The fight for life is way more than just about abolishing abortion and its far from over. Overturning Roe was one big step, but we must continue to stay engaged in this battle which infringes on our inalienable right to life. On this episode we chat with Rebecca Parma, Legislative Director with Texas Right to Life. Learn more about what their priorities are and how you can make a difference in this important policy debate.
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Hey everybody. Today on the answer, we make the very intentional decision to avoid sitting back on our laurels and instead we stand up together to continue to fight for life. The pro life movement has never been stronger. But the false narratives around protecting women and reproductive health care have never been louder and crazier than how the Democrats are now. Today, we meet with Rebecca Parma, legislative director for Texas right to life. To learn about what to expect coming out of this Texas Legislative session. Please consider supporting this podcast, follow me on Twitter and Facebook at Ben Armenta Texas. You can also find out more about my story at Ben armenta.com. Good day to all of you out there, I am so happy that you've decided to join us and listen to this podcast. You know, each day I am blessed to be able to work with an amazing team and meet some amazing conservatives all over Texas all over this country. The conservative movement is alive and strong and active and super exciting to be a part of and I'm so glad that you're all along this journey with us. Rush Limbaugh once said that conservatives measure compassion by how many people no longer need it. And that is still true today. I mean, all kinds of folks who are out there, working hard to give others in their communities a hand up and not a handout. In the last episode, we met with Lance Redman, a school board trustee who understands that he can easily become a lightning rod and can easily be canceled by the left, the left cancels everything, cancel everything. The cancel people, schools, churches, everything, everything that is good, the cancel, the left tries to cancel. And Lance he talked about that he talked about how his business could be targeted and can be attacked. He talked about how his kids in school and in their activities, they can be targeted and attacked, and it never ends. And yet he and so many of y'all out there are not afraid to do what is right for your family and your friends and your neighbors. regardless of race, creed, religion, socio economics, like it doesn't matter. That's not how conservatives look at things. They look at just trying to make their communities better. America and Texas. They are made great because of the values that conservatives hold dear. We stitch it and keep it together period. And one of those values remains protecting our inalienable rights, the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. God gave each of those to us. And he gave us free will to pursue those with every ounce of our being. Which means we as conservatives, must always keep those rights, front and center and all that we do. And here in Texas, the Republican Party undertakes a very organized and comprehensive process to come up with its party platform and priorities which are anchored in those inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And that process culminates with the state convention. And last year it was held in in Houston a few years ago it was it was cancelled by by the mayor, it was a mess. But this past year, it was held in Houston. And 5000 delegates met and debated. And they voted on priorities, which were put on the table by many of you see, the Republican Party and its platform is is actually formed at the county level, all the counties in Texas, the Republican parties meet there, and they come up with ideas. They come up with process improvements. They come up with ways to make life in Texas and life in the United States, as amazing as it possibly can be. And those feed from those counting conventions, to Senate District conventions and ultimately to the state convention. in which they are debated and voted on by those 5000 delegates. And at the end of that process last year, eight priorities were finalized, ultimately for the legislative agenda for the Republican Party of Texas, which says, hey, look, we met with Republicans all over Texas. And we asked them what was important to them. And they raised tons of things, tons of ideas, great things about transforming lives in their areas, making it better and safer, a place where they can raise their kids and be proud of the foundation and the roots that they've planted. But ultimately, there are eight priorities where they're saying, we are going to elect statewide officials, and legislative officials, representatives and senators, and we're going to send them to Austin, we're going to send them into the lion's den, to go face to face with the Democrats. And they're going to take to those committees, and to the floors, and ultimately to the governor's desk, these eight priorities and get them done for Texas. All right, so everybody get out your bingo cards. And let's see if you can name the eight priorities, I bet. And I've talked with some some friends recently gone out to dinner with some folks chatted about what they thought the priorities were and most, most conservatives in Texas can come up with at least four or five of these. But let's see if you can come up with all eight. Number one, Van Democrat chairs. So this is banning the chairs that the heads of the committees in the legislature, the second one, protect our elections. The third one, secure the border. The fourth one, Ban gender modification of children. Number five, stop sexualizing, Texas kids. Number six, defend our gun rights. Number seven, parental rights and educational freedom. And we've talked about that a couple of times on this show around school choice and parental rights. And number eight, abolish abortion in Texas. At some point, we'll look back at the bills that make their way to the governor's desk for his signature and what actually will become law and what he'll veto. And we'll, we'll we'll talk about on the show. And we'll debate the effectiveness of our elected officials and the job that