I'd like to give a special thanks to several people here who work at pregnancy resource centers across Houston, for everything they do to promote life in Texas.
There are many more active in this effort, and together, you and your groups all do so much to help protect life, and I'd like to thank you for that.
In Texas, the legislature meets for only 140 days every other year, and we have a session starting in just a few weeks.
As supporters of life, we have an obligation to make sure that every one of those days counts when it comes to protecting our most vulnerable citizens.
Over the last decade, we've done that.
We've banned the use of tax dollars for abortion procedures in Texas, and stood strong in the face of the expected backlash from that decision, proclaiming the truth that protecting the rights of abortion providers and protecting women's health are not the same thing.
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.
Last session, we passed, and I'm proud to say I signed, a law that prohibits abortion without the mother first having a sonogram, because we believe that unborn children deserve the respect of recognition before their lives are tragically cut short.
We took those steps to help ensure that those making the decision between life and death make the most informed, responsible, decision possible.
But when 80,000 lives are lost to abortion each year in our state, we know our work is far from over.
This session, I'm calling on the legislature to strengthen our ban on the procedure, prohibiting abortion at the point a baby can feel the pain of being killed.
We have an obligation to end that kind of cruelty.
Now, to be clear, my goal, and the goal of many of those joining me here today, is to make abortion, at any stage, a thing of the past.
While Roe v. Wade prevents us from taking that step, it does allow states to do some things to protect life if they can show there is a compelling state interest.
I don't think there is any issue that better fits the definition of "compelling state interest" than preventing the suffering of our state's unborn.
We cannot, and we will not, stand idly by while the unborn are going through the agony of having their lives ended.
Using the adoption process and community support we can ensure each and every child is born to a loving home.
That is our goal, and someday we will meet that goal.
In the meantime, I'm also calling for measures to ensure the safety of women undergoing this procedure.
Abortion clinics should be held to the same standards as any other kind of surgical facility in the state of Texas.
And we also need to require any physician performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital.
These are both matters of common sense, as any patient should have the expectation that facilities being used are up to standards, and that, if there's an emergency situation, they can receive the care they need.
Again, the ideal world is a world without abortion.
Until then, however, we will continue to pass laws to ensure abortions are as rare as possible under existing law.