By: Ali Linan

While the rally was met with a handful of counterprotesters, the day remained calm.

Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life, did not attend the rally Saturday but previously told CNHI News that he encourages people to peacefully protest as his organization did last January, particularly as the opinion is only a draft and not an official decision.

He said he believed there would be less anger if abortion rights advocates saw the ways the state is helping mothers through its Alternatives to Abortions program. The state Legislature last session allotted $100 million to the program, which would provide counseling, material assistance and social services for up to three years after birth.

Pojman said he believes most politicians agree that it is a program that should receive continued funding.

“We just have never met a woman who sought an abortion as her first choice; it’s always a second choice. It’s always something that’s not desired, but is sought out because there is a perception that there’s not adequate alternatives,” Pojman said. “We want to change that understanding.”

By: Ali Linan CNHI Texas Statehouse Reporter

During the 2021 legislative session, the state increased the program’s budget 25%, allotting $100 million over two years. According to state estimates, this would provide assistance for more than 150,000 pregnant people each year, far more than the 55,000 that received an abortion in 2020.

In his 2021 interim charges, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick named expanded funding and resources for this program as one of his top priorities.

“I think that kind of puts things in perspective from the point of view of Texas legislature’s goals to protect unborn babies from abortion and provide tremendous resources for women with unplanned pregnancies,” Executive Director for Texas Alliance for Life Joe Pojam said.