UPDATE: AN EARLIER VERSION OF THIS POST INCLUDED A HEADLINE THAT TOOK A CHEAP, UNFAIR, LOW BLOW AT TAL. WHILE THIS WEBSITE REMAINS UNCONVINCED ABOUT THE DEPTH OF DAN BRANCH'S PRO-LIFE CONVICTION, TAKING A CHEAP SHOT AT A THIRD PARTY WASN'T NECESSARY. CAHNMAN'S MUSINGS APOLOGIZES TO TEXAS ALLIANCE FOR LIFE AND HAS CHANGED THE HEADLINE (and, to be honest, the updated headline is a more accurate description of Branch's position).
WE WILL ADDRESS THE SUBSTANCE OF THE POLITIFACT REBUTTAL BELOW THE ORIGINAL POST.
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves."
Earlier this week, for anyone who hadn't yet noticed, Texas Alliance for "Life" revealed their true colors:
"Dan Branch is a pro-life champion and an effective and trusted conservative," said Joe Pojman, Ph.D., executive director of Texas Alliance for Life PAC. "As his recent defense of Texas' pro-life laws in the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals shows, Dan Branch has the legal skills and strength of character to tenaciously fight for the right to life of unborn Texans. As a member of the Texas House, he voted to ban abortions after the fifth month of pregnancy, require parental consent for abortions on minor girls, protect babies from murder and assault before birth by recognizing the personhood of unborn children, require sonograms before abortions, and defund Planned Parenthood millions of tax dollars. These measures have closed abortion facilities and saved lives. We are pleased and proud to endorse Dan Branch for Attorney General." (ASCs).This, of course, is the same Dan Branch who attempted to
At issue is an amendment authored by Branch back in 2005 that attempted to add to legislation dealing with health care issues. During floor debate, former Rep. Will Hartnett (R-Dallas) offered an amendment to ban third trimester abortions. Branch then offered his amendment to the amendment, that could have expanded the situations in which third-trimester abortions are allowed in the state.Dan Branch's record of support for late-term abortion is obvious to anyone with access to Google. For an allegedly 'pro-life' organization to call such a person "a pro-life champion" speaks for itself.
His proposed language would have banned third-trimester abortions "when the viable unborn child does not have a severe, irreversible brain or vital organ impairment.” The original bill allowed for such late-term abortions in the instance of “irreversible brain” impairment only.
According to a Breitbart Texas interview with Texas Right-to-Life Executive Director Elizabeth Graham, Branch’s proposed amendment gave broader latitude to third-term abortions.
"Had Branch’s amendment passed, abortions would be allowed in the third trimester if the child suffered ’impairment of a vital organ,' a judgment call that would have been made by the abortionist who makes a substantial profit off these late abortions," said Graham, whose organization has endorsed Branch's opponent in the run-off. Graham added, “And what exactly was meant by 'impairment'—diminished function? Temporarily slowed function? Function that could be improved or cured with treatment? The term was undefined, ambiguous at best, and left to the interpretation of the abortionist."
Branch's amendment failed on a "motion to table," but did garner 55 votes in the 150-seat House. Republicans overwhelmingly rejected the measure, with the exception of Rep. Joe Straus (then a first-time legislator from San Antonio) and a handful of others. The release sought to drive home his “pro-life” record.
Update II: To address the substance of the politifact 'rebuttal', consider the following:
Recapping: Hartnett’s amended amendment would allow late abortions if a "viable unborn child" had irreversible brain damage. Branch’s amendment, which Hartnett opposed, would have added another exception, allowing third-trimester abortions if the viable unborn child had irreversible damage to vital organs.In other words, Branch didn't explicitly seek to 'expand' late term abortion. He attempted to water down a bill restricting late-term abortions. "Vital Organ" is a loophole that a skilled trial lawyer working with a progressive judge could drive a truck through.
Branch, saying he was "strongly opposed as a general matter to third-trimester abortions," told the House, "If you’re going to have this exception for severe, irreversible brain damage, then my point is, as a son of a neurosurgeon, as a brother of a neurosurgeon, as someone who’s lived through this with multiple children and multiple miscarriages, the term ‘or vital organ’ merely says that the heart -- it acknowledges that the heart or the lack of lungs or the kidney or the liver are all also vital organs in addition to the brain."
Branch in debate: 'Pro-life position'
After about 40 minutes of debate on his proposal, Branch said, "I hope you understand I’m coming from this in a pro-life position; I’m really just trying to be careful and precise and intellectually honest. If we’re going to make this exception for the brain, then we ought to include absolutely essential organs."
Hartnett, moving to table Branch’s proposal, told House members that "vital organ" was too broad: "I just think ... we’re getting into the posture of trying to water it down by drip, drip, erosion," he said. "You can live without a kidney is my understanding, you can live without a lung, you can live without just about anything except your brain, and that’s why we’re drawing the line at the brain."
So Hartnett’s measure tightened abortion limits; Branch’s amendment would have added a second exception to one of them.