By: Todd J. Gillman

Even the most ardent anti-abortion activists were dubious as the bill worked through the Legislature.

“We had concerns that SB 8 would not survive a federal court challenge even back during the spring,” said Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life, who said he privately urged key Texas lawmakers to think twice.

Roe is a “terrible precedent” that “ties the hands of the Legislature from protecting unborn babies before the point of viability,” Pojman said, but it is, unequivocally, the law of the land unless the Supreme Court says otherwise.
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Will Roe fall?
Until the Trump era, there was no question the court would reject a 15-week ban like Mississippi’s.

But with a 6-3 conservative majority now a year old, the judicial landscape has never been more favorable for those attacking Roe.

It takes four of nine justices to grant a hearing. It’s unclear if there’s a fifth willing to overturn Roe.

“I’ve been involved in the pro-life movement for 34 years and my hopes have been dashed several times,” said Pojman. “But this time I truly am hopeful that Roe could be substantially modified or overturned.”

Abortion rights advocates are pinning their hopes on Chief Justice John Roberts.

Appointed by Republican George W. Bush, Roberts has disappointed conservatives by regularly choosing precedent over ideology when those come into conflict.

On Sept. 1, when the five other conservatives allowed SB 8 to take effect, Roberts dissented.

The law is so “unprecedented” that it would be wiser to freeze enforcement “so that the courts may consider whether a state can avoid responsibility for its laws in such a manner,” he wrote.

Two of the three joined the chief justice’s dissent.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, writing separately, chastised Texas lawmakers for showing such disregard for precedent and judicial review.

“To circumvent it, the Legislature took the extraordinary step of enlisting private citizens to do what the State could not,” she wrote. “… In effect, the Texas Legislature has deputized the State’s citizens as bounty hunters, offering them cash prizes for civilly prosecuting their neighbors’ medical procedures.”

Texas’ argument is that there’s no one for anyone to sue to block the law, and the federal government can’t claim standing just because it believes private parties would suffer.

The Justice Department’s response: “Having chosen an unprecedented scheme in a deliberate effort to thwart ordinary judicial review, Texas should not be heard to complain when the federal courts exercise remedial authorities that are usually unnecessary.”

A ruling in the Texas case could come quickly, maybe even within hours.

The high court could overturn SB 8 outright, or kick it back to lower courts with guidance on how to sort it out.

As for Dobbs, like most big cases the ruling will probably come in late June at the end of the court’s term.

When the dust settles, Texas and other red states could be free to ban virtually all abortions, because if a majority of justices are inclined to overturn Roe, they might very well go all the way, advocates and legal experts say.

“Any point before birth, other than fertilization, is arbitrary,” Pojman said.

Texas is one of a dozen states, mostly in the South, with laws on the books to ban abortion entirely if and when Roe falls: House Bill 1280, which makes no exception for rape or incest. Doctors would face life in prison or $100,000 fines for violating the ban.

Abbott signed it in June, though public support for such a complete ban is low.

Only 13% of Texans polled early this year by the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas said they want abortion outlawed. Only 21% of Republicans said abortion should never be permitted.

But, said James Henson, director of the UT project, “A draconian abortion law has a lot of value in a Republican primary, however much ambivalence there may be in a general election.”

By: Erica Proffer

“I was at the event where the governor made that statement and I knew he had to be talking about the entire world, where there are many millions of unintended pregnancies and many millions of abortions that occur,” Pojman said.

The Guttmacher Institute estimates 73 million abortions take place each year.

Northern Africa and Western Asia have the highest abortion rate, the data shows.

“Much of the U.S. follows what Texas does in terms of our lawmaking … We believe that many nations follow what the U.S. does. So, really, it is very relevant to talk about worldwide statistics,” Pojman said.

By: Emma Bowman

Joe Pojman, executive director of the anti-abortion group Texas Alliance for Life, said the Supreme Court’s apparent readiness to take a new look at abortion rights gives opponents such as himself some hope that Texas and other states will see an outcome that gives them the latitude for such restrictions.

Although he expects the so-called Texas Heartbeat Act to face a series of court challenges, he wants to see such bills go even further, he said, “even up to the moment of conception — fertilization.”

“We think the state has a right and a responsibility to protect all citizens, including the most vulnerable citizens — unborn children — from harm, and we believe that the state has a responsibility to protect those children from abortion,” he said.

By: Stewart Doreen

“A Celebration of Life” brought out local leaders, including Mayor Patrick Payton and County Judge Terry Johnson. Payton talked about the unalienable rights that the unborn have and that “cold-blooded killing of humanity” is always wrong.

Bishop Michael J. Sis, Diocese of San Angelo, reminded those in attendance were there to celebrate the gift of life and to hate the sin while loving the sinner.

Joe Pojman of the Texas Alliance for Life said that action from those in the Texas Legislature have helped the number of abortions in Texas fall from around 77,000 in 2010 to 57,000 in 2017.

Online: www.facebook.com/ChooseLifeMidland/

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 more 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 more 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: Bob Allen

The Baptist General Convention of Texas joined the Texans for Life Coalition, Texas Alliance for Life and Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops in an April 18 press conference voicing support for 15 bills before the state House and Senate seeking to restrict abortion.

“We are honored to be here with these pro-life legislators and these groups to support a culture of life in Texas and to help defend life,” Kathryn Freeman, director of public policy for the BGCT Christian Life Commission, said in the early morning press conference at the state Capitol.