Thank you, Elizabeth, and thank you for all you've done on behalf of the unborn in the State of Texas.
There's no more noble cause than protecting those who can't protect themselves, and through your efforts, and the efforts of so many in this room tonight, we've made great progress toward our worthy goal.
40 years is a milestone by any measure, although it's bittersweet that the Texas Right to Life has been necessary that long.
When we marked four decades of life under Roe v. Wade earlier this year, it was a sobering event. Too many people in our country can't remember a time when the state didn't sanction abortion; when the state didn't authorize the killing of a child.
Over the past four decades, we've seen more than 54 million innocent lives ended, with more than a million more dying with each passing year.
Organizations like Texas Right to Life have been key in trying to turn back that awful tide, and deserves a full share of the credit for the legislative victories we've achieved over the years.
Another way that your organization has helped, too, is simply by providing fellowship with like-minded people, reminding us that there are others out there who share our belief in the sanctity of life and will work together to fight in its defense.
It's difficult to overstate the importance of that.
It's far too easy to lose faith during dark times, and if we ever did lose faith, we'd lose this fight. It's as simple as that.
On nights like tonight, though, seeing all of us together in fellowship, I'm comforted to know that we will never lose our faith in the righteousness of our cause.
Indeed, while we have a long way still to go, it would be wrong not to reflect on the victories we've achieved over the years.
We successfully passed laws banning the use of tax dollars for abortion procedures in the state of Texas.
We successfully 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 successfully passed 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, and the most responsible, decision possible.
This recent legislative session was among the most combative we've seen recently, as we saw pro-abortion forces resort to any means necessary to thwart our efforts to save lives.
Through legislative tricks and downright pandemonium, they attempted to silence our voices, just as they silence the voices of the unborn.
Then something amazing happened: the pro-life community spoke up.
With great power and with great dignity, pro-life individuals wearing blue filled the hallways of the Capitol.
When they spoke, they spoke civilly.
When they gathered, they gathered peacefully.
In the face of crude slogans and chants meant to do nothing but agitate us, the pro-life community kept their cool and steadfastly refused to stoop to the level of our opponents.
I can't remember a time I've been prouder to be a part of this community.
With their help, and the help of many in our legislature, we were able to ultimately accomplish our goals for the session.
We passed a bill that protects unborn babies after the fifth month of a pregnancy, near a point where we know children born can survive, and thrive, with appropriate care.
That's also a point where many studies indicate these children feel the pain of their own deaths.
That same bill ensured that any procedure a woman may undergo in Texas is performed in clean, sanitary, and safe conditions...by capable personnel.
Our opponents claimed this was an unreasonable request. I suppose they figured we could just trust the abortion industry to care about the needs of Texas women.
But we know better.
We've witnessed far too many stories...from Philadelphia to Houston and elsewhere, about reckless doctors performing abortions in horrific conditions.
We've heard stories about women getting sick, even dying...after treatment at such places.
All we said is that anyone performing abortions in the State of Texas should do so in a facility that meets appropriate safety guidelines, and that people there are prepared to handle any emergencies that might occur.
If the multi-billion-dollar abortion industry feels that cuts too deeply into their profit margins, that's between them and their accountants.
Nowhere even in Roe v. Wade does it say our state owes the abortion industry a high profit margin.
These were important steps to protect Texas women, and protect Texas babies.
Now, I know legislative victories are important. But until Roe v. Wade is no longer the law of the land, we can't fix everything in the Capitol building.
And Texans sure aren't waiting, either.
From Houston to El Paso and all points in between, pro-life Texans are working together, spreading the word about the miracle of adoption and correcting misinformation that may be spread by opponents.
They're also creating and volunteering in critically-needed life centers, giving women, and the children they carry, a chance at a new life.
These centers help women who might be in desperate circumstances see that there are options - better options - than stopping the beating heart of their child.
Already, these individuals and their organizations have made a huge difference in the lives of families throughout Texas, helping them realize God's greatest gift: The love of a child.
This is what we mean when we talk about a "culture of life" in Texas.
Through the adoption process and with continued 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.
But that is only possible if we continue in the important work we've been doing for the past four decades.
Ideally, we won't be marking the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade as anything but a historical footnote.
Ideally, we'll live in a world without abortion, and, particularly on nights like these, I can see it happening... And I feel certain that it will.
Until that day, however, we must rededicate ourselves to the effort and continue working against those who believe children are disposable.
Thank you all for being having me with you this evening, and for everything you do to save the lives of our most vulnerable citizens.
May God bless you and, through you, may He continue to bless the great state of Texas.