they did or didn't do. And ultimately, you're going to be the judge of that when you go and vote the next time for your your representatives and your statewide officials. But for now, the focus is on the work that is still happening there in Austin and and the work that that is yet to come over the next couple of months to deliver on those priorities. And today, we're going to spend some time on the topic of protecting life on that last priority, which was abolish abortion in Texas. And here's what the priority, how it's worded from a Republican Party standpoint, abolish abortion by ensuring the right to life and equal protection of the laws to all preborn children from the moment of fertilization, including adopting effective tools to ensure the enforcement of our laws to protect life when district attorneys failed to do so. So we're going to abolish abortion and those who decide to try to circumvent that crystal clear objective of abolishing abortion. We're going to hold them accountable. We're going to hold them accountable to the law of the land and those who are in positions of power to prosecute those individuals. And they don't do it. We're going to hold them accountable to that is essentially what this priority says. So Republicans across Texas said out of everything they have going on. Abolishing abortion in Texas makes the top eight and it needs to get done. So at the time that as I'm recording this podcast, there have been 12 bills drafted and filed in the house, and two filed in the Senate on this topic. And to put this in perspective, though, there have been 110 bills filed in the house for protecting our elections. So it kind of makes me wonder if these politicians are more interested in protecting their seats, and their future in power than protecting the life of the unborn and the vulnerable. I know I'm digressing here a bit. But it's going to be interesting to see how this all plays out. So for example, House Speaker Dave day feeling, in spite of the fact that we made it very clear that one of our other eight priorities in Texas, as Republicans, conservatives, is to ban Democrat chairs. He still went ahead and appointed nine Democrats, two chairs of key committees. So he just thumbed his nose at all Republicans at the state convention process and said, No, I got this, I'm gonna go ahead and put my homeboys and homegirls. You know, the people that are empowered with me, even though they are Democrats, even though they vote opposite of those who are entrusting me to do what's right by the conservative movement. I still gonna go ahead and put them in positions of power. I mean, can you imagine if we did that, in Washington, DC, can you imagine what would happen? If speaker McCarthy appointed Democrats to position to chair positions like Homeland Security or the Judicial Committee, are you kidding me, would never happen, because nothing would ever get done. Because they would be pushing their leftist agenda, which is what happens here in Texas. So he went ahead and appointed nine Democrat chairs to these key committees. And this gives them the power to determine which bills are going to get debated, and eventually presented for consideration for votes. So here are the committees that these Democrat chairs are in charge of natural resources, transportation, Committee on youth health and safety, criminal jurisprudence, and several others. So issues like addressing rogue judges, who give essentially $0 bonds to violent criminals, murderers, rapists, kidnappers and multi offending murderers, rapists kidnappers. Now all that's going to go through Democrat leadership first issues like addressing infrastructure priorities, around TxDOT, funding for new roads, bridges, airports and other aging assets. Now that's gonna go through Democrat leadership, addressing what is discussed in schools as it relates to health and wellness. We know that's not good. It's gonna go through Democrat leadership, addressing economic growth priorities, like determining whether or not to invest in our oil and gas, economics, and infrastructure, drilling more wells, building new technologies to extend the life expectancy of oil and gas reservoirs. Or we're going to go take subsidies and offer subsidies and build more wind farms. Now, that's going to go through Democrat leadership. So if you are skeptical, or nervous or annoyed, or just generally concerned about whether or not your elected officials will take care of the most important priorities, like protecting life, I can't really blame you. I can't blame you. I don't know anything more or different than anyone else. All I know is that we've elected Republicans and they're going to Austin and we are putting Max attention and resources around them, to direct them to where we believe the most important things are for Texas to get done. And in some cases, they're ignoring it. So here's to I hate to say it, here's to hoping that on things like abortion, abolishing abortion and protecting life, that they tow the party line and do what's right for all Texans. But all is not lost. And there is certainly room to be optimistic, because there are many dedicated people who wake up every day, every day. And their focus is on trying to do right by conservatives trying to do right by Texans. And so today we're meeting with one of those individuals. Her name is Rebecca Parma, and she's the Legislative Director at Texas right to life. She's been there since 2017. And before that, she was an aide and worked in the US Congress on both the House and the Senate sides. And she she even interned for our good senator, Senator Ted Cruz, and most importantly, she is a salt of the earth. fightin. Texas. Aggie Rebecca, welcome to the show. Thank you for being here. Yeah, thanks for having me. Of course, of course. So I think it's really important. We set some foundation for our listeners, we set some context. And I think it would be great if, before we talk about legislative priorities and what's on your plate and what you think the trends are, let's just take a step back for a second. And it'd be helpful if you could just share a bit about what is Texas right to life, what it what is its mission? What's it all about? Yeah, totally. So Texas, right to life is the oldest and largest pro life