IN RE MARIA TERESA RAMIREZ MORRIS, AND TEXAS ALLIANCE FOR LIFE, INC. (Dissenting), where dissenting justices argued against the above opinion. They claimed the court should grant partial relief to the voter by directing San Antonio to hold the proposed charter amendment election in November rather than May.
Although the petition filed by Texas Alliance for Life garnered support from state GOP members, including Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the state’s highest court ultimately ruled that it doesn’t have the power to “stymie” an election. Further litigation would only be appropriate if the measure passes, the justices added.
“The power of initiative is reserved to the people, not granted to them,” Justice Jane N. Bland wrote in her opinion. “Courts must not lightly usurp that power. Our role is to facilitate elections, not to stymie them, and to review the consequences of those elections as the Legislature prescribes.”
“This precedent invites municipalities to disregard well-established election laws regarding charter amendments, protections for unborn babies, and numerous other issues, an unintended but foreseeable consequence,” Texas Alliance for Life spokesperson Amy O’Donnell said in a written statement.
If approved, the Justice Charter, which will appear on the ballot as Proposition A, would amend the city charter to bar police from investigating or making arrests for abortion-related crimes and misdemeanor marijuana possession. It would also expand the city’s cite-and-release program, ban police from using chokeholds and no-knock warrants, and create a city justice director to oversee these policy changes.
City Attorney Andy Segovia, however, maintains that San Antonio could only enforce the justice director provision, calling the others “inconsistent” with state law.
What they’re saying: The Texas Supreme Court’s decision adhered “to our longstanding commitment to avoid undue interference with elections,” Justice Jane Bland wrote.
“Our team spent countless hours on research, we know we are well within our legal right,” organizers behind Proposition A wrote on Twitter after the ruling.
The other side: “We are tremendously disappointed in the Texas Supreme Court’s decision … despite obvious violations of state law,” said Amy O’Donnell, the communications director for Texas Alliance for Life, which sought the legal challenge, in a statement.
“Now we’re seeing those drugs trafficked illegally into our state. Right now, in Houston, we see a lawsuit by a husband against three women because they helped his wife obtain an abortion,” said Amy O’Donnell with Texas Alliance For Life. “We’re excited to see where that case goes, what we hear. The reality of it is they do harm women.”
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O’Donnell says studies in Finland show up to 40 percent of women who take abortion drugs have complications, but the National Institutes of Health says abortion pills have a two percent complication rate. First-trimester surgical abortions have a 1.3 percent complication rate.
When we heard about Amanda Zurawski’s case specifically, my organization consulted with six well-informed doctors in this area of medicine. When Zurawski was in her 18th week, well before viability, she suffered from a rare but severe condition known as preterm premature rupture of membranes, or PPROM. In other words, her water broke. Because the unborn baby was so young, there was little chance for her baby to survive. Without intervention, Zurawski’s life was in danger from infection. All six doctors said the standard of care is to induce labor with the intent to save the mother’s life, knowing that, sadly, the unborn child would not survive, and to do so without waiting until the woman’s death is imminent or for the baby’s heart to stop beating. All confirmed this is permitted under Texas law.
Unfortunately, that is not what her physician did. Her doctor waited until Ms. Zurawski developed sepsis before providing the appropriate treatment. Tragically, she lost her baby, and she almost lost her life. But that had nothing to do with Texas law. It is a dangerous lie that lifesaving care is not permitted under Texas pro-life laws. The language of the life of the mother exception in Texas law is clear: no woman with a life-threatening pregnancy should be required to wait before receiving treatment from her physician.
Much misinformation and confusion have been widely perpetuated regarding the life of the mother exception within Texas pro-life laws. However, Texas’ laws are carefully crafted to allow doctors to promptly treat women with life-threatening conditions without the risk of criminal or civil liability. The exception language in our more recent laws is the same language put into law in 2013 to protect unborn babies from abortion beginning at 20 weeks. No physician has been prosecuted for performing abortions to save the mother’s life under that law.