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Government/Politics

Straus Gears Up For Election, Calls Planned Parenthood Videos “Abhorrent”

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Ryan E. Poppe
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Speaker Joe Straus

On the issue of abortion, House Speaker Joe Straus has identified himself as pro-life.  But in a https://youtu.be/87bNa7ERgP8">video released by Bexar County Republicans, Straus struck a more strident tone as he pledged to thoroughly investigate Planned Parenthood.  Political experts say it’s tough talk as the Speaker gears up for reelection.

The video posted on the Bexar County Republican Party’s YouTube page is from an interview Straus did with the group at the end of August.  Straus called the Center for Medical Progress videos of Planned Parenthood executives abhorrent.

“I’m pleased to say those of us in the Texas House are strongly supporting Governor Abbott in is call for a thorough investigation,” Straus said.

Straus told the Bexar County GOP that the legislature in the past has tried to replace state funding that would’ve gone to Planned Parenthood with funding for an alternative women’s healthcare program set up by the state that does not focus on abortions.

“The Texas Legislature in the last couple of sessions has done everything that Washington talks about, that we have de-funded every possible program in Planned Parenthood,” Straus said during the taped interview.

In response to Straus’ comments, Yvonne Gutierrez with Planned Parenthood Texas's  political action committee,  said there is no need for any further investigation because Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas do not sell or donate fetal tissue to any outside group.  She said the investigation is a waste of time.

Straus and his spokesperson did not respond when asked whether Straus believes Planned Parenthood is lying when it says it doesn't sell fetal tissue in Texas.

Professor Mark Jones with Rice University’s Baker Institute of Public Policy says Straus isn’t known for speaking out on topics like abortion, especially this intensely.

“Generally Speaker Straus has avoided these types of wedge issues, although he’s always been pro-life.  There is an awareness by the Speaker that with the announcement of Jeff Judson as a challenger in the Republican primary that he needs to not only present his conservative record to voters there in Bexar but that he also needs to present his strong pro-life values to the voters in District 121,” Jones explained.

Jones said Straus may be talking tough to appeal to base voters as he faces off with tea-party backed Jeff Judson.