Branch Campaign Responds to Michael Quinn Sullivan Acting As Reporter For Breitbart News

Statement from Texans For Dan Branch Campaign Manager Enrique Marquez:

The Dan Branch campaign has received a request for comment from Michael Quinn Sullivan acting as a reporter on a “tight deadline” on behalf of Breitbart News. (This request is attached to this press release.) Mr. Sullivan also leads an organization that has formally endorsed Ken Paxton for Attorney General and has contributed more than a quarter-million dollars to his campaign.

Ken Paxton and his surrogates have repeatedly attempted to falsely portray Dan Branch as being not pro-life. These false attacks have been discredited by Joe Pojman of Texas Alliance for Life as being “blatantly false,” and he added, “Unborn babies should not be used for cheap political gain, and that’s how I view this.” [1]

Dan Branch has a ten-year record of passing pro-life legislation including the landmark Sonogram Bill, requiring a 24-hour waiting period before performing an abortion, and the recently passed abortion restrictions in HB2 (2013) that are among the toughest in the nation.

When Mr. Sullivan applies the logic behind the false attack he refers to in his request for comment to other amendments to SB419 (2005), one must conclude that Ken Paxton voted for legislation that “would have allowed third-trimester abortions of viable babies,” as Mr. Sullivan stated, since Ken Paxton voted for an amendment by Richard Raymond to SB419 that addressed additional circumstances related to abortion. [2]

Regarding SB419, which Ken Paxton and Dan Branch both supported [3]:

  1. When SB419 was considered on the House floor on 5/16/05, Will Hartnett offered an amendment that would prohibit licensed physicians from performing “an abortion on a woman who is pregnant with a viable unborn child during the third trimester of the pregnancy when the abortion is not necessary to prevent the death of the woman.” [4]
  2. Will Hartnett then offered an amendment (#3) to the Hartnett amendment (#2) that stated: between “woman” and the period, by inserting “or when the viable unborn child does not have a severe, irreversible brain impairment.” This amendment to the Hartnett amendment was adopted by a voice vote, with 10 members including Ken Paxton recording their opposition in the House journal. [5]
  3. Richard Raymond offered an amendment (#8) to the Hartnett amendment (#2) that stated: between “impairment” and the period, by inserting “or when the woman is diagnosed with a significant likelihood of suffering imminent severe, irreversible brain damage or paralysis.” This amendment to the Hartnett amendment was adopted by record vote (#673), with both Ken Paxton and Dan Branch voting yes to adopt. [2]
  4. Dan Branch offered an amendment (#9) to the Hartnett amendment (#2) that stated: between “irreversible brain” and “impairment”, by inserting “or vital organ.” This amendment to the Hartnett amendment was tabled by record vote (#674), with Ken Paxton voting yes to table and Dan Branch voting no to table. [6]
  5. The Hartnett amendment (#2) as amended (including the Hartnett and Raymond amendments to the amendment) was then adopted by record vote (#676), with both Ken Paxton and Dan Branch voting yes to adopt. [7]
  6. SB419 as amended (including the Hartnett amendment as amended) was passed by record vote (#691) with both Ken Paxton and Dan Branch voting yes. [3]

Dan Branch offered language to strengthen SB419, not weaken it. While Dan Branch’s amendment to SB419 addressed unborn children with a “severe, irreversible vital organ impairment,” nearly identical protective language addressing unborn children with a “severe fetal abnormality” was included in successive anti-abortion legislation passed in 2011 (SB7) and 2013 (HB2) to help these important pro-life bills withstand future legal challenges. Ken Paxton and Dan Branch both supported each of these bills. [8,9]

“Severe fetal abnormality” is defined in Texas statute as “a life threatening physical condition that, in reasonable medical judgment, regardless of the provision of life saving medical treatment, is incompatible with life outside the womb.” [10]

SOURCES:

1. “As GOP primary nears, blistering accusations in 3-way attorney general race,” Austin American-Statesman, 3/2/14, http://www.mystatesman.com/news/news/as-gop-primary-nears-blistering-accusations-in-3-w/nd4Bk/

2. Raymond amendment (#8) to Hartnett amendment (#2) to SB419, Record Vote #673, 5/16/05, http://www.journals.house.state.tx.us/hjrnl/79r/pdf/79rday69final.pdf#page=18

3. SB 419 Record Vote #691, 5/17/05, http://www.journals.house.state.tx.us/hjrnl/79r/pdf/79rday70final.pdf#page=15

4. Hartnett amendment (#2) to SB419 as introduced, 5/16/05, http://www.journals.house.state.tx.us/hjrnl/79r/pdf/79rday69final.pdf#page=14

5. Hartnett amendment (#3) to Hartnett amendment (#2) to SB419, Voice Vote, 5/16/05, http://www.journals.house.state.tx.us/hjrnl/79r/pdf/79rday69final.pdf#page=16

6. Branch amendment (#9) to Hartnett amendment (#2) to SB419, Record Vote #674, 5/16/05,
http://www.journals.house.state.tx.us/hjrnl/79r/pdf/79rday69final.pdf#page=19

7. Hartnett amendment (#2) as amended to SB419, Record Vote #676, 5/16/05, http://www.journals.house.state.tx.us/hjrnl/79r/pdf/79rday69final.pdf#page=23

8. SB7, 2011(1)

Record Vote #128, 6/27/11, http://www.journals.house.state.tx.us/hjrnl/821/pdf/82C1DAY15FINAL.PDF#page=7

Text: http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/821/billtext/html/SB00007F.htm

9. HB2, 2013(2)

Record Vote #29, 7/10/13, http://www.journals.house.state.tx.us/hjrnl/832/pdf/83C2DAY03FINAL.PDF#page=13

Senate Vote 7/12/13: http://www.journals.senate.state.tx.us/sjrnl/832/pdf/83S207-12-F.PDF#page=2

Text: http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/832/billtext/html/HB00002F.htm

10. Texas Health and Safety Code Chapter 285.202, http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/HS/htm/HS.285.htm

———- Forwarded message ———-

From: Michael Quinn Sullivan ‪<Michael@sullivantx.com>

Date: Tue, Mar 18, 2014 at 11:17 AM

Subject: Breitbart News

To: “enrique.marquez@gmail.com” <enrique.marquez@gmail.com>

Enrique,

Seeking a comment from the Branch campaign for Breitbart News. Pro-lifers say Branch’s amendment in 2005 would have allowed third-trimester abortions of viable babies. They say any comparison to 2013′s legislation is inaccurate, because that legislation included specific medical standards.

They further note that only pro-abortion Democrats and a few moderates supported his amendment in 2005, as evidence that it was a bad amendment.

How does the campaign respond to those claims? I have tight deadline this afternoon.

Thanks!

____________________

Michael Quinn Sullivan