Lawyers for anti-abortion groups argued that the 2004 case, McCorvey v. Hill, was wrongly decided.

“The final interpreter and the ultimate authoritative interpreter of state law is a state court, not some federal court, not even the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Paul Linton, special counsel for Texas Alliance for Life. “State prosecutors are not bound by that [2004] decision.”

The Texas District & County Attorneys Association on Friday wrote in an interim legislative update that the legal ambiguity could make prosecuting abortion cases difficult.

“How these existing laws interact … is anyone’s guess,” the association’s update read, “because the new ‘trigger law’ did not amend or repeal these existing crimes.”

The pre-Roe laws include more detailed provisions than Texas’ trigger ban, including the potential to charge anyone who “furnishes the means” for someone to obtain an abortion. The threat of criminal charges has been enough to chill both abortion procedures as well as funding for Texans to travel and obtain abortions outside the state.

By: Jennifer Sanders

In the 2021 fiscal year, the following contracted providers were awarded money to administer the program:

Texas Pregnancy Care Network – $36,587,141.78
Human Coalition – $8,765,185.34
Austin LifeCare – $750,000
Longview Wellness Center – $54,000

“That was a 25% increase from the 86th Legislative session to the 87th Legislative session,” said Amy O’Donnell, director of communications for Texas Alliance for Life.

KXAN asked the Texas Alliance for Life, a statewide nonprofit organization, if funding for the organization would meet a possible increase in demand some providers said they are seeing. Even as the need grows, O’Donnell thinks the funding allocated over the next two years will help over 200 pregnancy care centers in the state.

“Those centers see 150,000 women a year. So that compares well, to the roughly 55,000 abortions that we’ve seen take place in Texas per year. They are well able to meet the needs through the centers,” O’Donnell said.


MARTINEZ-BELTRAN: That victory, however, was short-lived. Just a few weeks later, in another special session, Texas lawmakers passed a sweeping anti-abortion package that included a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of gestation. The U.S. Supreme Court eventually struck down key provisions of the bill, but by then, more than half of the state’s abortion providers closed. The story of how Texas got to this place of banning nearly all abortions is one that has taken decades.

AMY O’DONNELL: We’ve seen a lot of incremental gains over time.

MARTINEZ-BELTRAN: This is Amy O’Donnell, the communications director of the Texas Alliance for Life, a group that advocates against abortion.

O’DONNELL: The majority of Texans are pro-life, and we see this because they elect pro-life legislators who advocate for life.

MARTINEZ-BELTRAN: But polls tell a different story. Seventy-eight percent of Texas voters support some sort of access to abortion. Only 15% said it should never be allowed. That’s according to a survey released in April by the Texas Politics Project. Despite that, the state has continued curbing abortion, including passing a so-called trigger law, which now takes effect in 30 days. Most recently, last year, Governor Greg Abbott signed SB 8. That law, the first of its kind in the country, banned abortions as early as six weeks, empowering private citizens to enforce the law. Now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, O’Donnell says the state will work to support women who are pregnant.

O’DONNELL: Texas is ready to take care of women in our state. And as we’ve seen, Texas prioritized the health of women and the life of babies.

MARTINEZ-BELTRAN: She points to the state’s program called Alternatives to Abortion as an example of that. The program provides assistance, counselling and maternity classes. But it’s also been criticized by Texas Democrats for its $100-million price tag and lack of transparency. But advocates for abortion rights say they’re not completely hopeless.

By: Jennifer Sanders

Katherine Long says the protest was personal for her. She had an abortion at age 22 and wants other women to be able to make that same decision if they want.

“Who wants an unwanted pregnancy?” Long said. “No child wants to be born unwanted.”

Texas Alliance for Life has a differing opinion. In a statement, the organization said “We are ecstatic. The Supreme Court finally remedied a terrible decision made nearly half a century ago that profoundly damaged society in America.

Legal abortions have claimed the lives of more than 62 million unborn children and have hurt countless women. That will no longer be the case in Texas. Roe’s unsound and ultimately indefensible reasoning cost the trust of millions of Americans in the Supreme Court. This decision begins to restore confidence in the Supreme Court and its application of constitutional principles.”

By: KHOU 11 Staff

Many hope things don’t stop here and the state makes sure laws are fully enforced. Many also hope that abortion alternative programs are expanded at hundreds of help centers across the state.

“We know that these pregnancy centers have compassionately trained staff and volunteers who are ready to stand with you, walk out pregnancy with you, support you as you have your baby and either choose to keep it – and in this case they’ll assist with your needs up to three years after birth – as well for the consideration of placement for adoption,” said Amy O’Donnell with Texas Alliance For Life.

The Texas Health and Human Services Department has an entire website dedicated to the Alternatives to Abortion Program, which features contact information for contracted service providers.