Anti-abortion groups and conservative leaders, including Gov. Greg Abbott, have seized on the the imagery of a heartbeat when describing the law.

In a tweet, Texas Alliance for Life, an anti-abortion group based in Austin, posted a photo of its members with Abbott from the bill signing, holding up both hands to create a symbolic heart.

“Despite numerous legal challenges, The Texas Heartbeat Act, signed by pro-life @GovAbbott, went into effect today. We celebrate the lives of unborn children who will be protected from abortion as a result,” the tweet said.


In a sign of the desire by Wray’s side to distinguish him as the frontrunner, the pro-Wray Texas Alliance for Life has sent out a er comparing Wray to a scrum of faceless competitors. The er suggests his opponents jumped in the race “at the last minute” to create confusion and cause a runoff that would not fill the seat until after the special session, comparing the alleged obstruction to that of the quorum-breaking House Democrats. The er has especially miffed supporters of Harrison, who did not enter the race at the 11th hour but a few days before the filing dead.


Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life, an anti-abortion group said he’s hopeful the Supreme Court will finish the job of fully banning abortions.

“While the goal of the pro-life movement remains the complete protection of all unborn babies from abortion, the terrible Supreme Court precedent under Roe v. Wade prevents this,” he said. “Our hope is that the Court will modify or reverse Roe and allow states to ban abortion.”


And on Jan. 22 — 48 years after the landmark Roe v. Wade decision — two “trigger” bills were filed that would ban abortion in Texas if the Supreme Court overturned the case or otherwise altered abortion laws. Another bill could ban abortion after 12 weeks.

“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are at the very center of what it means to be an American,” state Sen. Angela Paxton, R-McKinney, one of the bill authors, said in a statement. “I believe there always has been and always will be energy from Texans to promote and protect life.”

Advocates of abortion rights fear the tone already set augurs a fierce fight about the procedure during a time when the pandemic has limited the public’s ability to voice concerns within the Capitol.
Joe Pojman, who leads another anti-abortion group called Texas Alliance for Life, is reticent to pass laws that would be blocked by the courts and not enforced. Legal losses can also empower advocates of abortion access and can be costly. When the Supreme Court ruled against Texas’ attempt to impose additional regulations on abortion providers in 2016, the state was ordered to pay than $2 million.

Pojman thinks the odds that anti-abortion bills gain traction are “substantially higher” this year than in the 2019 legislative session, which focused on bread-and-butter issues like school finance and property taxes — and came just months after Democrats picked up a dozen House seats in the Nov. 2018 elections.

By: Sami Sparber

In an interview Friday with the executive director of Texas Alliance for Life, Paxton said he found it “a little shocking” that abortion providers were continuing with their suit against the state.

“This is the only group of doctors and providers that have fought it,” Paxton said. “They’re not getting treated any differently. I will admit this is very inconvenient, it’s not easy for anybody, but they’re saying no, we’re special, we don’t need to be treated like everybody else, we should be treated better.”


But Texas anti-abortion groups are not in lockstep regarding Tinslee’s case. Many groups outside of Right to Life are siding with the medical community on the law.

Joe Pojman, director of Texas Alliance for Life, a moderate anti-abortion group, to issue with the injection of politics into Tinslee’s case. Pojman’s group, along with other anti-abortion groups in the state, filed a brief in support of Co Children’s Medical Center.

“We don’t think that’s a pro-life position — to advocate for prolonging a patient’s death through means that cause pain and suffering,” Pojman said. “If this law needs to be tweaked, that ought to be done by the Legislature.”

According to state law, when a family’s wishes and medical judgement clash, the hospital’s ethics committee reviews the doctor’s decision. If the committee sides with the doctor, the doctor has protection from liability; if it sides with the family, the physician can act as he or she chooses but will not be protected if the family decides to sue.

“No other state has that,” Pojman said, calling the process “absolutely unique.”

Pojman said if the law is struck down, doctors stand to lose their legal protection — a loss he said he fears would make hospitals much unwilling to accept and treat terminally ill patients in the first place

“They are going to harm the patients they claim to want to protect,” Pojman said. “I think there are people who are trying to make political hay out of an issue that is not appropriate for politics.”