A Resolution of the Forward Party of Texas Executive Committee
In Favor of Amending Texas Abortion Law to Include Exceptions for Rape & Incest
The Forward Party espouses the core principles of Free People, Thriving Communities, and a Vibrant Democracy. Unfortunately, here in Texas, nearly all state legislative seats are decided in partisan primaries rather than the general election. This leads to the enactment of laws that are supported by only the small minority of the electorate that votes in primaries.
While disagreements about how we govern ourselves are inevitable, we believe those disagreements should be resolved through a civil, respectful, democratic process, and by elected officials who represent the majority. Therefore, affecting structural electoral reforms that will result in fair representation and accountability of elected officials to the general electorate is a priority for the Texas Forward Party.
Because the Texas legislature only meets every two years, the Texas Forward Party feels it has an obligation to adopt resolutions in support of specific bills that are aligned with our core principles and priorities and have the support of a majority of Texans and of our members and supporters. These resolutions do not constitute comprehensive position statements on these difficult issues, but rather support for incremental improvements that can be made in the short term. Ultimately, these difficult issues will not be fully resolved and the will of the majority reflected in our laws until structural electoral reform can be realized.
It is in this spirit that we issue this resolution in favor of amending the Texas abortion ban to include exceptions for rape and incest. We recognize many Texans, including members of our Executive Committee, believe the adoption of this limited amendment does not go far enough in reforming Texas’ abortion law. We encourage a continuing, respectful dialogue on this extremely difficult issue.
In 2021, the Texas Legislature adopted a ban on abortions from the time of “fertilization” until birth. The law imposes criminal and civil penalties for any person performing an abortion, but not on the pregnant woman. The only exception included in the law was for cases where the pregnancy poses a risk of death or “substantial impairment of a major bodily function” to the pregnant patient (see Texas Health & Safety Code, Chapter 107A).
At the time it was adopted, the law was suspended by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade. However, it contained a provision that would cause it to go into effect thirty days after any subsequent decision overturning Roe, which occurred in June 2022.
Consequently, current law in the State of Texas punishes the victim by prohibiting a victim of rape or incest from terminating a pregnancy that resulted from a criminal assault. If the assault victim determines the best resolution to her crisis is to end the pregnancy, she must travel as far away as New Mexico, Nevada or Illinois to obtain a legal abortion.
Two bills have been filed in the current Legislature which would add an exception for rape and incest: HB979, and SB122
The Texas Forward Party conducted a survey of its members and supporters on this issue. Over 90% favored a rape/incest exception. However, a majority also believed that a rape/incest victim should have a limited time to opt to terminate the pregnancy. While views on the time varied, those answering the survey generally thought it should not be less than 12 weeks and not more than 20 weeks. Numerous polls show that, like Texas Forward Party supporters, a super majority of Texans and Americans favor the right of a woman to terminate a pregnancy that was the result of rape or incest but also believe in some time limitation. (See below for a bibliography of public polling, as well as detailed results of the Forward Party poll.)
It is resolved that the Executive Committee of the Forward Party of Texas encourages the members of the 88th Session of the Texas Legislature to enact an amendment to Texas Health & Safety Code, Chapter 107A that will adopt an exception to the abortion prohibition to allow a pregnant woman to terminate the pregnancy when it occurred as the result of rape or incest, but that the option to terminate the pregnancy would be limited to not less than 12 weeks and not more than 20 weeks into the term of the pregnancy.
Information on the Forward Party of Texas
The Forward Party of Texas was formed in January 2022 and in August 2022 merged with the SAM Party of Texas and the Renew America Movement. Since its formation, the party has attracted nearly 10,000 supporters in 203 counties.
The Party is founded on the belief that our government should reflect common sense solutions supported by a majority of Texans. The Party stands for doing, not dividing. That means rejecting political extremes and working together to take real action on pressing public issues, particularly ones in which there is a broad consensus that is not reflected in current policy.
Since the Party’s formation, our Texas leadership has spoken out on the need for an independent commission to study the Texas grid failure and the need for a rule requiring a minimum bond fee for individuals accused of serious, violent crimes. By adopting the foregoing resolution, our Party is again speaking out on behalf of the majority of Texans, a majority that is in search of common ground and whose views are not reflected in current policy. More information regarding the party can be found at www.forwardparty.com/texas.
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Polling data on Rape and Incest Exception:
Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin, June 2022
Penn Program on Opinion Research and Election Studies, October 2022
Quinnipiac University, September, 2021
Results of the Forward Party Survey
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