In a state defined by cruel right-wing politics, the anti-abortion group Texas Right to Life pushed the envelope even further than anyone else. They were crucial in masterminding cruel legislation like Senate Bill 8, which banned abortion at 6 weeks in Texas and incentivized citizens with a cash “bounty” if they succeed in suing anyone who has helped a person get an illegal abortion. They ultimately succeeded in banning abortion even in cases of rape and incest.
Previously, even the most conservative Texas House Speakers shunned their extreme approach to abortion, but that changed when Republican Dade Phelan became the Speaker of the Texas House. Phelan slapped a stamp of approval on every bill idea they proposed, and they flew through the Republican-controlled legislature. All three Republican state leaders, Phelan, Abbott, and Patrick, embraced these horrific measures and celebrated their passage.
Texas Right to Life was enjoying all the fruits of being the right-wing darling in Texas as Republicans embraced anti-abortion extremism and dangerous lies targeting the LGBTQ community.
Then, in August of 2022, Luke Bowen, former political director for Texas Right to Life, was arrested for online solicitation of a minor. This month, he was finally sentenced to five years in prison after Bowen admitted to officers he was engaging in sexual conversations with someone he believed was 13 including sending a photo of his erect penis. It’s important to note that if Bowen had succeeded in raping this child, an abortion would be illegal due to the very law he advocated for and Republicans approved.
Bowen’s case, while equally shocking and galling, is just the latest example of simmering hypocrisy on the part of the Texas GOP when it comes to protecting Texas children. While they push a radical agenda of banning drag shows and spew hateful rhetoric against LGBTQ Texans, according to data reviewed by Texas Signal there are currently child assault scandals in more than 20 legislative districts belonging to Republicans, many of which include accusations against Texans with close ties to their elected leaders.
We’ll continue reporting on this critically important story, and revealing the long records of failure and hypocrisy of some of our most powerful elected leaders.
Will this stop Texas Republicans from attacking LGBTQ Texans with ugly lies since they have a growing list of sexual predators? Likely not. As they say, a hit dog will holler.