By: Andrea Zelinski

This battle of burial is different from many past abortion fights because it focuses debate on the dignity of the fetus instead of the health regulations of abortion clinics. State officials say their goals are to keep fetal and embryonic remains out of sanitary landfills where other medical tissue is disposed of, and banning an outdated procedure of grinding and flushing the remains into a sanitary sewer.

“This is not going to make abortion unavailable. Abortion is readily available in Texas, that will continue,” said Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life. “This is merely about assuring that the remains of babies who die from miscarriage and abortion are handled in a dignified manner.”

The law is easy for abortion clinics and hospitals to comply with, he said. To help defray the costs, the state built a registry of participating funeral homes and cemeteries willing to provide free or low-cost burials. Private nonprofit groups, too, can sign up on the registry to signal their willingness to help pay other related costs.

By: Andrea Zelinski

Should the rule go into place, it would force facilities like Planned Parenthood to either abandon providing abortions to continue receiving Title X federal funds or lose the funding. It would likely also spur a legal challenge.

“We would hope that they would chose to provide health services for women and get out of the abortion industry. We don’t think they’re going to do that,” said Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life, an anti-abortion group active in Texas politics.

By: Mike Ward

Earlier Friday, a war of words had erupted over White’s position on abortion, after a prominent Texas pro-life group usually aligned with Republicans blasted the Texas Democratic Party for pressuring White to “renounce his pro-life values” to run as a Democrat.

“(White’s) previously stated stance of being ‘deeply, personally’ pro-life and his position as an elder of a Houston church that is part of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) gave us hope that the Democratic Party would be open to a pro-life candidate,” said Joe Pojman, executive director of the Texas Alliance for Life.

“As an elder in a PCA church, Mr. White was tasked with upholding the Church’s teachings, which include opposing abortion in all forms. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be.”

The Houston Chronicle reported that White had resigned his position as an elder as a result of the controversy over his public pro-choice position as a candidate.

“For too long, the Democratic Party of Texas has abandoned Texans who believe in defending the sanctity of life,” Pojman said. “They have turned the abortion debate into a litmus test and excluded candidates who seek to bring a pro-life voice into the party, and thus have forced Mr. White to abandon his pro-life position.”

White rejected Pojman’s call to be pro-life.

By: Mike Ward

In an unexpected twist, a prominent Texas pro-life group usually aligned with Republicans is blasting the state Democratic Party and taking up for one of the two Democrats in a May 22 runoff for governor.

Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life, in a Friday statement blasted the party for pressuring one of the two runoff candidates, Andrew White, “to renounce his pro-life values” and embrace abortion rights.

“As we approach the May 22 runoff election, Texas Alliance for Life is discouraged that the Texas Democratic Party has pressured Andrew White to renounce his pro-life values and embrace Roe v. Wade,” read the statement.

The remarks were made public just hours before White, a Houston entrepreneur, and former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez were set for their only primary runoff debate in Austin.
“(White’s) previously-stated stance of being ‘deeply, personally’ pro-life and his position as an elder of a Houston church that is part of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) gave us hope that the Democratic Party would be open to a pro-life candidate,” Pojman’s statement reads.

“As an elder in a PCA church, Mr. White was tasked with upholding the Church’s teachings, which include opposing abortion in all forms. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be.”

The Houston Chronicle reported that White had resigned his position as an elder as a result of the controversy over his public pro-choice position as a candidate.

“For too long, the Democratic Party of Texas has abandoned Texans who believe in defending the sanctity of life,” Pojman said. “They have turned the abortion debate into a litmus test and excluded candidates who seek to bring a pro-life voice into the party, and thus have forced Mr. White to abandon his pro-life position.

“We sincerely hope that Mr. White will untangle himself and return to his original position of support for the unborn, and offer Democrat voters a true pro-life option in this runoff.”

By: Mike Ward

Governor props Texas as lead in ‘defending’ against abortion

Facing thousands of anti-abortion supporters in front of the State Capitol, Gov. Greg Abbott on Saturday spe about how, 21 years ago, he held a tiny baby in his arms and marveled at the new life.

“The mother decided against a abortion, giving the baby a chance at life,” Abbott told the hushed crowd at the Texas Rally for Life.

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The child is now on the dean’s list in college – and is his daughter, Audrey, Abbott explained.

“It’s been 45 years since Roe v. Wade, and since then, Texas has become the national leader in defending life,” Abbott said, referring to the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. “As governor, I will fight for every child to have a chance at life.”

In a GOP-controlled state that has some of the strongest anti-abortion laws – 10 of which were enacted last year, including a ban on dismemberment abortions and the sale of fetal tissue to a requirement that fetal remains be given a proper burial and a continued cutoff of Planned Parenthood funding from the state – Abbott and other speakers drew loud applause from the crowd when they talked about a goal of eventually outlawing all abortions in Texas.

By: Todd Ackerman

In a victory for Texas’ medical community, a Harris County state district judge Friday rejected a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a state law that allows doctors to withdraw life-sustaining treatment against the wishes of the patient or guardian.

Judge Bill Burke said it would be “a case of throwing the baby out with the bath water” to repeal the controversial 1999 law, enacted in response to doctors’ push to eliminate care they believe prolongs suffering in terminal patients. The law, which is unique to Texas, has drawn criticism from some families who say it gives doctors too much power.
“It would be a big mistake to throw out a statute in place for nearly 20 years that seems to be working pretty well,” Burke said in rejecting the request for summary judgment declaring the law unconstitutional. “If you think the law doesn’t provide sufficient protection for patients, go to the Legislature to remedy it.”

The ruling was applauded by the Texas Medical Association, which was part of a broad coalition of groups who together filed a motion in support of the law. The groups included Texas Alliance For Life, the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops, the Coalition of Texans With Disabilities and the Texas Alliance for Patient Access.