LifeNews Note: The following are the prepared remarks of pro-life Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott delivered last summer to the National Right to Life Convention in Dallas.
I want to thank everyone who is in this room because it is great to be in a room full of Americans who are fighting for the full arc of human life from conception until natural death. You are heeding the words of Jeremiah, who reminds us that the Lord knew us even before we were formed in the womb. Well, as the Attorney General of Texas, I want to join in welcoming you to our great state. For those who are just now visiting, I have no doubt that somewhere along the way you have heard us Texans claim that everything is bigger in the state of Texas. Of course, the size of the state is bigger, our job growth is bigger, our economy is bigger. But important for today, our commitment to protecting the right to life of unborn children is also bigger and robust, and we are going to continue that fight.
Protecting the right to life can sometimes seem like it’s an insurmountable challenge. After Roe vs. Wade, we could have given up. But giving up is not the American way. When we face challenges, we don’t give up and we don’t give in. That’s what I learned after the accident that put me in this wheelchair. What happened to me is that I had just graduated from law school and moved to Houston, Texas, where I had taken a job as a lawyer. And one day I did what I did every day, I went out for a run. And while I was out running, a huge tree fell on me. It crashed down on my back, fractured my vertebrae and my spinal cord, leaving me immediately paralyzed. For those of you who haven’t heard the story, I see you shaking your heads, wondering how slow was that guy jogging to get hit by a falling tree?
Well, as I lay there motionless on the ground, gripped with pain, as helpless as a child on a womb, I knew my life had changed forever. I had to face a life without ever walking again. At the time, that challenge seemed almost like it was insurmountable. But with the support of my family and with the power of God, I was able to overcome those challenges. It’s interesting because some people think it easy to write off the lives of the disabled or the different. Yet every day God reminds us that all life has value, no matter the form.
I also came to realize that our lives aren’t measured by the challenges we face. Instead, we get to define our lives by how we respond to the challenges we encounter. And that brings us to why you are gathered here today. Because one of those challenges we face as mankind in this country is the challenge of abortion. But the good news is that we are responding to that challenge. And on our pathway to responding to it, we are winning victory after victory after victory to ensure life for the unborn in this country.
The National Right to Life has been at the very forefront in this movement for decades. With your work, and the work of Texas Right to Life, Texas has some of the most powerful pro-life laws in the entire country. Because of Right to Life, Texas now defines life as beginning at conception. Because of Right to Life, parental consent is now required in Texas before a minor gets an abortion. We believe that a parent should be the first to know and the first to help, not the last to know. Because of Right to Life, Texas law now requires doctors to perform a sonogram before performing an abortion, ensuring that women have all the information they need before making a life-ending decision. And because of Right to Life, Texas is de-funding Planned Parenthood. Real health care for women doesn’t have to include taxpayer-funded abortions.
And when those laws are challenged in court, Attorneys General like me have your back. When the abortion groups tried to overturn the partial birth abortion ban, we responded. We took it to the United States Supreme Court. We won, and that assault on life remains outlawed across America today. When the abortion industry sued to overturn the new sonogram law, we responded, we won, and that law remains in effect in Texas today. And when Planned Parenthood sued to keep taxpayer dollars flowing to their coffers, we responded, we won, and Planned Parenthood is closing clinics across Texas today.
Time after time after time, we met challenges with response, and response led to victory. It’s true that restoring the sanctity of life in our time is a huge challenge, but our lives aren’t defined by that challenge. Instead, the lives we are fighting for are measured by how we respond to those challenges.
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Every journey in life, you’ve heard before, begins with a single first step. And in the journey to protect the unborn, we’ve already made some huge steps. But there is so much more that we have left to do. And that’s always been the way change happens in America. The American Revolution began with patriots refusing to pay taxes, and history was made. The Cold War began because America refused to let the Soviets dominate the world, and history was made. The civil rights movement began when Americans refused to be treated as second-class citizens, and history was made.
And so it is with us today. The right to life movement began because Americans refused to let innocent life be taken. And we will never stop fighting until every life is valued and every baby is safe. And we will work again to make sure that history is made. Today is our moment, and protecting the unborn is our mission. Nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else. And thank you for Right to Life for getting that goal accomplished. Thank you all, God bless you all, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.
Image and transcript courtesy National Right to Life.