organization in Texas. And we work in a lot of different right ways to protect the rights of the preborn, but also the vulnerable, the sick, the elderly people with disabilities. And we do that through legal, peaceful and prayerful means. And so we are working in a couple of different areas. Like I said, we have an education department that is focused on college students, helping them build a product culture on their campus through clubs and mentorship. We have our legislative department, which is what I lead where we work in the Texas capitol to pass pro life legislation. And then we have other areas as well, where we are trying to protect vulnerable patients, protect vulnerable Texans, and just advance the culture of life in our state. Well, I mean, right now, the focus is obviously at least here in Texas, on our legislative session or our priorities, what we're trying to get done, but I would assume an organization like Texas, right to life, it's it's year round. It's all the time. It's certainly it has a political bent to it to try to advance some public policy priorities. But y'all are working all the time, regardless of who's in session, right? Yeah, totally. So right now we are in session, like you said, and so that is our A lot of our focus. But in the offseason, we are involved in lawsuits. You know, we're writing amicus briefs, we are protecting patients in hospitals, when their loved ones call us and they have an issue that we can be helpful on. We're working in political campaigns, and the work on college campuses is year round, as well, right. Like there's the summer off. But essentially, that work is happening all year long, and the training and the education and connecting with Prolift Texans and prolife Americans, right, Texas is at the front of this movement. And so we hear from all across the state and country of people interested in what we're doing here in Texas. So it is all the time, go, go go. You and I we've known each other for a little bit. But I always find it fascinating to understand people's journey and how they got to where they're at today. And but most importantly, the decision process, you know, what was going on in their life? What led them to where they're at today? So what what was kind of your path and journey in which you eventually said, You know what, Texas right to live that that's an organization and the mission that I want to not just try to advance but I want to work in day in and day out. How did you get to where you're at now? Yeah, so growing up, my family was very pro life. It was a very important issue to us. And so I just grew up around politics and the pro life movement and went to school at Texas a&m. And again, it was one of those things I was passionate about knew about but not super involved. And then I pursued a career in I'm in politics and in the public or Yeah, in the public sector. And so I ended up in Washington DC, worked for Senator Cruz for a little bit. And then representative Gary Palmer from Alabama who are both very pro life, legislators obviously. And when my time in DC came to an end, where I was just ready to come back to Texas, I remember Texas right to life, I had worked with them. When I worked in the legislative session in 2015. I worked for very prolife member, Stephanie click, and so Texas right to life was in our office all the time, got to know them. And when I was ready to come back, got connected with them. And they had an open spot. And the Lord just worked it out where they needed someone and I needed to be back in Texas. And so join the team. And readily I realized that even though I was very pro life, I didn't even know what I didn't know about this movement, there is so much always happening, constantly new fronts of education of development, technology wise, where we have to be active and aware of what's going on. And it's been awesome to just like, get to be part of a cause driven organization, but also get to learn and get to use my experience in the public sector. Now in the nonprofit sector. You know, I find that a lot of people, all sides of the political spectrum, they all know something about, you know, the fight for for life, and wherever it is that they stand, they know something about it. But I don't think there's a great understanding of the organizations that are working to to advance it and are working to, you know, to make things different and make things better. Do you find that you the people that are outside of the Capitol that are outside of political campaigns are not the podcast or dudes? Do you find that that the typical Texan or American knows about organizations like Texas right to life, or are they just kind of unknown buried advocate advocacy groups? Yeah, that's a great question. I think, I think I would lean more towards the latter, where right a lot of people, the majority of Texans, and the majority of Americans are pro life, whether and maybe that looks a little bit different. But for the most part, they want preborn children protected from abortion at some stage in gestation. And so like you said, a lot of people care about this. But I think if you aren't in these circles, you don't know what all the groups are doing, how they're doing different things. Like I think a lot of times it can feel like a lot of overlap. And maybe that's true to some extent, but different groups, either at the state level or national are doing such different things and focusing on different demographics, and have different makeups. And so there's a role for a lot of them. And that is a big educational component is like what what do we bring to the table? What are we actually doing that you should be partnered with us and follow us and see, you know, come alongside of us as we pursue protecting more innocent human life. Yeah, that that makes sense. So one of the things I hear a lot about people discuss, you know, the the Supreme Court ruling lat last year around the Dobbs case, and you know what, what came to be around overturning roe get in layman's terms. What what went down last summer? Yeah. So Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. And it allowed abortion on demand up until birth for any reason in our country. So overturned every state law that protected preborn children. And so that has been the law