Republican Texas State Rep. Dan Branch is running as a pro-life candidate to become Attorney General in the Lone Star State, but his history of authoring an amendment that would have expanded medical authority for abortion doctors is getting in the way.
Back in 2005, healthcare legislation was being debated in the Texas legislature. An amendment to that legislation was attached to ban third-trimester abortions. Rep. Branch then added another amendment expanding the authority for abortion doctors to perform late-term abortions if a baby had "vital organ impairment." "Vital organ impairment" was not specifically defined and would be determined solely by the abortion doctor. The legislation did not require a second opinion from a non-abortion doctor before the late-term procedure was performed. More on Branch's language:
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.
In an interview with Breitbart Texas, Texas Right to Life Executive Director Elizabeth Graham and Director of the Department of State Legislation for National Right to Life Mary Spaulding Balch are sounding the alarm about Branch portraying himself as a staunchly pro-life candidate.
"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."
"There is no definition of 'vital organ’," Balch said. "When you look at 'vital organs' it would add to the number of third trimester abortions."
Branch and his campaign argue the amendment and language offered in 2005 strengthened, not weakened the third-trimester abortion ban. The campaign is also touting Branch's work to pass sonogram legislation requiring a 24-hour waiting period before abortions and his support for Texas' most recent late-term abortion ban, HB2, which passed in 2013.
Branch is in a run-off election with Republican Ken Paxton. Paxton is also running on a pro-life platform.