No Major Democratic Challenger in 2018 Race for Texas Governor

The prospects for a Democratic candidate seriously challenging the Republican incumbent for governor in 2018 are dismal here in the Lone Star State.  From PBS Newshour:

“Democratic leaders haven’t yet lined up a substantial name to represent the party and its message despite months of trying. Any continued faith in a Democratic turnaround in Texas is now colliding with pessimism that it will happen anytime soon.”

Gov. Abbott has $41 million in his re-election fund already, and he has no significant Republican challengers, which makes his July re-election campaign launch focus all the more worrying.  From a July AP report run in U.S. News:

“Abbott formally announced his run for re-election Friday and is reviving anti-abortion measures, school finance reforms and a ‘bathroom bill’ targeting transgender people in a special legislative session that begins Tuesday.”

Moderate Republicans in the Texas House helped defeat the 2017 attempts at passing the “bathroom bill,” given pressure from business and testimony from Texans who would face discrimination should the bill have passed.  But Gov. Abbott hasn’t given up on the idea.  And he’s recently proven his opposition to reproductive rights, signing two bills in the special legislative session that hinder access to abortion in the state.

According to Houston Public Media (again, back in July), “The state Democratic Party says it’s talking to several possible candidates, and, ‘an announcement will come at the appropriate time.'”  We’re waiting.

Alternative Facts and Wrongful Births

Another assault on reproductive rights here in the Lone Star State shouldn’t surprise any of us.  What’s disturbing is that the tactic used to used to wage this fight appears to be pulled right from the “alternative facts” playbook.

The Texas State Senate Health and Human Services Committee recently passed SB25 out of committee, which would essentially allow doctors to withhold information about fetal abnormalities from parents, overturning current “wrongful birth” legislation  This bill was promoted by the anti-abortion lieutenant governor, who, according to The Texas Observer, “told lawmakers to ‘protect the unborn'” through such legislation.

That said, this withholding of information is right in line with the sort of science denial that threatens clean air, vaccination rates, endangered species, and any number of other inconveniences to right-wing idealism.  By allowing doctors to withhold test results that indicate fetal abnormalities, law makers are essentially allowing anti-abortion practitioners to present “alternative facts” to parents-to-be who need to be informed about the implications of their situation, regardless of what those parents decide to do in response to that information.

Lt. Gov. Patrick’s purported wish to “protect the unborn” coupled with bill sponsor Sen. Brandon Creighton’s stated purpose to uphold “the sanctity of life” would do the opposite for affected children and their families.   Without time to prepare emotionally and financially, families will be devastated by the fallout from the lack of necessary information.

It’s a devastation that those in power will turn their focus away from.