of the land for nearly 50 years. And then last summer, the dogs decision was released by the Supreme Court, it was over a Mississippi case of a 15 week ban, which really is not that dramatic when you think about it, like 15 weeks is when the preborn child can feel pain. And and so it's a an age that a lot of people I think feel comfortable with about prohibiting abortion pass that right. And so anyhow, so the opposite decision, it was over this case. And in that decision, the Supreme Court overturned roe. And what that meant is it didn't ban abortion throughout our country. What it said was this is an issue to be decided at the state level, the state legislatures need to be the ones making these controversial decisions. That's not for the judiciary, the the political debate over abortion needs to happen in the state legislatures. And so that's why now we see, you know, every state has different laws on abortion, and that's how it ought to be. It ought to be a thing that's decided at the state level, where constituencies can advocate their legislature to have the laws that are best fitting for that constituency and until Since we have a very pro life constituency, so So was this, was this something that you could feel coming? Was there a shift over the last? I don't know, five years, 10 years towards the judiciary, perhaps looking at these types of cases and saying, This really isn't a federal right, we need to return this back to the States. Could you? Like was this predictable? It felt like it went from zero to 60. At least for me, it was like, zero to 60. And all of a sudden, it was kicked back to the to the states one night one day to the next. Or, you know, what was your take on that? Yeah, no, I actually, Gregory with you where I think incrementally in Texas and across the country, we have been working to protect, you know, little incremental wins, whether that is, you know, a weak ban, or a pain indicator ban or different things like that, banning certain procedures. And then last session, we had the Texas heartbeat act. And I think that kind of created a paradigm shift to some extent, where, for the first time in our country, Texas, prohibited abortions after the baby had a detectable heartbeat, and no other state had done that. And in doing that, we immediately were saving 1000s of lives in Texas cut the rate of abortion in half in our state. And I think between that, and then this Mississippi case, I think it just kind of was building up. But when that deposition was released, I was I was cautiously optimistic that it would overturn Roe, but I was not expecting it to be as full and as strong as it was. And so that was great. But I think it also kind of sent all of us like, oh, okay, now we need to we need to do more work. And we need to do this new, this kind of new shift in the work that maybe we're a little bit ready for, but maybe we also kind of weren't. Yeah, I mean, it was it was a victory to celebrate, no doubt. Totally. But it's just another step in a very lengthy journey. Right. The work. I don't want to say the work is just beginning. But the work is absolutely has a long horizon that has to be tackled you is that right? 100%. Ben Yeah. So we always kind of characterize it of this is the end of a chapter, not the end of the story. Okay. I think honestly, you saying that is true that that the hard work is just beginning, we now we've achieved this monumental goal, we can't have people tapping out now. And I think that's an easy thing to do is like we've we've achieved the thing we've been working for for a long time, and people are kind of tapped out. And we can't because now is when the work starts of taking care of these babies that are being born taking care of these women and their families. And what does that look like for the state versus the community versus our churches versus us as individuals like now is when the hard work begins? And we can't afford to tap out when when this is what's at stake now. So education, advocacy, awareness, out of all the things that Texas right to life does, how important is the legislative agenda and trying to align conservatives and pro life elected officials and getting them backed, you know, fully backed and behind these priorities? How important is that? Yeah. So obviously, I'm biased because I'm the legislative director. So I'm like, but, um, but it is It's crucial. And I think something that I was worried about heading into the session was that legislators would very much be like, we're done, we achieved our goal. And it's not been that and I'm so thankful that it hasn't, you know, there's not there hasn't been a complacency that set in. If anything, the legislators understand that we have more work to do. And so the feeling in the building has been great thus far. Now, we're very early in session. And so we'll see what's happened, what's going to happen, but we are pushing for the most robust agenda that we've ever had. As far as pro life issues go. And we want to make sure that substantial pro life policies are passed this session, not not just feel good measures, we want things that really are going to help protect even more preborn children and their mothers and their families and really illustrate what we know as a movement, but that we're not just anti abortion, we are pro life, not pro birth, pro life, and what does that look like in our state? We already have a very pro life state in Texas, but there's always more we can do. And that's what we're pushing for this session. So So which priority would you say, generally speaking, is the low hanging fruit. I mean, it's the one that everybody says no brainer, Rebecca, we got this. It's gonna it's going to happen. Do you have a gut feel on what that might be? Yeah, so I think I almost feel like I'm jinxing myself saying this because everything is hard. Like I just crossed my toes. So you're good. Okay, murderer. Good. So I think what I would say is, so we have kind of three different buckets of priorities we're working on. And one of them is called Build a pro life, Texas. And so this is the field, that stuff that most people are going to support, maybe we can even get bipartisan support on. It's things like protecting and increasing the alternatives to abortion program, reforming foster care