Thank you Representative Geanie Morrison for that introduction and for all you've done to advance the culture of life here in Texas.
I'm not surprised to see some of the faces who are so actively involved in the effort to protect life: Senator Dan Patrick, Bishop Joe Vasquez and Pastor Trey Kent.
I'd also like to thank Dr. Joe Pojman for your tireless work on behalf of the unborn and your friendship through the years.
Thanks also to Texas Alliance for Life for putting this event together.
Your work inspires those of us who share your passion for protecting the sanctity of life.
It feels like home to be with so many good people, so dedicated to protecting our most vulnerable citizens, especially our unborn.
Nearly 40 years have passed since the tragedy of Roe v. Wade was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Since then, over 50 million children have lost their chance at life, thanks to that catastrophic decision.
That's twice the population of our entire state.
It's hard to imagine people of good conscience sitting idly through this and in Texas, we haven't.
Thanks in large part to your hard work we've taken great strides in protecting the unborn.
Over the past 10 years we've passed laws requiring both parental notification and parental consent to their daughter's abortion ensuring parents will be involved, ready to provide much needed guidance and advice at the most critical of moments.
We've passed the Woman's Right To Know Act, ensuring women know all the facts before they make one of the biggest mistakes of their lives.
We've funded and promoted alternatives to abortion by providing counseling for women on the other options, choices that won't stop their child's beating heart.
I want to thank the folks here who have worked so hard to connect these women with families desperate for a child of their own.
You're proving that there is no such thing as an unwanted child.
We've also provided funding for adult, not embryonic, stem-cell research and treatments proving we can conduct top flight medical research without compromising the values that make our nation great.
I wish I could say we were nearing the end of the struggle but I think you all know better.
Everyone here knows the challenges ahead are significant and the Supreme Court is likely heading in the wrong direction at the moment.
Even in Texas, where the unborn are more protected than most places, more than 81,000 unborn children are lost to abortion each year.
That's a staggering statistic and it's simply unacceptable.
The beginning of this legislative session represents hope; hope that we can continue our work to improve our laws and save lives.
Today I'm pleased to announce I'm designating the Sonogram Bill as an emergency item for the 82nd Legislature.
Under this legislation, introduced by Sen. Patrick and supported by House members like Rep. Morrison and Rep. Hancock, a woman seeking an abortion must be given a sonogram ensuring she understands the full impact of her decision. A decision that can scar her, physically and otherwise, for the rest of her life.
When you consider the magnitude of that decision, ensuring someone understands what's truly at stake seems a small step to take.
Those of us here know that when someone has all the information, the right choice, the only choice, life becomes clear.
The emergency designation allows the legislature to take fast action on this important bill because we all know when it comes to saving lives, every second counts.
In the days, weeks and months to come, more legislation will be introduced in the building behind me, bills to close loopholes in existing laws and bills that add further protections to children across Texas.
I doubt anyone here will be shy about making your feelings known about these bills.
I urge you all to continue voicing your opinions. I urge you all to keep standing up for those who can't stand up for themselves.
I urge you all to be a force for effective change here at the Capitol and back home, wherever you're from.
The changes you make possible are real, the changes you make possible are saving lives.
You are the key to making a difference and to any one of the 81,000 young lives that may end in Texas this year due to abortion. You can make all the difference in the world.
We can't afford to give up the good fight until the day Roe v. Wade is nothing but a shameful footnote in our nation's history books.
May God bless you, and through you, may He continue to bless the Great State of Texas.