Abortion foe takes heat from Straus foes

Kyleen Wright is taking a lonely stand.

As president of the Texans for Life Coalition, the Mansfield Republican has a 35-year record of working to end abortion in Texas and defend the unborn.

Now, that's no longer enough for some fellow Republicans.

They want her to side with an old power clique and campaign against Texas House Speaker Joe Straus.

In a political fuss based less on fact than on foolishness, some activists want the new Republican House supermajority to vote Tuesday to replace Straus, a mainstream business conservative who lacks Tea Party credentials. They think Wright should join their political team.

Her reply: Forget it.

She'll stick with Straus.

"My allegiance is solely to the pro-life issue," Wright said Tuesday.

"The speaker has proven himself to me. I'm interested in passing pro-life legislation, not in playing politics."

Wright said Straus has promised that a bill requiring sonograms before abortions will get a hearing on the House floor.

A similar bill failed last season -- undermined intentionally, Wright said, by old-guard conservatives so they could later blame the failure on Straus

"The bill was sabotaged by the same people who have been saying for years that they're all about saving babies," she said, repeating the same analysis she delivered at Republican clubs after the session.

"Instead of saving babies, they trivialized babies' lives by using the bill for political gain. Why isn't that a bigger problem for Republicans?"

Wright said she knows about the Straus family's 1990s connection to Planned Parenthood of Bexar County. (That clinic promoted women's healthcare but did not offer abortions.)

"People want to exclude the speaker because he hasn't always been in the pro-life movement," she said.

"Now they don't want to let him into the club. I have a problem with that."

Lately, like Straus, Wright has also become the target of vitriolic and mostly factless e-mails, the latest from a Central Texas activist writing that Wright has "done yourself, your organization and the pro-life movement real harm."

Wright's reply: "Never have I seen so many professed Christians casually and gleefully bearing false witness. ... It is a sad day in Texas."

It must be session time.

Bud Kennedy's column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Twitter @budkennedy