and adoption. But the really low hanging fruit as you put it, that I would see is in that category, and it's safeguarding pregnant and parenting college students, so ensuring that they are not discriminated against if they get pregnant, that they're not forced to take a leave of absence. If they choose to take a leave of absence, that they can come back in the same academic standing that they left in, giving them priority registration, so that those parents can make a schedule that actually fits with having kids and daycare and school and work and all of that. Ensuring that if a if a woman goes into her local health center at the college, that she immediately has life affirming resources. So some of these vary. They are all kind of low hanging fruit, they're things that as we've been talking to offices, they're like, Wait, we don't already do this. And so I think that's gonna, those are gonna get a lot of support. And I think bipartisan support, because we want to take care of college students, we don't want them to have to choose between having a kid and having a profession, like you can do both. And that's an easy thing that we can show as a state. You know, when I was growing up the right to life movement, it really was, it was quite bipartisan. I mean, there was all sides of the aisle were behind. I mean, I knew many Democrats, personally, who were who were pro life, but it doesn't feel like that exists anymore. And there's just been this wedge that's been driven between all sides of the aisle. And, you know, Democrats, if they if they vote or talk about being pro life, they're often canceled by their own, you know, this cannibalizing of their own type of approach. Yeah. Been, how tough is it for you and for the movement, to see kind of this culture of us versus them on something that really is about a gift from God, and really should be a unifier for our society? Yeah, it's hard. And especially here in Texas, we have had more pro life, Democrats longer than we've seen, maybe nationally, it's been it was more of a thing. But really this session, it's, it's those last couple of pro life, Democrats really aren't in the building anymore. either. Because they've retired, they've changed parties, or they, you know, for whatever reason. And so it is hard, because I think there are things that we can agree on with Democrats. A lot of these building a pro life, Texas issues of caring for pregnant women, caring for pregnant college students, one of the other areas that Texas right to life advocates on is protecting vulnerable patients in Texas hospitals. And we have a team at Texas right to life that serve as patient advocates. So if a family and a patient are being are being victimized under this certain law that maybe we can talk about later, they can come to us and we'll walk alongside them in that. And from our internal data collection on these families that we help. It's a lot of low income minority, not English as their first language speakers, like a lot of these kinds of groups. And those are the kinds of groups that, you know, if you traditionally think about these paradigms of where the parties fall, that's who Democrats are, you know, allies, this, and so even but the hard thing was is like this issue where we should, we should be bipartisan, it's hard for us to even get meetings with those offices where we can even talk about and say like, Hey, I know we're not going to agree on this abortion thing. But like there are other things we can agree on that for you are taking care of like what you care about, and for us, our life affirming and protecting life. And it's hard to even get those meetings. And that's frustrating when, from our perspective, it's things that we should easily be able to agree on. So is there a bottom up approach that's happening as well, like, Hey, we gotta get out in the community, we've got this ability to be a patient advocate, a family advocate. How do we get connected with patients and families? Is that is that a part of the effort as well? Yeah. So we yeah, we try to a huge part of it is the educational piece, because I think so this specific law I'm talking about essentially allows involuntary forced euthanasia on Texas patients. And that's something I think of most Texans knew they would be shocked because we think we're very pro life. We think we're a very life affirming state. And we are in a lot of ways, but not when it comes to these medical decisions on life sustaining treatment for patients. And so we have been doing a lot of education because that's not a super easy thing to explain. And it's not a super sexy thing either, right? It's like kind of hard and confusing and so education, grassroots activism of, of letting you know, grassroots Texans know about this law and how it needs to be reformed. And these other initiatives we're working on as well. And that we are a resource, should they face such a situation? or they know someone who does that they can know we are a resource here to help. So what do you know the name of that law? Yeah, so it's called the 10. day rule B. And essentially what it is, is it allows in Texas, that if you're a patient in a hospital, and you're receiving basic life sustaining treatment, so things like this isn't an extraordinary things, it's things like a ventilator, or dialysis, food, water, basic things, and you want to continue receiving that. And or if you are incapacitated, your surrogate wants you to continue receiving that because they're making the decision on your behalf, the hospital can decide unilaterally to withdraw that treatment from you, and give you only 10 days notice. And within that 10 days you can try to transfer to another facility are a physician who will honor your decision. But if you can't do that, which most things like that can't happen in 10 days, the hospital has complete immunity to pull the plug on you. And obviously if this treatment is sustaining your life, if you remove it and hastens the patient's death, can you put protections in your will or some into life directives that can be upheld against you against that 10 day rule? Or? No, not? Not really? No, because of the way the law is drafted, that even if you have every protection for life that you want in there, like you want every treatment, you