Bishop Farrell shares his thanks to all in the diocese and in the state who helped support House Bill 2. Below is a message from Bishop Kevin Farrell on the passing of the bill:
I am relieved and grateful that Texas legislators chose to protect the lives of the unborn with the final passage of House Bill 2. The outcome is especially uplifting as it is estimated the legislation will decrease the annual number of abortions in Texas by 20,000 and will also increase the standard of health care for women. While we give thanks for this historic legislation, I ask the Catholic faithful in the Diocese of Dallas to continue to pray that all in our country will be led to recognize and protect the inalienable right to life for the unborn who are precious children of God.
Two weeks of awe-inspiring activity among Texas Catholics and other pro-life advocates culminated late Friday with the Texas Senate passing House Bill 2, the Omnibus Pro-Life Bill, by a vote of 19-11. The vote followed an equally decisive 96-49 vote taken by the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
House Bill 2 requires sweeping improvements to abortion facility standards to better address complications, require abortion providers to comply with FDA standards for distributing the abortion drug RU-486, and prohibit late-term abortions that could come as far along as five months of pregnancy. Not only do these measures have the potential to reduce the number of abortions in Texas--estimated by some to be as much as 20,000 annually--but also they represent a tremendous advance for ensuring the health and safety of Texas women.
The Texas Catholic Conference must thank so many legislators for standing their ground and standing up for the lives of the unborn and the health and safety of Texas women. The measure now goes to Governor Rick Perry for signature sometime within the next week.
Our greatest appreciation goes to our Diocesan Life and Family Life directors and the thousands of Catholic pro-life advocates from Dallas, Tyler, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Austin, Lubbock, Abilene, Laredo, and Houston, who heeded the call of the Texas Bishops and showed up every day to carry the fight.
On Tuesday, July 9, those Catholic pro-life advocates marched from St. Mary's Cathedral to the Capitol for a Prayer Gathering hosted by the Texas Catholic Conference on the South Steps of the Capitol. Some 300 to 400 participants from delegations joined lawmakers--Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr., Representative Kenneth Sheets, Senator Donna Campbell, Representative William Callegari, Representative Giovanni Caprigleone, Representative Angie Chen Button, Representative Tony Dale, Representative Jody Laubenburg--for a brief moment of reflection before filling the House Gallery for the House debate.
The Texas Catholic Conference supported HB 2 as unambiguous in protecting both the child and the mother. In the eyes of our Catholic faith, both are sacred and precious. In our hearts, both are deserving of steps that ensure their health and safety. Short of closing these abortion facilities, the state is obligated to ensure providers meet reasonable standards of medical care.