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Abbott On Planned Parenthood, GOP Candidates And Texas Legislature Priorities

Christopher Connelly
Gov. Greg Abbott, holding up a pocket US Constitution, spoke Saturday night in Fort Worth.

A grand jury may have cleared Planned Parenthood of wrongdoing, but Governor Greg Abbott says that’s not stopping the state from looking into the group.

Abbott spoke Saturday night in Fort Worth at the Tarrant County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner.

“And I want you to know that regardless of what happened in Harris County, Texas, the state of Texas is continuing its investigation going after anything that Planned Parenthood did that was wrong,” Abbott told the crowd.

The grand jury instead indicted two anti-abortion activists who made undercover videos at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Houston and accused workers of illegally selling fetal tissue for profit.

Texas officials said last fall that they were cutting off funding to Planned Parenthood from the state Medicaid program. But the Texas Tribune reports that has yet to happen.

Abbott said he wants Texas legislators to tighten abortion restrictions.

“We need to pass my pro-life initiative that criminalizes the sale of baby body parts,” he said.

In addition to his pro-life initiative, Abbott has a long list of items he wants Texas legislators to tackle when they return to Austin next year.

“I want a ban on sanctuary cities in the state of Texas,” he said. “I want to make sure we have real ethics reform this time, not the watered down version that got passed last time. I want to make sure we prevent lawmakers from being able to vote on issues in which they can personally pocket money. I also want to ensure Texas maintains its position of taking the national lead in pushing back against the federal government.”

Abbott isn’t ready to say who he wants to be the next president.

The Republican also isn’t making any predictions as to who from the crowded field of GOP candidates will win Monday night’s Iowa Caucuses.

“I’ll be watching closely -- watching what happens in Iowa, what happens in New Hampshire, what happens in South Carolina," he told reporters before the speech. "The whole process. I would say this is the most consequential presidential election in the past century. I and my fellow Americans will be watching this very carefully. We have to put in office someone who will help turn around this country.”

The Hill, a politics-based website, suggested that Abbott could make a good vice presidential pick if Donald Trump wins the GOP nomination. Abbott didn’t address the speculation Saturday night.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.