It is a tough video... to be sure...
The untrustworthy Dallas Morning News gave that claim about NARAL 3 peppers on its hotness scale (link). Excerpt follows...
In 2007, Straus voted 100 percent of the time with NARAL Pro-Choice Texas. However, he only voted on one of nine votes the group considered crucial that session. Straus voted "aye" on an unsuccessful amendment to the state budget that would have shifted to child-abuse prevention efforts $5 million previously allotted to "pregnancy crisis centers," which advise women and girls about alternatives to abortions.
Sara Cleveland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, said Straus favors helping women obtain family-planning services and birth control but is hardly in lockstep with her group. In the 2005 session, his first, it rated him a 45. That year, he voted on 11 of the group's 14 key roll calls - and against them on six of them. (As speaker, he doesn't cast votes so he had no score last year.) The 2009 session's biggest abortion-related issue was an unsuccesful bill that would have mandated sonograms for women seeking abortions. Texans for Life president Kyleen Wright of Mansfield has said Straus worked with her "consistently and in good faith" on that measure.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Straus isn't a fervent social conservative, but it's misleading to cast him as a staunch abortion-rights advocate.
While the Dallas Morning News is known for bad fact checks just like all the rest of the MSM, this one resonates. It does seem to be a little bit misleading to say he is strictly pro abortion or to use his rabbi's affiliation with Planned Parenthood as proof of what he believes on the issue, but you can't blame anyone for saying he had a 100% rating from NARAL... because that's the rating NARAL gave him... I think Straus should come out more forcefully on this issue if he wants to prove he is really pro life...
This did help... pro life advocate Kyleen Wright endorsed Straus (link). The letter follows...
Kyleen Wright, President of Texans for Life Coalition, wrote this letter in support of Speaker Joe Straus’ strong Pro-Life position. Please take a moment to read:
A charge has been leveled that Speaker Straus and his lieutenants killed the sonogram bill last session. This is categorically false, and I am disappointed about this and other claims, as well as the tenor of this race.
Speaker Straus’s office and lieutenants, in particular Chairman Charlie Geren and Chairman Todd Smith, worked consistently and in good faith with Texans for Life to pass the popular pro- life measure. Chairman Geren, as a member of the State Affairs Committee, worked to ensure an April hearing and to strengthen the weaker senate version of the bill at my request. Chairman Smith also pushed for hearings on the bill and a stronger version.
What finally killed the sonogram bill was the same thing that killed so many bills: the filibuster of the Voter ID bill, as the clock simply ran out. Even so, had former Speaker Craddick not missed the formal hearing called by Chairman Solomons on April 30th, the bill would have been voted out and ahead of Voter ID on the calendar, sailing to victory. A final Hail Mary Pass was played when Chairman Geren again intervened to secure the #2 spot on the Major State Calendar for the bill at the end of the session.
Furthermore, it was the Speaker’s team who rallied to my aid to defeat the Planned Parenthood sex ed bills.
Texans for Life and I are very grateful for the help of Speaker Straus and his team.
I have been taken to task for my assertions that Speaker Straus and his lieutenants helped pro- life efforts in the last session, and that there were all kind of other shenanigans we were up against. A quick review is in order.
First, it was a Craddick lieutenant who, on April 17th, pulled down all the budget amendments that pro-lifers had put forth after months of research and the establishment of an elaborate on- site support system to assist members debating them. Pro- life leaders were devastated to see Rep. Phil King announce a deal had been struck with liberal Democrat and abortion advocate, Jessica Farrar. Without talking to a single stakeholder, this lieutenant, according to another pro- life leader, “gave up a lot, including a potentially devastating blow against Planned Parenthood…and got very little.” What we “got” was a weak and unsustainable embryo destruction rider.
As for the hearing on the sonogram bill, it was established that no controversial bills would be heard before the budget passed, the single legislative requirement for the session. This was a very tense, closely divided house after all. Nevertheless, the first week after the budget passed, the sonogram bill was heard in State Affairs. For the first time in the collective institutional memory of pro- life leaders, Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro- Choice Texas gave no public testimony against a pro-life bill. This did not bode well for us, and brought to mind rumors that there were members determined to ensure nothing pro- life would pass on Straus’ watch.
The significance of Craddick walking the vote on April 30th, is that he told the bill author ahead of time that he would not be there and did not want us to know. Clearly, arrangements could have been made as he and we were aware of the need to get this bill moving through the process before voter ID exploded in the house. Subsequent delays in getting the bill out of committee were the result of in- fighting among members and pro- life leaders about the substance of the bill. The Senate version was very weak and there was confusion over whether or not Senator Dan Patrick had promised senators that the bill would not be strengthened in the House. Straus lieutenant Rep. Charlie Geren, at my urging, fought for a stronger version which eventually did pass out of committee.
Meanwhile, the Planned Parenthood sex ed bills were working their way through Public Education, and it was Craddick supporters we had to peel off the bill. It’s not a great leap in logic to suspect that those working against pro- life victories for the Straus team would just as soon hang a Planned Parenthood bill around his neck. Finally, in the midst of the chubbing, my colleagues and I wrote the members of the Republican Caucus to urge them to end the chubbing because the sonogram bill was still in play. We reminded them that in the previous session Speaker Craddick had pulled the sonogram bill down to prevent the Democrats from chubbing, and suggesting it was our turn to benefit from a little horse- trading.
I attach for you the response I received from a Craddick lieutenant responding frankly that they could not because there were other bills just ahead on the calendar that they did not want to vote on. The member’s name has been redacted, and an unredacted copy has been provided to media for corroboration. Click here to read the e-mail response.
There are other emails I am not releasing, including one from a pro- life leader noting with surprise that certain Straus lieutenants had been our best help on the sonogram bill, and another detailing how Charlie Geren “could not have been more gracious and assured me he wanted us to work together.”
My loyalty is to the Life issue, and will not be clouded by personal loyalties. People will draw their own conclusions, but reasonable people will not find it unbelievable that members and others who lost power and influence in the sea change of leadership had an ax to grind against Straus. The continued demonization of Speaker Straus and distortion of his record is just more of the same.
Those are all important points that can't be ignored...
Straus probably needs to be articulating some of this a little bit more forcefully... because you see and hear 100% NARAL enough times and it becomes a rallying point...