By: EDGAR WALTERS

Joe Pojman, executive director of the anti-abortion advocacy group Texas Alliance for Life, said he would not advise a local government to pass an ordinance like Joaquin’s.“It’s not well-drafted, and it may not survive a court challenge,” he said. “We just don’t think a court is going to uphold a right to bring a civil lawsuit for an action that the Supreme Court has held to be a constitutional right.”

A productive outlet for anti-abortion activists, Pojman said, would be to “concentrate on reelecting pro-life incumbents at the state level and to concentrate on reelecting Donald Trump,” who may have the opportunity to appoint additional conservative justices to the high court.

That approach isn’t satisfactory to Mark Lee Dickson, the East Texas activist, pastor and sometimes fireworks salesman who has traveled the state to encourage than 40 local governments to pass similar ordinances to Joaquin’s. So far, the towns of Waskom, Omaha and Naples have done so; Gilmer opted to pass a version that does not criminalize emergency contraception.

Many city councils “really don’t want a business that murders innocent children on a regular basis,” Dickson, 34, said. “They’re against the mass murders we see in school shootings, and they’re against the mass murders we see of equal number in these abortion clinics.”

He’s set his sights on a long list of towns across East and North Texas and says many have agreed to consider their own ordinance.

In July, the city council of Mineral Wells rejected a version of the ordinance, reportedly because of lawsuit concerns.

Pojman echoed those concerns, pointing to a federal judge’s decision this summer to award $2.3 million in attorneys’ fees to the Center for Reproductive Rights in a long-running Texas case over a sweeping anti-abortion law that the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately struck down.

“That’s money for the other side, which is a setback and bad precedent,” Pojman said.

By: STEPHEN YOUNG

While Dickson’s push is supported by one of Texas’ two biggest anti-abortion groups, Texas Right to Life, the other, Texas Alliance for Life, believes their cause would be better served by pushing for legislative action and making sure America’s courts continue to be stacked with conservative judges.

“We are encouraging grassroots citizens to concentrate on reelecting pro-life members to the Texas Legislature who will pass a total ban on abortion, triggered by the event that Roe v. Wade is overturned,” said Joe Pojman, Texas Alliance for Life executive director. “We also want grassroots to concentrate on reelecting President Donald Trump. Trump has a proven track record of nominating federal judges who will take an honest lo at Roe v. Wade and reevaluating that awful decision.”

By: Andrea Zelinski

Not only did the court battle cost the state millions of dollars, but it also set back the anti-abortion movement by making it harder for states to pass certain regulations for abortion facilities without running afoul of the high court’s decision, said Joe Pojman, executive director of the Texas Alliance for Life which advocates for stiffer abortion regulations.

Anti-abortion advocates had miscalculated the leanings of the Supreme Court, he said. Since then, he said his group has resisted the urge to support far-reaching anti-abortion proposals in the Legislature in favor of others they believe would survive a federal court challenge.

Pojman said anti-abortion advocates need to think long-term if they want to overturn Roe v. Wade, which established legal precedent protecting a woman’s right to an abortion. The long-time activist said he is not confident the makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court is favorable to overturning Roe v. Wade — but it could be in a few years.

“We are telling our people that they need to stay focused on re-electing President Donald Trump because he has a track record of nominating justices who are possibly willing to take an honest lo at Roe v. Wade,” said Pojman.

By: Andy Hogue

However, as Dr. Joe Pojman of the Texas Alliance for Life pointed out, options are plenty in the Austin area for pregnant women.

“There are than 20 wonderful agencies in the greater Austin area that help a woman who has a crisis pregnancy with alternatives to abortion, including adoption,” Pojman said. “We would have preferred the council spend the money to help low-income women utilize these life-affirming agencies.”

A link to those resources is available here: PregnancyCentralTexas.com.

By: MICAIAH BILGER

Joe Pojman Ph.D., the Texas Alliance for Life executive director, said the law is one way they hope to restore dignity to the unborn child.

