Saturday, September 3, 2011

Lesson Learned: Texas Sonogram Law

A federal judge struck down key provisions of a recently enacted Texas law that requires women seeking an abortion to undergo a sonogram and, then, to either hear a description or view the image. Texas attorney general Greg Abbott said he will appeal the ruling. More taxpayers money will be spent litigating a law that I was assured it would never pass the Texas Senate.

The 2010 GOP primary ballot included five initiatives. Among them was an initiative stating: "The Texas Legislature should enact legislation requiring a sonogram to be performed and shown to each mother about to undergo a medically unnecessary, elective abortion." It was surprising to see such an initiative on the primary ballot of the same party that fought so hard against Obamacare all in the name of keeping government out of the doctor-patient relationship.

Before primary day at a meeting of the Northwood Republican Women's club, a friend of mine brought up the sonogram initiative. She felt - and I wholly agreed with her- that government forcing women to undergo of a sonogram and then forcing them to view it was not in keeping with the GOP's stated principle of limited government. A member of the SREC (State Republican Executive Committee) was in attendance. She, and couple of other veterans of Texas Republican politics, addressed our concerns by assuring us that the ballot initiative was meaningless. It will never pass the Texas Senate, they insisted.

At another meeting - of the Republican Jewish Coalition - the sonogram initiative was discussed again. A different member of the SREC also said that it was not going to become law. The initiative was just a way to appease the social conservatives. Nothing to be concerned about.

In June 2010, the Texas GOP convention was held. The new state party platform was approved and the sonogram bill was listed as the top legislative priority. Again, veterans of the party said that it was all part of appeasing the social conservatives. Nothing to worry about. It was never going to become law.

On May 24, 2011, Governor Rick Perry signed into law the sonogram bill.

Recently Robert Schlein - president of the Dallas Log Cabin Republicans - published an editorial in the Dallas Voice saying that he would support Perry if he was the eventual GOP nominee even though Perry signed the National Organization of Marriage’s pledge. In his editorial, Mr. Schlein referred to the NOM pledge as an "empty" promise since the likelihood of a federal marriage amendment being added to our Constitution is very slim. Perry is just appeasing the social conservatives. In other words, nothing to worry about.