“This bill will restore protection to unborn children, beginning at fertilization, by banning abortion when and to the extent that the Supreme Court reverses Roe v. Wade,” according to a statement from Texas Alliance for Life. The Tennessee Legislature approved a similar measure on Tuesday.
Joe Pojman, the executive director of Texas Alliance for Life, told me his organization fully expects the Texas legislature to approve either the Senate or House version of the bill and Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, to sign one of them. Both bills, Pojman said, “really demonstrate the concern of the Texas legislature, and, after it’s signed, of the governor, that we want to do everything possible to protect unborn babies and babies who survive abortion.”
Many news outlets are reporting the state has received no reports of babies born alive after abortions, but Pojman pointed out that abortionists likely wouldn’t report those because state law protects unborn babies after 20 weeks of gestation unless the mother’s life is in danger or the baby has a severe abnormality.
“We suspect that [live births] may be going on in certain facilities,” Pojman said. “However, it would be naive to assume that a physician who performs a late abortion, which results in a live birth, would report that live birth to the state. It would be like asking a physician who cheats on his income taxes to report that cheating to the IRS.”
Texas Alliance for Life Executive Director Dr. Joe Pojman said the goal of the current law is to encourage communication between the doctor and patient or patient’s family when the patient is terminally ill.
“We do not believe that the law should require that a doctor be forced to provide an intervention that will actually harm the patient,” said Pojman.
He said families could demand a medical intervention could actually harm the patient.
“In these very rare cases, the goal of this law is to get doctors and patients and their families talking together. And, most of the time, that works very well,” said Pojman.
One group, the Texas Alliance for Life, opposes Tinderholt’s measure, saying the change would run afoul of the U.S. Supreme Court’s backing of abortions of nonviable fetuses. Also, the group notes, Texas didn’t prosecute a single woman for receiving an abortion in the century-plus before the high court legalized abortion nationally in 1973.
Another anti-abortion group, Texans for Life, “opposes criminalizing or penalizing women as it only protects the abortionist,” its president, Kyleen Wright, advised in an email. Elizabeth Graham of Texas Right to Life stopped short of endorsing the proposed ban, but otherwise said in an email that the group is working closely with Tinderholt.
Leach, who chairs the House committee that held a public hearing on the measure, known as House Bill 896, said in a statement posted on Twitter that the bill would not advance. Prominent anti-abortion groups in Texas have also come out against the measure, including the Texas Alliance for Life, which noted that no states prosecuted women before the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
The legislation received pushback not only from supporters of reproductive rights, but also from anti-abortion groups, the Dallas Morning News reported. The Texas Alliance for Life opposed the bill on the grounds that it violates Roe v. Wade, according to the Dallas Morning News, while Texans for Life told the newspaper that it “opposes criminalizing or penalizing women as it only protects the abortionist.”