“We understand that the Supreme Court prevents Texas from making abortion substantially difficult to obtain before viability, and this law does not do that,” Pojman said. “This law merely requires that the dignity of the unborn child is recognized after abortion and that their remains are not treated as medical waste.”

By: Stephen Young

Texas Alliance for Life, one of the state’s biggest anti-abortion advocacy groups, came out against the bill. The measure “bans abortions on non-viable (fetuses) when the heartbeat is detected, which the Supreme Court does not permit,” the group said in explaining its decision. “This law has been passed in three states and struck down in all three, Arkansas, North Dakota and Iowa. Requests by Arkansas and North Dakota to review the cases have been denied by the Supreme Court.”

Passing the law, according to the group, could actually strengthen abortion providers in Texas because of the attorneys’ fees Texas could be forced to shell out to its opponents if the state is sued over the law and loses.

Texas Wins Some, Loses Some
In their rulings, the judges who have struck down previous “heartbeat bills” have cited the standard created by the Supreme Court in its decision in Casey. Casey holds that states have an interest in regulating abortion, but they cannot create an “undue burden” on women seeking the procedure. The “undue burden” standard guided the Supreme Court’s decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the 2016 case that saw the high court overturn a Texas law that required doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic at which they were performing the procedure. The law also would have required abortion clinics to be outfitted to the same standards as hospital surgical suites.

Although Texas’ law was struck down, it still forced dozens of clinics in the state to close during the time it was enforced as the suit against it wound its way through the courts. Fewer clinics means longer waits for appointments. Combine longer wait times with basic human anatomy, and Texas’ heartbeat bill, while not imposing criminal penalties on women seeking abortions, would have made getting an abortion in Texas essentially impossible.

“A six-week ban is an abortion ban, because most women don’t know they’re pregnant at six weeks,” says Kelly Hart, the senior director of public affairs at Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas. “You miss your period, that’s usually your first sign. Then how long do you wait before you get a test, because maybe you hope you’re late for some reason? Maybe you give it a few days or whatever. You take the test, it comes back positive. You go to your doctor, maybe, to have it confirmed. There’s a process.”

Even if a woman makes an appointment the day she realizes she might be pregnant and sees a doctor as soon as possible, she might not meet the law’s requirements.

“If this law was in place and you immediately pick up the phone to call one of us, it’s a matter of when we can fit you in. Then you have to come in for your (state-mandated) sonogram. It’s rarely a two-day wait. It’s usually because of scheduling and all that. This is just another way to do an abortion ban,” Hart says.

In addition to not wanting to pay for pro-abortion rights supporters’ next lawsuit with their attorney’s fees, Texas Alliance for Life fears the effect of negative precedent on future abortion laws in Texas and around the United States. In the eyes of the group’s special counsel Paul Benjamin Linton, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts isn’t a sure vote to overturn Roe, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide in 1973.

“The chief justice’s opinion upholding the Affordable Care Act gives one pause, as does his (in my view) exaggerated respect for precedent (which, to some extent, may be shared by Justice Brett Kavanaugh),” Linton wrote last year. “Although the chief justice might be willing to join an opinion overruling Roe at some point, it is doubtful he would cast the decisive (fifth) vote, particularly in the absence of further erosion of Roe. In other words, if his vote were needed, it is unlikely that it would be obtained.”

Until Roe v. Wade is overturned, the group would rather ask the Supreme Court questions it hasn’t already answered in an effort to chip away at the foundations of the law.

“Ignoring the Supreme Court is not a realistic possibility and would have no benefit. Regardless of whether the Legislature or the attorney general ignores the Supreme Court (which they will not do), all abortion laws must be enforced and prosecuted by local district attorneys and county prosecutors,” Texas Alliance for Life says in its 2019 legislative guide. “All DAs and prosecutors have taken an oath of office to uphold the Constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court. They will not enforce any law when prohibited by the Supreme Court.”