we need to wipe out all abortion laws and simply define a person as a human being at every stage of development. The Texas Penal Code already defines a person in this way; it is the regulations on abortion, many of them passed as "pro-life bills," that keep abortion legal. Any bill that ends with some form of "and then you can kill the baby" should never be considered a pro-life bill.

The proper function of government is to protect the life, liberty, and property of each individual human being. This protection should apply to EVERY human being, without regard to stage of development or any other factor (race, gender, etc.). To exclude any class of human beings from this protection is a failure of this principle of proper government.

When will Texas have a legislator who is principled enough to vote against any bill with specifies a legal condition under which one human being may kill another innocent human being? Do we allow parents to murder their teenage children after forcing them to look at baby pictures of those teenagers? Of course not. A person is a person at any stage of development, from embryo to infant to toddler to adolescent, etc. And yet, the powers that be consider this sonogram bill to be a pro-life bill. It is sad that legislators today care more about their one hundred percent pro-life voting record from right-to-life organizations or their endorsements from Texas Alliance for Life than they do about true principles. And what good are those ratings and endorsements when they come from organizations which are defined by 38 years of failure?

If I were a state legislator, I would vote against these current bills and propose one of my own. My bill would eliminate EVERY abortion law and regulation in Texas and would simply define a person as a human being at every stage of development. Abortion would then be treated as any other form of murder. If one would reject the myth that Roe v. Wade gave women a "constitutional right" to get an abortion and really read the majority opinion of the case, especially Footnote 54, one would see that personhood legislation would not violate any mandate of that decision.

It is time for all Texans, but especially our elected officials, to re-evaluate their own principles and to take a stand on those principles. Life is the most basic of rights, and it applies to all human beings. Government has no place in selecting which human beings deserve to have that right protected and which don't...