want to be kept alive, no matter what this 10 day rule allows the hospital to override your decision and allows the hospital to make that life and death decision for you regardless of what you have communicated. And our problem? Well, there's a lot of problems with this, right. But one of our main problems is like that is a decision that you should be making a hospital is not going to know your decision better than your loved one, whether that better than your spouse better than you. And so if this is going to be a kind of situation we're going to have, we need more time. And that's what we've been advocating for is like, give families more time to find a physician and a hospital that will honor their decision. I was gonna ask that because yeah, I mean, I I absolutely agree. I mean, I think that is critical that families and next of kin and medical power of attorneys have the ability to to be the decision maker, they're playing devil's advocate, I also understand that there are finite resources within medical systems, there are a limited number of people and beds and dollars. So is there a business approach to this as well around how the state can help prop up those facilities so that they're able to sustain and maintain during an extended period of time as well? What? What's kind of the approach there? Yeah, totally. And that's a great point. And that's something we a lot of our Republican members ask us about, because they are business. They're business minded people, they they want to make sure that our government is in the appropriate role that we are using our resources, well, all of these things. And I think what we've seen, so two things on this one is that New York already has a law that is like what we would want our law to be. So no countdown, incentivizing families and hospitals to work together instead of pulling the plug on the patient. And we're not very much like New York, and in any way in Texas, but one way is just our general population number. And what we've seen is with this law that they have, that doesn't have a countdown, their their healthcare system has not collapsed, there have not been hospitals going bankrupt, nothing like that is anything it incentivizes hospitals and families to work together, it doesn't lead to a hospital, just keeping a patient on life support, money draining out, you know, at no end. But the other thing is, a lot of times these patients can be transferred home, or to lower level care facilities, where they're not having to pay that same amount. And they just need certain help, like they need a trach and put input, or they need to be trained on how to use the ventilator at home. Like there are certain things that if they were to train them and incentivize the family and hospital to work together, the patient can be transferred home, and then that's not an issue for the hospital about the the fiscal cost. So I think there's a way that absolutely that we can balance the fiscal concern of a hospital with the patient's right to life. Yeah, absolutely. There's got to be some solutions and it may not be one size fits all and it may just be a matter of taking the next step forward. But I love the idea of regardless where it's being done today, regardless of this, you know, even though New York is a is a lefty blue state, if they're doing something, and they are debunking myths and misconceptions, and you follow the data and you follow the science and you follow the math, and it says that this can be done and be done well, then we should pay attention to it and learn from it and and use it as a jumping off point for figuring out what's right for Texans. So I love that. Yeah. Do you, in general, across the entire pro life movement? Do you find that Texas is a leader? Or a laggard or fast follower? Where is Texas? In in kind of the spectrum of of right, right to live? Hmm. So that's a tricky question, I think, looking at an unbiased source. So there's a national group that ranks the states. And I think that's helpful a little bit because right, as Texans were, like, we're the most real life and it's really hard to ignore. Yeah. And so this, I mean, well, first of all, Texas is great, right? I mean, we're the best, we're the best. We love our state. And we should, because we are the best and so like so so trying to think about it have an unbiased source of this other this national group ranks the states. In that ranking, Texas is ranked about 12, or 13, which I think is a lot lower than we deserve. Because we did pass the first heartbeat act that went into effect, we do have really strong protections. We don't have exceptions to our pro life laws. But I think it's some of these other ways where we are maybe lagging. So I think in certain ways, we're definitely a leader like with parbandhak passing with our strong prolife laws that have stayed in effect that are protecting so many preborn children. But I think there's other ways where we're lagging like with our patient protections, like we just talked about, I think with some of the emerging technologies like embryo destroying research, we don't have as many protections as some other states. And that's something I think that most Texans would be supportive of, we just haven't gotten those into law yet. And so I think that's why our ranking isn't as high as we, as we should be. Because there's a couple of these other areas, these these emerging areas where we need to step up a little bit. So which legislative priority the Texas right to life have that you think is the steepest Hill, and maybe it is like crystal clear, common sense, should be a no brainer, especially when you're close to it. But it's misunderstood. There's too many myths and misconceptions. And it's just, it's gonna be a challenge to get done. Do you know, do you have one of those? So I think there's two I think one is performing the 10 day rule, like we just talked about, because it's hard to explain, there are misconceptions. And there's a lot of groups that work against us. So I think that's one but there is some great progress that's being made already this session where I think we can have a good compromise bill, with all the groups that traditionally do not work together on this and actually get some good stuff done. But the other one is on enforcing