Gov. Rick Perry Signs Parental Consent Bill
Also Ceremonially Signs Constitutional Amendment Defining Marriage
Gov. Rick Perry today signed into law a bill that strengthens parental rights by giving parents the right to consent before their minor daughters can have an abortion.
"Today we are laying down a significant marker in the effort to create a culture of life by protecting those who can't protect themselves, by giving voice to the voiceless who yearn for life," Perry said.
He also ceremonially signed a constitutional amendment that will define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, if voters approve the measure on the November ballot.
"History tells us, and most Texans believe, that marriage exists for more than the convenience of consenting adults, but also for the eternal benefit of our children," Perry said of the constitutional amendment.
In signing the parental consent bill, Perry said, "It has been a tragedy of unspeakable consequences that, for decades, activist courts denied many Texas parents their right to be involved in one of the most important decision their young daughter could ever make: whether to end the life that was growing inside her."
Perry noted that some have tried to rationalize abortion by concluding that a child is not involved - even though a heartbeat can be detected just weeks after conception - or that abortion is merely a medical procedure without life and death consequences or lasting emotional scars.
"Such rationalization severs our nation loose from the moorings our founding fathers created when they declared more than two centuries ago that the right to life is first among mankind's unalienable right," Perry added. "Because of it, an entire generation of unborn children have been forever lost to the tragedy of abortion."
Perry also noted that although the U.S. Supreme court legalized abortion, that decision does not mean abortions occur without consequence. "And certainly most of us can agree, when it is a child making such a weighty life and death decision, parents should be involved to provide proper guidance," he said.
"For years we have not allowed a minor to get a tattoo or to receive an aspirin from a school nurse without parental permission. Should we not apply the same standard to such a life and death decision such as abortion?"
The Parental Notification Act that Perry helped pass as Lieutenant Governor has helped reduce abortions 26 percent among girls under the age of 18. Still, more than 3,500 minor girls in Texas still chose to have an abortion as recently as 2003.
"While parents were notified, in none of those cases was a parent allowed to intervene to save the life of their unborn grandchild or to save their daughter from what often leads to a lifetime of regret and heartache," Perry said.
In ceremonially signing the resolution that will go before voters to define marriage, Perry said that despite the protests of "a vocal minority, the vast majority of people in Texas and across this nation believe that marriage is a sacred institution between one man and one woman."
To date, 45 states have passed laws to define and protect marriage, and two years ago Perry signed into law Texas' Defense of Marriage Act.
"But in recent years, we have seen Defense of Marriage laws in other states - and indeed the institution of marriage itself - come under attack by those who want to redefine society's institutions," Perry said, adding that activist judges have used their positions "as a platform to advance a narrow agenda in utter opposition to the law of the land and the views of the majority."
"These actions have brought legal uncertainty to an issue upon which the people are anything but uncertain," he added. "And more than that, these acts have posed a direct threat to the institution that is the very bedrock of society and the laws designed to protect that institution in states like Texas."