Bryan Hughes, a Republican state senator in Texas, told a small group assembled during a Friday afternoon breakout session at the annual Road to Majority conference in Washington that regulations his state placed on facilities that offer abortion procedures were meant to shut down clinics in an attempt to “save some babies along the way” while anti-abortion activists work on overturning Roe v Wade. Road to Majority is hosted by Faith and Freedom Coalition chairman and Religious Right activist Ralph Reed.
In a session dedicated to “Legislative Reform at the State Level,” Hughes bragged about various pieces of anti-abortion legislation that he had helped pass in Texas. Hughes primarily highlighted Texas laws that make abortions more difficult to obtain, such as the Texas law requiring that women seeking abortion procedures be shown a sonogram before receiving treatment. He went on to gloat about how the Texas state legislature passed a 20-week abortion ban despite hesitations from anti-choice groups in the state and he proceeded to brag about regulations that had been placed on abortion providers.
“When I was brand new at this—I was a young man once, believe it or not—and I was at the Republican state convention. This is 1990, I was a college student, and I went to the pro-life caucus and these were heady days when Republicans, pro-lifers were getting involved. We were winning and there was a big debate at that time in the pro-life community. We could take one of two roads,” Hughes said.
“One view said, we’re going to go for broke. We’re going to overturn Roe [v Wade], we’re going to outlaw abortion, nothing less, we won’t settle for anything less today. The other folks—and by the way, I was with those folks. I mean, I’m hardcore. I’m with them. The other group said, ‘Well, let’s have a legislative agenda. Let’s try to do things like parental consent for minors seeking abortion, like a waiting period, like regulating clinics, like those things.”
“I’ve finally figured out that we can do both,” Hughes said. “We can do both. We can fight and push to see Roe v. Wade overturned. In the meantime, let’s save some babies along the way, right? Let’s regulate those clinics. Let’s shut down the ones we can prove are breaking the law.”
Hughes bragged to session attendees that 12 abortion clinics were forced to close the day that his state’s regulation legislation was passed into law.
“I want to shut them all down, but we’re going to get them as we go as much as we can,” Hughes said.