our pro life laws. So we have great pro life laws, they're not always being fully enforced, because we have district attorneys in our state who are flatly refusing to enforce pro life laws or prosecute violations. And so there's a lot of a lot of bills that have been filed a lot of great effort to hold them accountable. But we also want a tool to go around them. And so the tool that we're looking at, to go around them is to extend the civil enforcement mechanism from the Texas heartbeat act to our other pro life laws. I love it. Yeah. And that's one of those areas where I think a lot of people had heartburn after the the heartbeat act took effect. So they thought we're gonna open up frivolous lawsuits, and, and everyone's gonna be suing everyone. And that's not what happened. What we saw is, is that the threat of a lawsuit made sure the abortion industry did not commit abortions they were not supposed to. And so it will give us another tool to go around district attorneys to protect even more preborn children from these new ways that the abortion industry is trying to try to harm them and try to harm pregnant women. And so I think that's going to be a hard one, though, because of the the fact that people have a misconception about what that enforcement mechanism looks like. And because it's not a surprise anymore, because last session, it was kind of a surprise. I'm a huge fan of accountability sticks and carrots. We want to motivate people to do the right thing. And we need to hold people accountable when they know what is right and wrong and they choose wrong and we must ensure that our our law enforcement arms and teens are fully prepared to take action if need be. And I think that you know holding those DJs accountable is is a very important step. So I I love that what What's the hardest thing about your job? Oh, good question. Um I think it's just the, the busyness of session, like right now, because it's 140 days every other year. And so it is Go Go, go, go, go, go, go. And try to make sure you hit everything, everything important that needs to happen in 140 days, that's going to affect the next year. It's a big list. And I think yeah, and I think one of the hardest things specifically about my job as legislative director at Texas, right to life is the weight I feel of if we don't pass some of these laws, then lives will be lost over the next year and a half like these, this is this is more than just passing some bills. This is life and death. And so obviously, the outcome is the Lord's, but I want our team to be faithful and doing everything we can to pass as many laws as we can to protect as many people as we can in our state, because the stakes are too high, not too. How important is prayer in winning this battle for life? Oh, my gosh, it's so important, like our, our organization is right, we all are under attack, but our organization certainly is. And we can't do this without prayer without the Lord's favor. And he certainly showed it last session with the heartbeat act passing, he showed it with Roe being overturned. And I know he's going to continue to show it. And our job is just to be faithful to keep showing up and, and doing my job of talking to legislators and pushing them to vote the right way. And incentivizing them to invoke vote the right way, and getting that information in front of them and doing everything we can. And we do have a lot of good legislators who are pro life and who will vote the right way. So one of the things that we try to do here on on the answer is connect people with organizations connect people with ideas, but really try to activate them and ensure that they are hearing ideas of ways that they can get involved, things that they can do in their busy days to try to make a difference. And I know there are lots of ways that our listeners could get involved and get engaged with Texas right to life, share, share some of those with with our listeners. Yeah, so probably the easiest stakes way is just visit our website, Texas right to life.com. We're constantly updating that with what's happening on the pro life front and Texas, cultural stories nationally, internationally, what we're seeing, we're also on Twitter at Texas, right to life. And that is where you can kind of see more up to date things like especially with what's happening in the legislature like this committee hearing is happening or this bill is being heard or things like that. We also have a text alert system. So you can text pro life to 40237. And that's just another way where it'll send call to actions like, hey, this bill is stuck in this committee, can you call your legislator and encourage them to pass it out? You know, I did that recently. It's not that bad. I was a little nervous about spam. And I love you know, I block people and and you know, call block callers and whatnot. But it really wasn't that bad. I set it up and got the reply. And then every now and then I think what's helpful is, you all send out those texts, when there really is something of note, or really is something to do. It's not just this, you know, passive, ongoing spam. And I find that to be helpful. And I certainly appreciate that you guys handle it that way. And so I've done it, and we'll see how it continues to go. But so far, so good. Yeah, good. Yeah. Cuz that's, you know, if you're too much, we all get so much information thrown at us all the time. And so sifting through, like, what is actually important, what do I actually need to respond to. And so we try to do that with those. But those are some of the best ways to stay engaged. And we have a couple of lobby days coming up at the capitol in March, march 13, and March 23. And information about those is on the website. And we would love anyone to come with us and learn how to lobby, it's not actually as scary as it sounds, learn how to lobby, learn how to talk to your legislator, and make sure your voice is heard. Because if they don't hear your voice, they don't know what to do. So it's up to us to tell them how we want them to vote. Yeah, so for all you listeners out there, I'm actually going to do it. I'm going to give it a go. I I know some of these legislators and I know some of the people in Austin, but this is my first time going and representing an organization