National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children
September 10, 2022
San Antonio, Texas
Dr. Joe Pojman, Executive Director, Texas Alliance for Life
My name is Dr. Joe Pojman. I am the executive director of Texas Alliance for Life. I have been lobbying for pro-life laws in the Texas Capitol for over 30 years.
Thank you to everyone who is here. Thank you for your devotion to life. Thank you for your faithfulness to the memory of those who have died.
We are here because we are grieving. Legal abortions have claimed the lives of more than 63 million unborn children in our nation and have hurt countless women. In 2020, the last year before the Texas Heartbeat Act, our state witnessed the deaths of 55,000 unborn children lost to abortion.
We are here to remember those children. They were our brothers. Our sisters, Our aunts, our uncles. They were our sons, our daughters. Our grandchildren. Our great-grandchildren.
Those aborted children would have been citizens of Texas and our nation. Doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, engineers, professors, tradesmen, carpenters, plumbers, drivers, musicians, and housekeepers. Priests and pastors. The human toll is beyond what we can fathom.
Some would have been our judges, lawmakers, members of congress, and maybe governors. Perhaps cancer would already be a distant memory if the inventor of the cure had not died from abortion.
Roe Is No More!
Texas reached an extraordinary milestone in the history of human rights in our state. Elective abortion, the deliberate destruction of unborn babies in the womb, is no longer legal, thanks to the United States Supreme Court, our state legislature, and our governor. At the same time, vast resources for women with unplanned pregnancies are available throughout the state.
On Friday, June 24, the United States Supreme Court handed down its much-anticipated opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Justice Samuel Alito wrote the extraordinary opinion, joined by justices Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett.
The opinion completely overturned the 1973 Roe v. Wade and 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey precedents that have prevented states from protecting unborn babies from abortion before viability.
Justice Alito wrote, “. . . procuring an abortion is not a fundamental constitutional right because such a right has no basis in the Constitution’s text or in our Nation’s history.” The Court’s new precedent allows state legislatures to regulate and even ban abortion as they did before Roe.
The Supreme Court finally remedied a terrible decision made nearly half a century ago that profoundly damaged society in America.
After nearly half a century, states can finally protect mothers and unborn babies from the tragedy of abortion. Pro-life Governor Greg Abbott and the state legislature have taken giant steps to do that. Texas is well prepared for this moment.
Texas Is Well Prepared
Last year, the Texas Legislature passed, and Gov. Abbott signed into law several substantial measures to protect unborn babies from abortion and support women with unplanned pregnancies.
The Human Life Protection Act
First, the Legislature passed HB 1280, the Human Life Protection Act, to completely protect unborn babies from abortion beginning at conception.
That bill was among the top priorities of Texas Alliance for Life and our principal partners: the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops and Texans for Life. Among the most effective pro-life advocate organization in the Capitol is the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops.
The law went into effect on August 25, 30 days after the Court issued its final judgment. You may have heard it called the “trigger law.”
During the last year, my office has received calls from hundreds of news media — the New York Times, Washington Post, Dallas Morning News, and San Antonio Express News. Interestingly, we have numerous calls from overseas media — from Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Poland, Japan, France, Mexico, and elsewhere in Latin America.
They want to know what is going on in Texas. I tend to call this law by its actual name, the Human Life Protect Act. If I were to call it the Texas trigger law, some of them wouldn’t understand. They become confused with firearms.
Stopping Abortion Providers
The Human Life Protection Act is the last stake in the heart of the abortion industry in Texas.
HB 1280 has three enforcement mechanisms.
- First, it makes performing an abortion a first-degree felony offense, punishable by up to 99 years, equivalent to premeditated homicide.
- Second, the Texas attorney general can bring a fine of at least $100,000 for any violators. We do not doubt that Attorney General Paxton would not hesitate to pursue this. Does anyone here doubt for a moment that pro-life Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton would hesitate for a moment to defend unborn babies?
- Third, the HLPA requires the mandatory loss of the medical license of a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist who participates in an illegal abortion.
Even if a district attorney decides to categorically fail to prosecute violators, which we believe would be a dereliction of duty, the second and third penalties will still deter abortions.
What various cities and prosecutors claim to have done to deprioritize the prosecution of abortion is entirely futile.
