One of the new plaintiffs in the suit, a mother of four named Samantha Casiano, was forced to carry to term a fetus that she knew would not survive after birth, spending months fund-raising for the inevitable funeral. Reporting on Casiano’s case in April, NPR spoke to Amy O’Donnell of Texas Alliance for Life. O’Donnell was at least honest. She doesn’t believe in exemptions for cases like Casiano’s. “I do believe the Texas laws are working as designed,” she said.
Amy O’Donnell, a spokeswoman for the Texas Alliance for Life, said the state’s anti-abortion organizations had been preparing for years for the end of Roe. Her organization supported the state’s so-called “trigger law,” which would outlaw abortion almost immediately in the state if Roe v. Wade were overturned by the Supreme Court. The state legislature passed the bill in May 2021.
Legal experts say such laws may be challenged after the F.D.A. decision, but for now, these state measures could discourage American doctors from sending pills to parts of the country with restrictive regulations.
“For the first time, Texas does have a way to protect women, through our criminal law, from people bringing dangerous abortion pills,” said Joe Pojman, executive director of the Texas Alliance for Life, an organization that helped craft the measure. “We’ll have to wait to see how well it is enforced in the coming months.”
Anti-abortion groups acknowledge that criminally punishing activists who distribute the pills, especially if they are from Mexico, may prove difficult. They would have to be caught and arrested in Texas, or extradited, experts say.
Supporters of the law say their goal is to save the life of every embryo, regardless of the circumstances of conception.
“We never advocate taking a life of an unborn child unless it is necessary to protect the life of a woman,” said Joe Pojman, executive director of the Texas Alliance for Life.
Even in cases of rape or incest, “we don’t advocate for taking the life of an unborn child for the crime of the father,” he said.
The law’s supporters say that it provides sufficient leeway for physicians to act if a mother’s life or bodily functions are compromised, and they insist those cases are rare.
Ms. Smith’s speech also drew strong reactions from opponents of abortion who support the law.
“How sad Paxton has bought the lie that women have to eradicate unplanned pregnancies to achieve dreams & goals,” Amy O’Donnell, a spokeswoman for the Texas Alliance for Life, said on Twitter. “Women can give life to their babies AND do great things.”
The law, which goes into effect on Sept. 1, bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, regardless of whether the pregnancy was a result of rape or incest. The legislation, also known as the “heartbeat law,” is among the most restrictive abortion measures in the country.
Joe Pojman, the executive director with the Texas Alliance for Life, an anti-abortion advocacy group, said the new law would face difficult legal challenges, but it nonetheless left him optimistic about the direction of the anti-abortion movement. He pointed to the growing number of states and localities that have passed restrictive measures.