Mission Lab

‘No regrets’: Texas Representatives glad they backed 2013 pro-life law

October 30th, 2019 / By: Michael Foust / comments

‘No regrets’: Texas Representatives glad they backed 2013 pro-life law

Two Texas state representatives who are members of SBTC churches say they have “no regrets” about voting for a 2013 pro-life law that was partially struck down and has cost the state several million dollars to defend. 

“I would support it again,” state Rep. Matt Krause told the TEXAN.

Pro-lifers in the Texas legislature passed House Bill 2 in 2013, but then watched in disappointment three years later as the U.S. Supreme Court struck down two parts of Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt. The high court ruled unconstitutional a section requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of the clinic. Also ruled unconstitutional was a section requiring clinics to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical standards. 

The legal cost of defending the law rose this August when a judge ordered the state to pay an additional $2.5 million in attorney’s fees, The Houston Chronicle reported. That brought the total cost to an estimated $3.6 million.

Krause, a member of First Baptist Church, Keller, said the law “has saved literally thousands of lives.”

“I have no regrets at all,” said Krause, whose district covers part of Tarrant County. “I felt like it was a good bill that was narrowly tailored to address terrible things going on in the abortion industry in Texas. I thought it was very reasonable. And I thought it was well thought out. And so I was glad to support it.”

Largely overlooked, Krause noted, is the fact that two sections of House Bill 2 remain in effect: a section banning most abortions at and after 20 weeks post-fertilization, and a section requiring abortion-inducing drugs be administered per manufacturers’ instructions. 

Rep. Scott Sanford, who serves as executive pastor of Cottonwood Creek Church in Allen, also said he is glad he voted for it.

“I have no regrets in supporting the law,” Sanford, whose district covers part of Collin County, told the TEXAN. “It protected women, primarily so that if they did find themselves in a clinic, they would have the opportunity to be in one that was safe and that met normal medical care standards.” 

The law’s partial demise may have been a result of unfortunate timing. The Supreme Court struck it down, 5-3, four months after Antonin Scalia—who opposed Roe v. Wade—died. More significantly, the ruling was handed down two years before Justice Anthony Kennedy, who voted in the majority, retired. 

Kennedy was a swing vote on the court and supported Roe v. Wade. Yet he also had sided with pro-lifers in a 2007 decision, Gonzales v. Carhart, that upheld the federal ban on partial-birth abortion.  

“There was reason to believe that all the provisions of the bill—based on Kennedy’s earlier ruling—could be upheld and actually pass the Supreme Court test,” Krause said. “Now having said that, I think if that same bill were to come back before the Supreme Court right now, that it has a very strong likelihood of getting upheld.”

Since the 2016 decision, Kennedy has been replaced by Brett Kavanaugh. Neil Gorsuch took the place of the late Scalia.  

Both Krause and Sanford are optimistic about the future of the pro-life movement. Sanford pointed to advanced ultrasound technology that provides a peek at the unborn life.

“That is beginning to move the needle toward understanding that there’s life in the womb—it’s valuable life and worthy of protection,” Sanford said. “So I’m really excited about that—that it will eventually drive, I believe, the court system in their decisions.”

Krause, too, is optimistic. “The sanctity of human life continues to be one of the animating principles for many of the legislators in the Texas Legislature,” Krause said. “So you’re going to continue to see members fight for human life on the Texas House and Senate floors. You’ve got a governor who’s ready and willing to sign pro-life legislation. And so I think we’ve got to keep pushing forward and moving forward until we can get an even stronger pro-life bill upheld by the Supreme Court, which I think is a very good possibility with the makeup we have now.”