The abortion advocacy organization Guttmacher Institution, based in New York, is complaining that all 23 licensed abortion facilities in Texas — including the three abortion facilities here in San Antonio — have altogether ceased performing abortions. That includes the two Planned Parenthood facilities and Alamo Women’s Reproductive.
After fifty years of legal abortion in Texas, legal abortions have ceased. . . indefinitely.
Like all abortion laws in Texas, women on whom abortions are performed have no liability and cannot be prosecuted or fined. Texas Alliance for Life’s special counsel and constitutional law scholar Paul Linton explained that women were never prosecuted for abortion in Texas or any other state before Roe.
Also, HB 1280 does not allow prosecution for the treatment of a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. The treatment of each of these medical conditions are not even considered abortion in Texas law.
Texas’ Pre-Roe Statutes
Even before the Human Life Protection went into effect, the Texas pre-Roe abortion statutes — first passed in 1854 — went back into effect. By the way, that 1854 law was prominently noted by Justice Alito, in his opinion overturning Roe.
Vast Support for Women and Their Babies
Also, in 2021, the Legislature appropriated vast funds to assist low-income women, especially women with unplanned pregnancies.
The Legislature appropriated $100 million for the current two-year budget toward the highly successful Alternatives to Abortion program. That program provides services for women facing unplanned pregnancies to assist them in carrying the baby to term, giving birth, and keeping or placing the baby for adoption. Support is available for at least three years after birth from nearly 200 pregnancy centers, maternity homes, and adoption agencies across the state, serving 150,000 clients each year, far more than the 55,000 abortions in Texas in 2020.
For uninsured pregnant women with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level, the state’s Medicaid program pays prenatal, childbirth, and follow-up care for the mothers for six months and babies for 12 months. The Texas Medicaid program pays for more than half the births in Texas, costing nearly $1.2 billion annually.
The Legislature continued funding various free services for low-income women, appropriating $352 million over two years toward breast and cervical cancer screening, family planning, pregnancy testing, pelvic exams, sexually transmitted infection services, and screening for and treatment of cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure. The HealthyTexasWomen.org website lists thousands of providers.
Shortly after Dobbs was released, Governor Abbott announced a new website (https://www.familyresources.texas.gov/) with a comprehensive list of state resources.
So, the Texas Legislature, which supposedly doesn’t care about low-income women and babies after they are born, that Legislature actually doesn’t exist!
In addition, hundreds of privately supported non-profit organizations and church organizations provide programs for pregnant women and their unborn babies before and long after birth.
And you pro-lifers who only care about babies until birth, who are only pro-birth and do not care about mothers and babies after birth — you don’t exist either!
Getting to this point has been quite a journey. But we are just getting started. Here are some goals for the pro-life movement. The first is education.
We must hold these incredible gains we have achieved. And that requires education. Ronald Reagan — the first explicitly pro-life president — famously said:
“Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction.”
We must educate our society about three main points, or we risk losing our gains:
- First, the unborn child is a baby deserving of protection. We know that the life of each of us came into being at conception. Science has told us that for more than 100 years. Each person who has seen an unborn child on an ultrasound machine knows that.
- Second, abortion hurts, not helps, women and families. The pro-life community has a large population of women and men who have been involved in abortion. Why are they in the pro-life movement? Because they know firsthand how abortion has hurt them and taken the lives of our children, we do not want anyone else to go through that.
- Third, Texas provides vast resources for women with unplanned pregnancies. Abortion is completely unnecessary in Texas.
Also, we must vote pro-life. Our Legislature will begin meeting again in January 2023. There will be attacks on the Human Life Protection Act to weaken or eliminate it. There will be attacks on the funding for the Alternatives to Abortion program.
Before that is the November 8 General Election, early voting begins one week before Halloween.
Are you committed to getting out and voting pro-life? Think about this? Robert Francis O’Rourke and his allies support making abortion legal throughout pregnancy, even very late, when babies can survive birth. If a baby survives an abortion, he doesn’t think the State of Texas should protect that baby.
Governor Greg Abbott supports completely protecting babies from abortion.
Friends, our choice is clear, and our responsibility to prevent more children from losing their lives to abortion is even more evident.
Visit prolifevoterguide.org. That’s prolifevoterguide.org.
I appreciate you all so much. Phil, thank you for inviting me. Thank you all for being here.