My name is Dr. Joe Pojman. I am the Executive Director of Texas Alliance for Life. We strongly support SB 20 and thank Chair Huffman for authoring it.
This bill successfully addresses a problem that we believe should be called a dereliction of duty by a small number of district attorneys in our state.
We completely understand and appreciate the principle of prosecutorial discretion. Necessitated by limited resources or the goal of achieving justice in individual cases, prosecutors will naturally prioritize prosecuting offenses on a case-by-case basis.
However, a prosecutor should never categorially limit or prohibit the enforcement of a particular criminal offense unless ordered by a court. Offenses are created by the Legislature with the understanding that criminal laws are to be enforced, not ignored, by police and prosecutors.
We are seeing a substantial problem from a small number of district attorneys, who happen to be from some of the largest counties in Texas. Five district attorneys have published a very disturbing statement that they intend to completely and categorically ignore all felony laws passed by this Legislature, to protect unborn children and their mothers from abortion, even abortions on babies very late in pregnancy up to birth.
This is very disturbing to us, and we think it should be disturbing to everyone, regardless of how he or she feels about those particular pro-life laws. The shoe can easily be on the other foot.
We have heard and appreciate the argument that prosecutors are accountable to the voters in their districts and are up for re-election every four years. While this is certainly true, that statement gives us little comfort when the general statute of limitations for felony offenses is only three years.