National Right to Life in Austin, Texas: Helping Texas RTL to pass HB2

By Dave Andrusko

NRLC in Austin, Texas (left to right) Melissa Zierke, Evan Marist, James Balch, Andrew Bair, and Christine Rouselle.

NRLC in Austin, Texas
(left to right) Melissa Zierke, Evan Marist, James Balch, Andrew Bair, and Christine Rouselle.

National Right to Life understood the importance—substantive and symbolic—of the fight in Austin, Texas, that has garnered worldwide headlines. That’s why NRLC send five people—one employee, three interns, and a volunteer—on an exhausting 30-hour bus trip in order to arrive at the state Capitol in time to help pass HB2.

Their job? Assist Texas Right to Life in any way possible–to be at the state’s premier pro-life group’s beck and call–to help our state affiliate surmount and overcome a series of hurdles erected by pro-abortion forces.

And succeed they did. Today the Texas House passed HB2 on a 96-49 vote. Although you would never know it by media coverage, the bill (tentatively scheduled to be heard in the Senate tomorrow) offers protections for both unborn child and mother.

The House galleries were packed with blue, representing pro-lifers, during the debate over HB2.

The House galleries were packed with blue, representing pro-lifers, during the debate over HB2.

If the bill passes, Texas would become the tenth state to protect from abortion babies capable of feeling pain –20 weeks fetal age, according to the best medical evidence. Pro-abortionists are desperate to slow down the momentum. They rightly fear that once the public is educated to the ghastly pain an unborn child can experience, many other states will pass similar protective legislation.

Likewise HB2 requires that abortions be performed at an ambulatory surgical center and that the abortionist have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles, in case there are complications. Furthermore the abortionist would be required to administer chemical abortifacients in person, rather than via videoconferencing where he is never in the same room with the mother.

“These kids rock,” Jacki Ragan, NRLC Director of State Development told NRL News Today. “We are very, very, VERY proud of what they did to help Texas Right to Life move this bill from the House into the Senate.”

NRLC interns Christine Rouselle and Evan Marist were among the many pro-lifers in the Texas House gallery Monday night to show their support for HB2.

NRLC interns Christine Rouselle and Evan Marist were among the many pro-lifers in the Texas House gallery Monday night to show their support for HB2.

The NRLC fivesome–Melissa Zierke, Evan Marist, James Balch, Andrew Bair, and Christine Rouselle—left Washington, DC 8:00 Sunday morning and arrived in Austin early in the afternoon on Monday just as the battle went into overdrive. As one pro-life participant put it, the fight “went to 100 mph” as pro-abortionists sought to derail HB2 just as they had successfully done in the Senate two weeks before with a combination of filibuster and a raucous gallery.

The NRLC helpers worked non-stop as the debate would rage late into the night. They were assigned many tasks, including helping to get pro-lifers to Austin, and by wearing the sign “Stop Unborn Pain” they encapsulated what the bill was about.

“They will stay until Saturday,” Ragan said, “sleeping at a Christian Conference Center or a church.”

Ragan described the scene as “full contact politics,” but “our young people were up to the challenge.”