Texas lawmaker celebrates state's abortion ban with anti-LGBTQ group

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State Rep. Jeff Leach praised Texas' abortion ban during the coronavirus pandemic.

Texas state Rep. Jeff Leach, a Republican, last week celebrated the abortion bans GOP governors have instituted during the coronavirus pandemic, telling an extremist group that it's been an "eye-opening ... few weeks" for the "pro-life" community.

In a conversation with Texas Values, a far-right anti-LGBTQ group that fights against marriage equality and LGBTQ rights in the state, Leach specifically praised Texas' moves to ban abortions during the coronavirus outbreak.

"Thank God we've got a pro-life governor, a pro-life attorney general, and many pro-life warriors across the state like judges who have upheld the rule of law," Leach said in a livestream with Texas Values on April 15.

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Texas is currently banning nearly all abortions in the state during the pandemic, both surgical and medical, after the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ban on Monday.

The decision puts Texas with 11 other states with Republican governors that have moved to ban abortion using the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext, reports the Washington Post.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is starting to reopen the state's economy, including allowing people to have elective surgery, but is still not lifting the ban on abortion, forcing some women to travel hundreds of miles to receive an abortion within the time frame legally allowed.

Leach is an anti-abortion crusader, and has pushed for a ban on abortions in the state as early as eight weeks, when some people don't even know they're pregnant.

"All of the states are passing different pieces of legislation. It is my hope that next session we can take our 20 week ban down to possibly an 8, 12 week ban," Leach said in 2019, when states like Alabama were passing total abortion bans that also criminalized the procedure. "The Supreme Court sooner or later will have to decide on the issue of life and take up Roe v. Wade."

Leach once supported criminalizing abortions and making people who obtain them subject to the death penalty, before changing his mind on the issue.

And on his campaign website, Leach says, "Government must work aggressively to protect innocent human life — from the womb to the tomb."

Leach has also pushed anti-LGBTQ measures in his home state.

In 2015, Leach introduced legislation that would stop cities in Texas from drafting their own laws to ban discrimination against LGBTQ people.

Leach is one of the most vulnerable state representatives in Texas, according to the group Reform Austin. He carried his Plano-area district by less than 3% in 2018.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.