By: Brandon Mulder

Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for life — which is backing a proposal to ban abortion beginning at fertilization (Texas law bans abortions after 20 weeks) — argues that Planned Parenthood places women on a pathway that, for many, ultimately leads to abortion.

Although “it’s difficult to make a causal relationship,” Pojman argues that many women seeking pregnancy-related services at Planned Parenthood are ultimately getting referred to Planned Parenthood abortion facilities.

“There’s definitely referrals going on,” he said. “That’s certainly part of Planned Parenthood’s practices — is to refer women for abortions.”

And women who are seeking non-pregnancy related health services build a “client relationship” with Planned Parenthood. Then, if those women later become pregnant, Pojman said, “they know who to call.”

“A woman searching for breast or cervical cancer screening or high blood pressure screening, if they do a pregnancy test on her and she’s positive, then they’d do a referral to their abortion facility,” he said.

However, because medical referral information is protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, Pojman said he hasn’t seen any records showing this connection.

“It’s reasonable to believe that fewer women going to Planned Parenthood facilities for any reason will likely result in fewer abortions,” he said.

Planned Parenthood spesperson Sarah Wheat says that none of these claims have factual basis. A standard component of family planning services is providing nondirective pregnancy counseling, Wheat said. All patients are informed of all of their legal and medical options.

“Providing patients with referrals for all of their medical options is not unique to Planned Parenthood,” Wheat said.

Further, Pojman’s argument ignores the fact that many women rely on Planned Parenthood to obtain contraception and avoid unwanted pregnancies, said Aiken. According to Planned Parenthood’s own data, 82,400 Texas women received birth control through Planned Parenthood last year.

Abortion referrals “seems to be exactly what would be precipitated by kicking Planned Parenthood out of Medicaid,” Aiken said. “If there are no Medicaid funds to help low-income patients get contraception, I would imagine that abortion referrals would be necessary precisely because of the lack of funding.”

Healthy Texas Women
Pojman said Texas’ own family planning services program could easily absorb the 8,800 Planned Parenthood Medicaid patients.

Created by the Legislature, Healthy Texas Women launched in 2016 to provide family planning and health care services to low-income women. It served 173,000 women in 2018, the most recent year for which data is available.

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: Schaefer Edwards

Texas Alliance for Life Executive Director Joe Pojman expressed disappointment, but made sure to declare it wasn’t a major setback for the pro-life movement since it only upheld the Supreme Court’s previous ruling in the Whole Woman’s Health case. In a prepared statement, Pojman said that while the impact of Monday’s ruling “is not lost on us,” their end goal remains clear.

“The Supreme Court’s unjust Roe v. Wade precedent must be reconsidered from an unbiased perspective,” he said.

“In the instance that a woman has a complication with an abortion and has to be rushed to an emergency room at a nearby hospital, that doctor should be able to follow her and continue treating the patient,” said Texas Alliance for Life Director Joe Pojman.

Pojman said the 5 to 4 vote was disappointing, however, it’s not a setback.

“We have lost no ground. The rule requiring doctors who perform abortions to have hospital privileges in Louisiana, Texas, and other states, reasonable as it is, cannot be enforced today just as it could not be enforced prior to this ruling. Abortion facilities can continue to challenge safety regulations that clearly benefit the women they claim to represent. Additionally, there was no expectation the Court would overrule Roe v. Wade today because Louisiana did not ask for that,’ said Pojman.

Pojman said Texas tried to pass a similar law in 2013, but that was also shut down. “So abortion providers are flourishing in Texas and there are than a dozen that operate with very low safety standards,”he said. Pojman said Texas has over 50,00 abortions every year and notes women should be able to receive emergent medical care in the case of an emergency.

“The only way we can change this is to get Justices on the Supreme Court to take a fresh lo at Roe vs Wade and that will only happen if Donald Trump gets re-elected as president,” said Pojman.

Pojman said the Supreme Court’s unjust Roe v. Wade precedent must be reconsidered from an unbiased perspective.

By: Maria Mendez

Meanwhile, anti-abortion groups say state leaders, who are beginning to reopen the economy, had a legitimate interest in protecting public health.

“We’re really grateful to the governor for issuing these executive orders that have been intended to protect the public and the medical providers serving the public,” said Joe Pojman, executive director of the Texas Alliance For Life.