By: ARIANA PEREZ-CASTELLS, ELEANOR KLIBANOFF AND ERIN DOUGLAS

Paul Linton, an attorney for the anti-abortion group Texas Alliance for Life, said he thought a higher court would soon vacate the temporary restraining order and that the pre-Roe abortion ban should stand.

“I don’t think it has any merit,” Linton said. “I don’t think there’s any plausible argument that the laws have been expressly repealed, and the repeal-by-implication argument, I think, is very weak.”

By: Anna North

That’s already happening. “If at some point Roe v. Wade is overturned, we’re going to have to step up and fund places like these centers to be able to reach out to all those women who are now going, ‘I need help,’” Arkansas state Rep. Cindy Crawford, a Republican, told the Associated Press in March. Edmonds, the Louisiana representative, is backing a bill that would earmark $1 million from the state budget to help the centers build an online service network.

That’s on top of money that the centers already get from Louisiana and other states around the country as part of “alternatives to abortion” programs, which have been around since the 1990s and have grown in recent years. The largest, in Texas, received $100 million over two years in the latest budget cycle, and abortion opponents hope to see that grow further. “We always are working toward the increase in funding for the alternatives to abortion program,” said Amy O’Donnell, director of communications for the group Texas Alliance for Life.

“Our goal is to help women remove obstacles that they may face in going through an unplanned pregnancy so that they can successfully give birth to the baby and then keep that baby with support or place that baby for adoption, if that’s their choice,” O’Donnell said. “With that, we recognize that they’re going to need support both before and after birth.”

Critics say the anti-abortion safety net … isn’t one
Pregnancy resource centers do offer some forms of support to the people who visit them. In a small study published in 2020, Kimport found that women who visited the centers got things like baby clothes and prenatal vitamins, as well as services like pregnancy tests. Especially for low-income people, the centers can fill some of the gaps in states where more conventional social services, from Medicaid to food stamps, have been cut to the bone.

However, researchers and reproductive rights advocates have deep concerns about the idea that pregnancy resource centers could step in to become a substitute for the right to an abortion.

At the most basic level, the centers do not provide abortion, which is something a lot of people want. Reproductive rights groups argue that support during an unplanned pregnancy is no substitute for the choice of whether to carry that pregnancy to term. “There’s nothing that a crisis pregnancy center can offer that is equal to getting an abortion,” said Morgan Moone, strategic data and advocacy manager for the New Orleans-based Reproductive Justice Action Collective (ReJAC). “Abortion is providing opportunity; it’s providing autonomy over an individual’s body.”

People who are seeking abortion may not be interested in goods and services to help them carry the pregnancy to term instead. Kimport’s research suggests that pregnancy resource centers are not especially popular. During a two-year period of recruiting study participants at prenatal clinics, she and her team were able to find only 21 people who had been to such a center and were willing to talk about the experience (and only a handful who had visited one but didn’t want to talk).

The majority of people who had visited the centers were not considering abortion; they just needed assistance continuing a wanted pregnancy. After Texas passed the restrictive abortion law SB 8, abortions among Texans fell by only about 10 percent, suggesting that most people in the state who wanted abortions found a way to get them — they did not visit a pregnancy center for support in giving birth and raising a child.

Another concern is the actual services that pregnancy resource centers provide. Research from the University of Georgia has found that while the centers sometimes present themselves as medical providers and offer services like ultrasounds, they also often spread misinformation about abortion, such as the false claim that it causes breast cancer. The centers often are not staffed by medical personnel. One 2007 study conducted by the NARAL ProChoice Maryland Fund found that just 18 percent of Maryland centers had staff with medical training. In addition, anti-abortion centers may spread misinformation about sexually transmitted infections and contraception, or provide no information at all.

“That’s harmful,” said Obiekea, of the Black Women for Wellness Action Project. “This is information about your health.”

The centers are also not subject to the same ethical and privacy regulations that govern medical clinics. The centers can collect and store data on clients’ sexual and reproductive history, test results, ultrasounds, and more, according to Time. That data could then be turned over to law enforcement to sue or prosecute abortion providers or even pregnant people themselves.

Most pregnancy resource centers remain affiliated with churches or other Christian groups, and Christian religious messages are typically part of their counseling. Anti-abortion advocates say the centers are still open to all, regardless of religion: “There are some who may look for an open-door opportunity to share their Christian views, but they are also very happy to navigate around that,” O’Donnell said. According to Kimport, however, while people don’t have to be Christian to visit a center, hearing the religious messages is typically “not optional.”

By: REENA DIAMANTE

It has not been used for nearly a half-century, but some abortion opponents believe it is fair game after Roe’s reversal.

“They have ceased doing abortions because of the threat of prosecution under that pre-Roe law,” Joe Pojman, executive director for Texas Alliance for Life, said. “I’m very grateful that for right now, it appears that unborn babies are not being aborted. Hopefully, those women are being told about the alternatives, the vast resources available to them if they choose to give birth to the child.”

By: WILLIAM MELHADO

On the other side, those celebrating the end of abortion in Texas also believe Friday’s ruling will rally voters to continue supporting the anti-abortion cause.

“I believe that our pro-life voters will feel empowered to continue voting,” Amy O’Donnell, a spokesperson for Texas Alliance for Life, told the Tribune. While she hesitates to make political predictions, O’Donnell says she anticipates the decision will spur voters to “come out in droves” in November.

O’Donnell attributes the success of anti-abortion advocates to “playing the long game for 49 years, advocating for life on a national basis, on a statewide basis. … We’ll continue to do that.”

Now, abortion-rights advocates say they need to follow that model.

By: REESE OXNER AND ERIN DOUGLAS

Lawyers for anti-abortion groups argued that the 2004 case, McCorvey v. Hill, was wrongly decided.

“The final interpreter and the ultimate authoritative interpreter of state law is a state court, not some federal court, not even the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Paul Linton, special counsel for Texas Alliance for Life. “State prosecutors are not bound by that [2004] decision.”

The Texas District & County Attorneys Association on Friday wrote in an interim legislative update that the legal ambiguity could make prosecuting abortion cases difficult.

“How these existing laws interact … is anyone’s guess,” the association’s update read, “because the new ‘trigger law’ did not amend or repeal these existing crimes.”

The pre-Roe laws include more detailed provisions than Texas’ trigger ban, including the potential to charge anyone who “furnishes the means” for someone to obtain an abortion. The threat of criminal charges has been enough to chill both abortion procedures as well as funding for Texans to travel and obtain abortions outside the state.

By: Jennifer Sanders

In the 2021 fiscal year, the following contracted providers were awarded money to administer the program:

Texas Pregnancy Care Network – $36,587,141.78
Human Coalition – $8,765,185.34
Austin LifeCare – $750,000
Longview Wellness Center – $54,000

“That was a 25% increase from the 86th Legislative session to the 87th Legislative session,” said Amy O’Donnell, director of communications for Texas Alliance for Life.

KXAN asked the Texas Alliance for Life, a statewide nonprofit organization, if funding for the organization would meet a possible increase in demand some providers said they are seeing. Even as the need grows, O’Donnell thinks the funding allocated over the next two years will help over 200 pregnancy care centers in the state.

“Those centers see 150,000 women a year. So that compares well, to the roughly 55,000 abortions that we’ve seen take place in Texas per year. They are well able to meet the needs through the centers,” O’Donnell said.