Two of the state’s most prominent anti-abortion organizations, Texas Alliance for Life and Texas Right to Life, have not put their support behind HB 1500 due to what The Texas Observer characterizes as its “its glaring constitutional problems.”
Paul Linton, an attorney who formerly served as general counsel for Americans United for Life, told CP that he found the Alabama and West Virginia amendment vote results “very encouraging.”
“Other states will likely consider similar measures, particularly Iowa, where a one-sentence neutrality amendment has already been introduced, and Kansas, in the event the state supreme court recognizes a right to abortion,” Linton said.
When asked how effective pro-life state amendments could be in banning abortion, Linton responded that he believed it “would depend upon the precise language of the amendment.”
“I do not think that state constitutional amendments are typically used to define and punish criminal conduct, which is more a matter for the legislatures to decide,” he explained.
“On the other hand, a strong statement of pro-life principle in a state constitution may act as a restraint on a legislature enacting a ‘liberalized’ abortion law.”
Linton referenced “neutrality amendments” as an example, which state that the constitution does not protect the right to an abortion, noting that they “would enable states to enforce pre-Roe laws prohibiting abortions” or possibly “to enact new laws prohibiting abortion.”
But anti-abortion groups Texas Alliance for Life and the more hardline Texas Right to Life aren’t throwing their full support behind HB 1500. Joe Pojman, director of Texas Alliance for Life, said while he’s excited about the number of lawmakers signing on, his group is not recommending that the Legislature pass it. “We’re just recommending bills that have a reasonable chance of sustaining a federal court challenge,” Pojman said.
Texas Alliance for Life Executive Director Dr. Joe Pojman said abortion at any time during pregnancy is disturbing for many folks, but especially up until birth is extraordinarily appalling to just about everybody.
“There are people in the Capitol, in both the House and the Senate who want to see legal abortion through the entire nine months of pregnancy for any reason at all and we have to be very vigilant and make sure that they do not get control,” said Pojman.
He said he doesn’t think there will be any serious attempt in Texas to pass such a bill because there would be serious backfire.
“We have gotten tremendous response from people in Texas concerned about the law in New York. It is a tremendous motivating issue for people,” said Pojman.
Joe Pojman, the executive director of the anti-abortion group Texas Alliance for Life, said his organization investigates safety and other violations at abortion clinics through regular public information requests and conversations with protesters who stand outside clinics. He acknowledged that “it’s very difficult for us to know the scope of the problem” but suggested the attorney general’s office might have access to information that’s kept from the public.
“We do agree … that the Legislature should make a slight change to current law to allow concurrent prosecution between local authorities and DAs and the attorney general of Texas,” Pojman said. “We think there may be a problem because it might be the case that abortion laws are not properly being enforced uniformly across the state.”