Wikimedia Commons / Gage Skidmore
Firebrand former congressman Allen West recently unseated James Dickey as head of the Texas GOP.
In a statement that makes the ludicrous claim that Planned Parenthood "openly work[s] with Satanists," the Texas Republican Party said it's prioritized ending access to abortion in the legislative session kicking off in January.
The statement comes as the Texas Lege gets ready to grapple with a historic budget crisis and as a potential end to the COVID-19 pandemic is still months away. Political observers say most of state lawmakers' focus will be consumed by the aftermath of the health crisis that's killed more than 25,000 Texans and pushed many close to financial ruin.
"We will not allow organizations like Planned Parenthood, who openly work with Satanists, to continue to slaughter the most vulnerable members of society," the Texas Republican Party wrote in its statement
, released Thursday.
The TRP statement continued, quoting from Allen West, the Tea Party bomb-thrower it elected chairman
in July: "[O]ur legislative priority is to end the murder of unborn babies in Texas. It is not in keeping with Texas values nor respecting our unalienable right to life, which was given to us by our Creator. Unborn children need someone to be their voice, when they are crying out from the womb in distress as they are dismembered.”
The statement was released the same day Planned Parenthood asked Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and state leaders
for more time before being booted from the state's Medicaid program. The conservative Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals last month ruled
Texas could ban the operator of family planning clinics from being a Medicaid provider.
Democrats blasted the Texas GOP's statement as an attempt to deflect from Abbott's failure during the COVID-19 crisis. While the governor this week revealed details of the state's vaccine-distribution plan
, he's been largely silent
during a fall coronavirus surge that's pushed the state's infection numbers above 1.5 million.
“The Texas Republican Party has gone off the dead end," Texas Democratic Party Chairman Manny Garcia said in an emailed statement. "Yet again, we see that Republican leadership will do whatever it takes to distract Texans from devastation of the coronavirus pandemic, rather than providing any semblance of a comprehensive plan to keep Texans healthy, safe, and able to put food on the table."
Stay on top of San Antonio news and views. Sign up for our Weekly Headlines Newsletter.