Deirdre Cooper, a public policy analyst for Texas Alliance for Life, holds one of her daughters as she shares her experiences with pregnancy complications and her support for the state’s abortion laws on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023, in Austin, Texas, after attending the Texas Supreme Court’s hearing on the Zurawski v Texas case. Cooper shared that her son Bosco, one of her 10 children, was diagnosed with Edwards syndrome, a severe chromosomal abnormality, and died in childbirth in April 2021.
Joe Pojman, Executive Director of Texas Alliance for Life, expressed opposition to the Reproductive Justice Fund during a public comment session in the City Council Chambers on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023 in San Antonio.
Let’s put aside, for a moment, the fact that most of Prop A is likely to be disregarded by our municipal government if it passes, because City Attorney Andy Segovia says the justice-director provision is the only piece of it that doesn’t violate state law.
Let’s also put aside, for a moment, the fact that if Prop A passes, its abortion-decriminalization provision will be challenged in court by Texas Alliance for Life, an Austin-based anti-abortion group.
Let’s pretend that voters approve Prop A and the city actually implements it. What would that mean for San Antonians? In truth, much would remain the same.
No one is currently getting arrested in this city for providing or receiving an abortion. That wouldn’t change.
“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.
Texas Alliance for Life immediately took the matter to the Texas Supreme Court. The group has a powerful ally in Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is urging the court to side with them.
It’s a large departure from the scrutiny given to marijuana decriminalization measures passed in other Texas cities, none of which are anywhere close to landing in front of a state court. These measures have proved popular, passing by as much as 85 percent.
“On the abortion question, this is a direct frontal assault to a primary political objective that Republicans have laid out,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston. “It is as bold a political strategy to confront a Republican, conservative policy on abortion as we’ve seen.”
On ExpressNews.com: Anti-abortion group wants to weed out this measure in San Antonio’s Justice Charter amendment
The Justice Charter, also known as Proposition A, is the first citizen-led ballot measure in Texas to attempt to safeguard abortion providers since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down federal abortion protections last summer. It will be a test of the lengths the state’s powerful anti-abortion movement — and possibly Republican lawmakers — will go to prevent cities from making their own rules about abortion.
Starting in the city’s Main Plaza, a dozen children holding a white banner reading “March for Life” formed the vanguard, leading the march to the Alamo Plaza and then back for a rally at Main Plaza.
Dr. Joe Pojman, founder and executive director of the Texas Alliance for Life, described the overturning of Roe v. Wade as an “unmitigated victory.”
“We need to still educate people about three main things: The unborn child’s a baby; abortion hurts, not helps women; and Texas provides vast resources for women with unplanned pregnancies.”
The 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, and the decision overturning it, is being marked by both sides in the abortion debate, locally and on the national level.