The year 2021 (which is dominated by legislative stories because the Texas Legislature only meets on odd numbered years) is nearing end and the top stories and significant events of Texas deserve reflection and discussion, the top story of the year without question is the Texas Heartbeat Law.
Texas Value is a statewide law and policy organization, and its law and policy experts are available for comment on any wrap-up stories featuring any highlights for the state’s 87th legislative session, or other law and policy events from 2021 particularly on the issues of pro-life, religious freedom and marriage and family.
This year Texas has already witnessed over 18,000 lives saved because of the Texas Heartbeat Law since its effective date of September 1, and after prevailing twice at the U. S. Supreme Court. The passage and prevailing of the Texas Heartbeat Law continues to make history and remain the one of the most important state and national policies of the year. In fact, Texas Values is launching a fully updated and comprehensive website today: . Information includes how women and families can connect to resources for the mother and baby, how Texas has allocated $100 million dollars for these related services and resources and the latest legal and policy updates on the Texas Heartbeat Law. Below contains more information of the top stories and victories Texas Values proudly celebrates.
Jonathan Saenz, President and Attorney of Texas Values, released the following statement:
“The people of Texas made it clear in 2021 that they wanted to see life, churches, fair play for girls, and parental rights protected. This past year was a special year for Texas Values, because we accomplished many of the goals, we set out to see. Our work is not over, but the momentum of 2021 victories will carry us into 2022 with confidence.”
* Texas Heartbeat Law: Most Historic and Significant Pro-Life Law in Texas History
The passage by a bipartisan group of Texas legislators and the prevailing of the Texas Heartbeat Law twice at the U. S. Supreme Court and numerous other courts continues to be an issue that makes history and remains one of the most important state and national policies of the year. The 2021 year will end with the Texas Heartbeat Law in full effect after the Texas Heartbeat Law prevailed twice already at the U.S. Supreme Court within months. The U.S. Supreme Court also heard another abortion related case this year called the Dobb’s v Jackson Women’s Health Organization case, which presents a direct challenge to the Roe v. Wade case (a 1973 case that started in Texas). Texas Values was involved in a legal amicus brief that was filed with the U. S. Supreme Court in support of this Mississippi pro-life state law.
Texans Speak: No More Shutting Down Our Churches (Freedom to Worship Act) and Constitutional Amendment Election
Many local government officials in Texas abused their power by attempting to shut down churches as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic while allowing secular businesses to remain open. Texas legislators passed two state laws with bipartisan support (including the Freedom to Worship Act by Rep. Scott Sanford and Senator Angela Paxton) and a constitutional amendment. These two laws make it clear in law that a government agency or public official is prohibited from issuing an order that closes or has the effect of closing places of worship or restricting the charitable actions of religious organizations. On November 2nd, Texas voters approved the new church freedom constitutional amendment by an overwhelming 62% at the statewide ballot. More information can be found .
Save Women’s Sports Bill Passes: No Boys in Girls Sports
The Save Women’s Sport bill, House Bill 25, prohibits biological males from competing in University Interscholastic League (UIL) sports meant for biological females, specifically in middle school and high school. This bill defends the rights of women and girls not to be forced to compete against biological males in women’s sports. Title IX was designed to stop discrimination and create equal athletic opportunities for women. This bill recognizes and protects the advances that have been made in the last 50 years for women. Texas Values remained relentless in the focus to see this bill get passed. At least seven other states have now passed similar laws.
Parental Rights Win: State Board of Education Rejected Radical LGBT and Abortion Sex-Ed Textbooks & Sex-Ed Changes to “Opt-In”
Texas Values attended meetings, spoke with the State Board of Education members and informed the board members of research on the textbooks and instructional materials with the support of thousands of phone calls and emails from parents and Texas Values supporters. As a result, the Board rejected radical LGBT and abortion focused textbooks and approved abstinence focused books and materials for public schools. Much of the materials and textbooks had faced major criticism by parents and board members for its graphic and highly controversial content discussing LGBT issues, abortion and at least one scenario that specifically described a sexual encounter between children. Texas Values also worked for and testified on behalf of a policy that would require Sex-Ed to be opt-in. In the 87th Regular session, Senator Bryan Hughes was able to change state policy on sex education to “Opt-in” and made this policy into law by amending H.B. 1525, the School Finance and Public Education bill. The amendment makes any Sex-Ed and Human Sexuality instructional courses be offered as an Opt-In course rather than an Opt-Out course. This was a crucial win for parents and children of Texas, because it offers more control to the parents.
No-Mail Order Abortions Law
This past year, the Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 4, the No-Mail Order Abortion bill, which protects women from deadly side effects by creating a statewide standard for regulating chemical abortion drugs and setting criminal penalties for prescribing such pills for women who are more than seven weeks pregnant. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott held a bill signing ceremony for this new law at the Texas Values policy event in September.