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FORT WORTH, Texas (ChurchMilitant.com) - Texas Bishop Michael Olson led the charge not only in attacking a prominent pro-life group but also supporting measures that would allow a "death panel" to determine if patients live or die.
"Michael Olson is really the person who drives their political agenda, the Texas Catholic Conference," says Jim Graham, president of Texas Right to Life, in a recent interview with Church Militant. "It has become solely a political organization."
The Texas bishops issued an advisory in 2018 essentially banning Texas Right to Life from holding events on diocesan property, criticizing its voters guide for counseling voters to reject any "faux pro-life" candidates who block authentically pro-life legislation while choosing to compromise with weaker measures.
"They've engaged heavily in politics," Graham said of the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, adding, "Bishop Olson is the person that's driving it."
While Olson supported the ban on Texas Right to Life, he had no problem allowing a pro-abortion Democrat to speak in his diocese.
In August 2016, Democratic Congressman Marc Veasey, U.S. representative for Texas' 33rd district, spoke at All Saints Catholic Church in Fort Worth.
Veasey has been given a 100% rating by NARAL Pro-Choice America, and has consistently voted against pro-life measures, including the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would have protected unborn children who feel pain from abortions. Veasey supports abortion through all nine months, and has attended rallies in support of Planned Parenthood.
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Olson has also led the vanguard in supporting the Texas Advanced Directives Act (TADA), "a deadly law," according to Graham, "the worst in America."
"Prisoners who've been found guilty of heinous crimes by a jury of their peers have more due process and more right to life than a little baby does in Texas," referring to Tinslee Lewis, a baby at the center of a legal battle between her family and the hospital, which wants to remove life-sustaining care, leading to her immediate death. Tinslee is in a hospital within Olson's diocese.
While Texas Right to Life supplied attorneys to fight for Tinslee's right to life, amazingly, the Texas bishops submitted an opposing brief arguing in favor of the hospital's right to pull the plug based on the judgment of an ethics panel — what critics call a death panel — that determined her quality of life did not warrant further care. In Tinslee's case, the care is a ventilator and feeding tube.
"I've sat in those committees; they are death panels," Graham said. "In one case they actually said as the argument, 'Well, this woman will never be able to balance a checkbook.' And that was the argument for removing her life-sustaining care — not that she was dying, not that she was having systemic organ failure, but that her quality of life was too low."
Once the hospital decides a patient's quality of life no longer warrants life-sustaining care, the patient's family has only 10 days to find another hospital willing to take him in — an unrealistic timeline.
"This is coming back to Michael Olson; he is the main person who has kept this law in place," said Graham, a faithful Catholic. "Increasingly the general public is aghast at what's going on, but Bp. Olson is making sure that that law is not changed, remains in place, and that his hospitals and the hospitals around the nation have the power over life and death."
Graham has researched the voting records of Texas bishops, which has revealed disturbing results. Out of 15 bishops total, five of them have consistently voted in Democratic primaries in Texas. Another bishop has voted in nine straight Democratic primaries. Most others have a mixed record.
Bishop Olson has voted in three primaries total: Republican in 2016 and 2018, and Democratic in 2010. It's unclear why he chose to vote in the Democratic primaries in 2010, a year when it was more important than ever to vote Republican, as that involved the Tea Party wave.
In Olson's district in 2010, pro-abortion Republican Kay Granger was being challenged in the primary by fellow Republican Michael Brasovan, the pro-life, Tea Party candidate. Granger was the only GOP candidate who supported abortion. Olson had the opportunity to openly oppose her and send a strong pro-life message in that election, but instead chose to vote Democrat.
Olson also passed up the opportunity to support pro-life Gov. Rick Perry, who experienced a difficult primary fight against pro-abortion Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Instead, the bishop abandoned the Republican races and switched parties.
Olson has been the subject of 10 lawsuits, both canonical and civil, from both priests and laity. More than 1,500 mandates have been signed by Catholics and sent to Rome demanding the removal of Olson from his diocese over malfeasance and abusive speech and behavior. Recently aired testimony from a longtime confidant and friend reveals that Olson allegedly once wanted to torture and murder a priest, leading to questions about the bishop's psychological fitness for office.