By: SHANNON NAJMABADI

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.
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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.”

By: RAGA JUSTIN

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.”

By: EDGAR WALTERS

Joe Pojman, executive director of the anti-abortion advocacy group Texas Alliance for Life, said he would not advise a local government to pass an ordinance like Joaquin’s.“It’s not well-drafted, and it may not survive a court challenge,” he said. “We just don’t think a court is going to uphold a right to bring a civil lawsuit for an action that the Supreme Court has held to be a constitutional right.”

A productive outlet for anti-abortion activists, Pojman said, would be to “concentrate on reelecting pro-life incumbents at the state level and to concentrate on reelecting Donald Trump,” who may have the opportunity to appoint additional conservative justices to the high court.

That approach isn’t satisfactory to Mark Lee Dickson, the East Texas activist, pastor and sometimes fireworks salesman who has traveled the state to encourage than 40 local governments to pass similar ordinances to Joaquin’s. So far, the towns of Waskom, Omaha and Naples have done so; Gilmer opted to pass a version that does not criminalize emergency contraception.

Many city councils “really don’t want a business that murders innocent children on a regular basis,” Dickson, 34, said. “They’re against the mass murders we see in school shootings, and they’re against the mass murders we see of equal number in these abortion clinics.”

He’s set his sights on a long list of towns across East and North Texas and says many have agreed to consider their own ordinance.

In July, the city council of Mineral Wells rejected a version of the ordinance, reportedly because of lawsuit concerns.

Pojman echoed those concerns, pointing to a federal judge’s decision this summer to award $2.3 million in attorneys’ fees to the Center for Reproductive Rights in a long-running Texas case over a sweeping anti-abortion law that the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately struck down.

“That’s money for the other side, which is a setback and bad precedent,” Pojman said.