Dan Branch Scored High Marks on NARAL Pro-Abortion Scorecard

Texas Republican State Rep. Dan Branch of Dallas had the 9th-highest GOP rating from the National Association to Repeal Abortion Laws (NARAL), according to a review of the group's website prochoicetexas.org. The radical pro-abortion group looked favorably on Branch due to his effort to introduce a 2005 amendment that could have expanded the medical authority of Texas abortionists. 

Branch has recently sought to defend a sweeping amendment to Republican legislation as "pro-life" despite the possibility that it could have expanded the opportunity for third-trimester abortions in Texas. The Branch abortion amendment was defeated, regardless of the support by NARAL, all the Democrats in the House, and several left-leaning Republicans--including Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) who is now the Speaker of the House.

The NARAL legislative scorecard favorably rated Branch's amendment as a "pro-choice" vote. His amendment was one of nine votes included on the scorecard, and the only GOP-authored language to be favorably considered by the organization.

"Had Branch’s amendment passed, abortions would be allowed in the third trimester if the child suffered ’impairment of a vital organ,' a judgment call that would have been made by the abortionist who makes a substantial profit off these late abortions," said Elizabeth Graham, executive director of Texas Right to Life. Her organization has endorsed Paxton in the run-off, noting that Branch was not eligible for consideration given his record.

The GOP average rating with NARAL in 2005 was 12 percent, with 17 Republican lawmakers being given a "0" by the group. Branch had a 27 percent--more than double the GOP average.

Of the 86 Republican members of the Texas House in 2005, Branch had one of the highest NARAL ratings, trailing behind left-leaning Republicans Charlie Geren of Fort Worth, Jim Pitts of Waxahachie and Straus. Geren was the GOP leader with the group, holding a 55 percent rating.

Branch had a higher NARAL rating than three Democrats in 2005: Robert Cook, Chuck Hopson and Chente Quantanilla.

Now that he is running statewide, Branch has sought to portray himself as consistently “pro-life.” Yet a review of NARAL scorecards finds that Branch is the only Texas Republican in the legislature to have had language positively considered by the group. 

In 2007 and 2009, the last year NARAL produced a scorecard, Branch received a “0” from the group though they had only 3 votes considered each time.

Rep. Branch has also tried to compare his language that could have expanded the instances of third-trimester abortions with the omnibus pro-life legislation passed in the summer of 2013. That has drawn strong criticism from the legislator who led the charge for HB2, which was passed in a special session following a regular session with no action on pro-life initiatives.

A senior editor of Texas Monthly has written that examination of Branch’s record on abortion is “petty.”

Branch now trails as a distant second in the GOP run-off race for Attorney General this year behind State Sen. Ken Paxton.

Michael Quinn Sullivan is a contributor to Breitbart Texas. He heads an organization that has endorsed Branch's opponent, State Senator Ken Paxton.


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