Texas GOP leader removes pro-life lawmaker’s ‘former fetus’ sign

'It's just been ripped down and thrown in my staffer's face,' the Texas representative said.
Wed Mar 11, 2015 - 3:26 pm EST
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AUSTIN, TX, March 11, 2015 ( – A pro-life Texas lawmaker said today that state House leadership ordered his staff to take down a pro-life sign he placed outside his office to affirm the humanity of the unborn.

Texas Right to Life passed out dozens of personalized signs to legislators in the state capital of Austin this morning before Planned Parenthood activists visited to lobby their representatives. One official particularly liked the plaque, which read: “Representative Jonathan Stickland, former fetus.”

The Bedford Republican posted a picture of the sign hanging outside his door with a message for the abortion lobby.

“Today Planned Parenthood is visiting and lobbying the Capitol. In honor of their visit, I put this sign up on my office door,” he wrote on Facebook. “Organizations that murder children are not welcome in my office.”

About an hour later, he tweeted:

"It's just been ripped down and thrown in my staffer's face by Charlie Geren," Stickland later told the Texas Tribune, a left-wing media outlet. “I thought it was absolutely handled in the wrong way."

He added, "I wish Representative Geren was more professional about it, instead of intimidating my staff.”

Texas Right to Life also took to Twitter:

Texas RTL spokeswoman Melissa Conway said that lawmakers displayed the signs to send a “clear message about the humanity of the ‘preborn’ child and that they themselves were a former fetus.”

“We’re very saddened by the thought that there would be anyone that would want to take down the signage, which each legislator feels the need to display,” she told the Dallas News.

Rep. Stickland told the Austin Statesman that he was “trying to make a statement. I think I have the right to put something on my own placard.”

But State Representative Geren, R-Fort Worth, responded:

Geren said he was just following rules established by the State Preservation Board and that he did not intend to intimidate anyone, but his deep voice sometimes makes him sound gruff.

“If Stickland wants to act like a child, that's fair,” said Geren, the chair of the House Administration Committee, “but I did not rip it down."

Stickland said he will look into the appropriate rules. “If they can’t justify it, it’ll go back up,” he promised.

His staff instead taped the sign to face the hallway through the glass of his office door.

The representative, a Christian conservative who has supported numerous pro-life bills and has a 100 percent rating from Eagle Forum, said that abortion industry activists are welcome to stop by his office today.

“They can come in,” he said, “but I won’t talk about abortion or money.”

Stickland worried that the sign tussle was a proxy for a deeper war between conservative representatives and the state Republican Party leadership – a battle that has divided state pro-life groups.

Geren is aligned with House Speaker Joe Straus. Texas Right to Life lobbied their officials to vote Straus out of the leadership after saying he had “killed all key pro-life legislation even though the House still had...a clear majority.”

But the Texas Alliance for Life and the Texans for Life Coalition have endorsed and strongly defended Straus.

Still, Stickland says the state's social conservatives are not held in favor, and the time for “Kumbayah” had ended. “We are about to start cutting each other to shreds,” he worried.

His fellow conservative state representative, Jeff Leach of Plano, warned that “conservative legislation might die, but it’s not going to die quietly.”

  joe straus, jonathan stickland, republicans, texas, texas right to life

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