and a set of priorities and objectives that are just bigger than the ideas that I have. And I think it's really cool that Texas right to life has a process that is easy to sign up for to do this. They've got a process in which they're going to prepare Are us on key messages, they're gonna help get us in front of the right. Individuals that can hear your voice. I mean, this is this is critical. And legislators all the time, need to hear from the people they represent, you cast your vote. And but they work for you, they don't work for themselves, they certainly shouldn't be working for anybody other than the people that they represent. And this is a great opportunity for you to take, take a half day, take a full day, go to Austin, and let your voice be heard on this very important issue of, of right to life. So I appreciate you, Rebecca, setting all that up, and your team and the team at Texas right to life getting organized with that, because I think it's gonna be important, it's gonna be really important, because I'm sure, I'm sure all the reps and said, I'm sure they love seeing you. And they're like, here comes, Rebecca. But I want them to say, Here comes Rebecca, with 50 people behind her. Like, that's what we that's what we've got to make happen, right? Totally. Absolutely. They get tired of seeing me they need to see some new faces. Yeah, it's just good. It's they love seeing people come and hearing your voices, especially like the good ones, right? They need to know that they have support, they need to know that they're voting the right way, because it's hard to vote the right way sometimes. And so we need to hold those people who don't need to drag them with us to vote, right. And those people who do we need to keep encouraging them, like you're doing a good job, please keep voting the way you are. That that is spot on. I interviewed a school board trustee a week or so ago. And he commented on the fact that, you know, when you get into an elective position, public service, you know, you're sticking your neck out there. And it's kind of scary in today's canceled culture world, your business could get canceled your your kids could be ostracized at school. And this isn't just an opportunity to show up to Austin to try to convince people of one way to vote. It's also an opportunity to tell people keep voting pro life, we have your back. We have your back, we're going to still go to your business, we're still going to support you. If you do this, then you are representing us. And we're going to continue to have have your back. It's a great message to deliver when you go and do this. Yeah, absolutely. And yeah, like you said, we like it sounds scary to go meet with legislators or testify before committee. And it's not. And we'll help you know how to do that. So that it's not so scary. That's great. It's great. I love it. Well, Rebecca, I'm honored that you took the time out of your clearly very busy schedule. And you found some time to, you know, to hop on the call here with me. And it really does share these powerful messages of hard work. Still to come, but that the hard work is paying off. I earlier on this episode, I commented on that. There's so much to be done. And there's so many headwinds, but there also is motion blowing us forward, we're able to make some progress. And and clearly we have in Texas right to life has been a big part of it, and is going to continue to be a big part of it. So would you would you mind if I pray over you and the Texas right to life mission here real quick? Yeah, thank you. I'd love that. Heavenly Father, we come to you today with thankful hearts, thankful for the great things you've done in this world and all the blessings that you've bestowed upon us. All of those blessings, we get to experience because someone in our lives chose life. We are thankful that through all the ups and downs of the battle for pro life that you continue to be our rock, and our foundation to build our messaging on. We're thankful for groups like Texas, right to life and the willingness of individuals like Rebecca, who put your mission above all else. And most importantly, we are thankful for your never ending grace and that grace and mercy that you give unconditionally, even to those who have not supported pro life causes. And we ask that you bring great risk wisdom to our legislators here in Texas, and others all across the country as they try to filter through the noise that the left bombards them with. So we ask that your words always serve as a reminder to the task at hand. As written in Jeremiah, one five, before I formed you in the womb If I knew you, and your son's name we pray, amen. Amen. Thank you back. Rebecca, thank you so much for for jumping on the answer here. God bless you. God bless the work of Texas right to life. Thanks again for joining us. Yeah, thank you, man, it's been a pleasure. Don't ever let someone tell you that because Roe was overturned that this fight is over. It's not, don't ever let someone tell you that we don't have work to do. As Rebecca stated, there is immense work to be done. And we may never complete it all. But we shouldn't give up. We can make a major dent if we all lend our voice to it. And if we don't shy away from telling it like it is, as our good conservative president Ronald Reagan once said, I've noticed that everyone who is for abortion has already been born. Let's use facts. Let's use prayer. And let's protect life. Thank you so much for listening, everyone. As always, you can email me your thoughts to Ben at Ben armenta.com. I'll be sure to like, follow and share this podcast with your family and friends. The real question is, where do you stand on the fight for the right to life? Because this fight isn't over. Are you going to jump in and do something about it? I sure hope so. Because we need you on this team. Until next time, thank you again. God bless. The answer with Ben Armenta is sponsored by the kickin crab, the latest and greatest Cajun concept to hit the southwest. They offer down home flavors and it's one of those places where you're gonna want to take the kids, no plates just good times brought to you by folks that have strong conservative values. Like you and me. Visit them off of Highway six in Houston or at the kicking crab.com